Thursday, May 09, 2019


"Meanwhile, in a lengthy piece purporting to explain why Beijing decided to start playing 'hardball' so late into the talks (though, to be sure, other reports suggest that Beijing had taken a hard line almost from the start), WSJ claimed that President Xi and the senior leadership interpreted Trump's attacks on Fed Chairman Jay Powell as a sign that Trump would be ready to compromise.

The reason? It was interpreted as evidence that Trump secretly believed the US economy was more fragile than the official data reflected. Meanwhile, the Chinese economy has stabilized, in part thanks to a massive stimulus program." Source.

Just last night it was being reported that car sales in China fell 18% YOY. That is NOT an economy that is stabilizing.

China is miscalculating the support Trump has for these tariffs. Just a couple of days ago I asked one of the guys I know who was a tried and true Obamaite how he felt about them.

He was not bothered at all. In fact he said - even Canada was screwing us. How does that happen?

I was completely shocked by his response honestly.


  1. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, May 10, 2019 6:03:00 PM

    Let's talk about the Smug Canadian Problem first then ...

    I have friends in Canada, from Canada, and so forth who think that it's perfectly OK to do all of the following:

    1. Pretend it's OK to violate trade treaties as long as it boosts the Canadian economy;
    2. Think that every American hanging out in Canada is doing it because of the "fantastic health care";
    3. Believe that the only reason an American company is looking to outsource labor to Canada is because Canadians work cheaply (especially if they're "actors" in Vancouver);
    4. Act like Canadians are paragons of virtue and good government.

    I can find several examples of how each of these isn't true.

    Your Leftist friend who said that Canada's screwing the US on trade?

    He's not wrong -- look at the "soft wood" or "soft lumber" trade between Canada and the US over the past decade.

    This was nightly news in British Columbia for a while when I was there, and Canadians mostly thought (because they'd been told to by the CBC) that it was "so unfair" that the US was punishing Canada for product dumping.

    Despite this, I'm not in favor of screwing the Canadians over on trade just yet for one reason: they're a significant alternate source of coltan for making electronics products.

    Australia's a better source, and if some US-based mining companies could get into that action (especially what's left of Sons of Gwalia after all these years), the US wouldn't need China for that because they'd have Australia instead. Historically Australia out-produced everyone in coltan, but these days they produce practically nothing because the bottom fell out of the market.

    If ANZUS or Five Eyes deemed it a priority to have a strategic source of coltan for military and industrial electronics, that'd do quite a bit to prevent one more bit of leverage that the Chinese currently have.

    There are so many ways around some of these tariffs anyway.

    Huaqiangbei's people can fabricate most of what you need, but in order to import it into the US without absurdly high tariffs, you need to manufacture assembled goods somewhere else.

    So a lot of Chinese stuff gets routed through South Korea and Taiwan on the way to being manufactured in a country that gets zero attention when it comes to being an electronics exporter. Chinese components become sub-assemblies which are then listed as being manufactured in South Korea and Taiwan on the HTS forms.

    US companies do this going the other way too so they don't have to deal with export permits and import duties.

    Many people act like tariffs are these supposedly voluntary taxes that you're supposed to be happy to pay as a manufacturer or importer, but in fact they're meant to be barriers that route your trade through other less taxed routes.

    Then these people are surprised when markets actually function that way.

    Most people are merely spectators along for the ride, and they're just bitching and moaning about tariffs and trade because they see results indirectly at Walmart and Fry's.

    Actual stakeholders have actual opinions that carry weight in trade.

    Financial reporters are usually not actual stakeholders, BTW, but they believe that if they can say a few things in certain ways that they can win some results for the actual stakeholders who pay their salaries.

    That's why the previous reporter you'd mentioned that had an "opinion" about Trump's calculations was simply pulling notional mass out of his ass. :-)

  2. I agree. But that isn't to say this will not be without pain. But ultimately, China has been playing us. We are like Bambis to them. But they do control the supply chain right now. And if it stays that way too long - it stays that way forever. Sort of like how you can't really reproduce Silicon Valley very well. It just becomes a reinforcing being.

  3. Capital of Texas RefugeeSaturday, May 11, 2019 11:52:00 PM

    If someone wants to build an actual useful alternative to Huaqiangbei somewhere outside Bern, Switzerland, I'm game for that ...

    But you don't replicate Huaqiangbei, and you don't replicate Silicon Valley.

    The non-replicable eventually becomes obsolete and unwanted once it gets replaced.

    During a subsequent re-invention phase, there's a chance for redemption from obsolescence, which is how there's still a London after several iterations of change.

    It's just as likely that San Francisco could go back to an existence dominated by the selling of insurance and financial products, and as for the big Mainland Chinese cities, they could find themselves ruling over several post-industrial supply regions that also resemble the British Midlands, but with a severity of rot to them that the world has never seen before.

    Yeah, when will you realize ... Solihull waits for you!


    Americans do have one thing to be happy about: the "Ugly American" will eventually be replaced by the "Ugly Chinese" for reasons that most Americans and most Chinese have yet to observe, let alone understand.

    Right now the Mainland Chinese are playing at being the same kinds of shitty landlords that Europeans as "Western colonialists" were blamed for being in such picaresque settings as Central Africa and South America ...

    This won't end well for the PRC either.

    You can replicate 19th Century and 20th Century American mercantilism with Chinese characteristics, but eventually something will change to render it obsolete as well.

    However, I mostly want the LOLs that come with being a Texan who ain't afraid of no trade war of words. :-)

    I bet I could get a bunch of angry looks from people if I wore a T-shirt that says, "MAKE TSINGTAO GERMAN AGAIN" ... *evil snicker*



  4. OH, JUST this morning a guy I know said he couldn't wait for Trump to leave because he has made us a laughing stock with the rest of the world. Which is basically when I stop paying attention to your opinion. I am 100% sure this guy doesn't know shit about what is happening in the world right now. Everyone here seems so willing to give your shit away because they don't have shit. Then they wonder why everything is so fucked.

    I guess it's why you can rob people blind as long as you are nice about it.

    I used to think that people wanting to be free would solve everything eventually. But I don't feel that way anymore. I think people would rather be zoo pets. No one has to live by their decisions. So why not I guess.

  5. Capital of Texas RefugeeMonday, May 13, 2019 10:49:00 PM

    "Everyone here seems so willing to give your shit away because they don't have shit. Then they wonder why everything is so fucked."

    People who are losers at life's big games think they can win the equivalent of the Powerball lotto by playing cute little political games.

    When I hear people raging impotently about things they neither influence nor control, I have to wonder how these people became such worthless fucking losers that this hate is really all they truly own.

    It's like these people believe that if they do this pointless Two Minutes Hate routine in a totally convincing way in front of an audience, they can rise to the level of actual relevance instead of being the same worthless fucking losers they were two minutes before.

    I generally don't waste a lot of time on these people except by accident.

    I don't even find them entertaining because their lives are total wrecks.

  6. For the most part our system rewards those who do the wrong things and punishes those who do the right thing. So they all learn from that feedback loop.

    It's really effed up honestly.

  7. Capital of Texas RefugeeTuesday, May 14, 2019 8:47:00 PM

    Chinese-German friend: "GODDAMN IT IS REALLY COLD IN YOUR OFFICE."

    Me, sitting in shorts and a light T-shirt: "I'm ready for the next Maunder Minimum ... 2023 is going to be fun."

    Friend: "I should move farther south than Florida?"

    Me: "Much farther south, but not south of the equator."


    Some things correct themselves, others require intervention from Mother Nature.

    WAIT FOR IT ...

    WAIT FOR IT ...