RAND PAUL: TRUMP MAY TAKE EXECUTIVE ACTION TO REPEAL OBAMACARE
Senator meeting with POTUS this week.
Aug 3, 2017 by Steve Watson
Senator Rand Paul is advising President Trump on a potential executive order to repeal and replace Obamacare, a move that he says could help millions of Americans who cannot afford skyrocketing premiums.
In interviews with earlier this week, Paul noted that Trump is considering penning an executive order to get the job done, following the failure of Republicans in Congress to pass legislation.
“I just got off the phone with the president, and I think he and I both want to get something done,” Paul said.
“What I’m talking to him about is that I think through executive action, I think he can legalize the health associations that I’ve been talking about.”
Paul says he is planning to have further talks with Trump this week, noting that there…
Multiple journalists in a panel discussion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe expressed their embarrassment with CNN’s Jim Acosta after his latest outburst in the White House, where he was soundly whipped by 31-year-old immigration expert and top Trump advisor, Stephen Miller.
“It was a very spirited debate between two very spirited ideologues on the issue of immigration, and one of those very spirited ideologues happened to be a supposedly-objective news reporter for CNN – Jim Acosta,” said Tim Carney, an editor at the Washington Examiner…
NSC Purge: McMaster ‘Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump’
3 Aug 2017 by Breitbart News
Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote Wednesday evening that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is purging pro-Israel staff from the National Security Council (NSC), turning the administration against President Donald Trump’s policies.
She noted that the firings were the latest evidence that NSA McMaster is “deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump”:
According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.
Frank Gaffney’s Message To President Trump: To Improve National Security, Drain The Swamp July 30, 2017 by GINNI THOMAS AND ALEXA ARCHAMBAULT National security expert Frank Gaffney believes President Donald Trump needs to “clean house,” and rid his executive agencies of Obama-era officials. Gaffney is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based […]
London police said Sunday six civilians were killed in addition to three assailants in the attacks on and near the London Bridge.
Police said a van went crashing into pedestrians late Saturday night on the London Bridge and then at least three assailants started to stab pedestrians.
Police said the assailants were shot and killed. They added that the attackers looked like to be wearing explosive vests, but they turned out to be hoaxes.
At least 20 others were injured, police said.
Video broadcast on British TV showed a man on the ground who appeared to have canisters strapped to him. In addition, police conducted a series of controlled explosions in the area, according to reporters there.
The white van careened off the road before striking several people on the busy bridge around 10 p.m. local time. Witnesses said three men burst out of the van and attacked people with knives; some victims appeared to have their throats slit. Gunfire erupted at the bridge, though witnesses said it could have come from police.
One witness at Borough Market, a nightlife destination near the bridge, told Britain’s Press Association she was in a restaurant when the attackers men entered, then “stabbed someone in the face and someone in the stomach.” She continued, “One of them had a big knife, then he came in and walked around the restaurant, I guess they just kind of stabbed anyone that they saw and knocked things on the ground and then we just hid.”
A witness identified only as Ben told the BBC: “We saw people running away and then I saw a man in red with a large blade, at a guess 10 inches long, stabbing a man, about three times. He added, “It looked like the man had been trying to intervene, but there wasn’t much he could do. He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground.”
Witnesses told Sky News and the BBC that the attackers shouted “This is for Allah.”
The attacks came just over two months after the car-and-knife attack at British Parliament and less than two weeks after the suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people. Britain just recently lowered its official terror threat from “critical.”
The threats targeting Europe have been among the worst that American intelligence officials have seen in a decade, a U.S. government official told Fox News. Both London Mayor Sadiq Khan and U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described the attacks as “cowardly.”
Video from the Borough Market area showed officers with guns bursting into nearby bars and ordering people to get down on the floor. Frightened onlookers around the bridge walked away with their hands on their heads. The Royal Naval Lifeboat Institution was helping with evacuations.
Less than two hours after the bridge attack, police warned they were responding to an “incident” in the Vauxhall area, more than a mile away, but confirmed early Sunday it was an unrelated stabbing.
Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump were briefed with updates.
The prime minister is set to lead a meeting of the government emergency response committee Sunday, British officials added. President Trump tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”
“This was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night,” Khan said. “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”
The United States condemns the cowardly attacks targeting innocent civilians in London this evening,” Nauert told reporters. “The United States stands ready to provide any assistance authorities in the United Kingdom may request.”
Speaking to Fox News from London, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said the latest attacks mark the fourth or fifth time he’s had to call his British counterpart in just four months on the job because of “terrible events like this.”
“At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific, credible terror threat in the United States,” DHS officials told Fox News.
“We’re monitoring the situation in London and we’re in touch with British authorities,” New York Police Department spokesman J. Peter Donald said.
Transportation officials said the busy London Bridge station has been closed at the request of police; two additional stations also were closed.
Globalization has failed and assertions to the contrary are hard to reconcile. Claims of widespread prosperity were wrong. It didn’t promote a more cooperative world. Nor did it solve the world’s most vexing problems – security, economic, social, or otherwise.
Rather, it contributed significantly to irrational exuberance, low productivity, enormous debt, and the worst financial crises and economic inequality in almost a century. It rewarded poor resource allocation, concentrations of wealth and power, and monopolistic behavior. It deterred innovation and capital investment by instead encouraging higher returns from shifts in existing wealth rather than creating new wealth. And ultimately, it led to the world’s highest divisiveness in decades.
As an economic system, globalization should have been brought to a stop long ago. But for lack of anticipated consequences, protected self-interest, and extraordinary debt and policy accommodation, it stretched far beyond its good. Now the snapback from its extreme is likely, and undoubtedly, should result in further global stress.
Costs of Globalization
Although many consumer items continue to be affordable, the cost of the overall globalized system is expensive. Following 9/11, the world became ever more aware of the “all-in” price of globalization. The burden of maintaining order fell mostly on the U.S. The costs of the Iraq and the Afghan wars, along with the global war on terror have been estimated at more than six trillion dollars. And that does not include the indirect drag on the economy and society, at large. Regardless of political bias, it is hard to dismiss the link between the Middle East’s turmoil over the last three decades and the region’s incursion related to oil and globalization.
Corporations are rethinking their global strategies. Protectionism, currency risks, counterfeiting, and systems security are forcing greater uncertainty on doing business abroad. Banks, industrials, consumer, and tech companies – all are feeling the blowback from globalization and share prices should begin to reflect that uncertainty.
Nationalism and trade wars are certainly developing, putting foreign assets and supply at risk. Some nations have moved to more localized alternatives, especially in energy and food production. From either foresight or sanctions, China, Russia, and Iran have been shoring up supply and production for quite some time. Meanwhile, the West stays entangled with political divisiveness. If the West is unprepared and its supply chain goes suddenly interrupted, it will indeed be very costly.
Lastly, many do not associate globalization with the world’s current environmental problems. But according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), globalization has accentuated major environmental damage. Some say those concerns are unfounded. Perhaps. But maybe the best way to decide is to look at the environments of the large global producing nations, such as China. Clearly, the potential direct and indirect costs of further environmental damage could be quite expensive.
Rationalization and Risk
Following World War II, global integration gradually expanded. Then, with the fall of the Soviet Union, a major upswing occurred, so that the sum of global imports and exports would rise to almost 60% of the world’s gross domestic product. According to the World Bank, the amount had doubled from the half-century before. Never before has low-cost foreign supply been so favored by policy, infrastructure advances, and energy abundance.
But the expansion of the global structure came with increased risks. In the idealistic world following Cold War victory, many of these risks were unknown, ignored or discounted. Former adversaries became vital suppliers. Mutually dependent financial systems and capital flows came to be relied upon. Integration was forced on cultures having opposing ideologies. Diversification and redundancy gave way to capacity and standardization. Too, trade and defense treaties were required for those nations wanting to get in. It became a losing game to buck the trend of globalization.
And although history has shown that conflict is just as likely among trading partners, and globalization outcomes could not be reasonably anticipated, rationalizations were still made for the causes of harmony and efficiency. The world’s system became ripe for unintended consequences.
Many economists agree that globalization allowed for a large increase in rent-seeking. This condition occurs when existing wealth is shifted, as opposed to new wealth created. The term “rent” does not specifically refer to the periodic payments on a lease, rather it is coined from a discussion of types of income – profit, wages, rent – in Adam Smith’s, Wealth of Nations. Rent-seeking extracts value from assets or processes that already exist, not from improving them. In extreme rent-seeking environments, growth occurs mostly through asset price inflation caused by expansion of the money supply (debt).
Robert J. Schiller, American Nobel Laureate and economist, gives a classic example of a feudal lord who develops a toll system on a river passing through his land. A toll is charged on passing commercial boats. The values of the river, the boats, or the passing goods have not been improved. But the investment in the toll system reaps a significant return.
Over the last few decades, production efficiency in many of the world’s underlying goods and services has seen only marginal increase (productivity). Meanwhile, the technological improvement and investment in today’s toll systems have been enormous. Production was forced toward low-cost producers and channeled through toll systems. Even with added cost of the tolls, prices have been more competitive compared to higher-cost producers without tolls.
Competition and Viability
As a result, many higher-cost producers were forced out of business. Sources of alternative supply were eliminated. The toll systems had naturally moved toward monopolistic behavior reaping enormous new business flows and wealth. However, much of it came through unfair labor practices, favorable policy, government subsidy, and excessive debt throughout the system.
But the tables may turn. These rent-seeking toll systems are at risk because they were built on the continued burden of others. This structure is fundamental to the struggle between populism (opposed to further accommodation), and globalization (needs accommodation). If the world moves away from globalization, then economic viability of the tolls becomes questionable without continued accommodation and from the potential for new competition that should follow.
Increasingly, economists are suggesting that globalization has created new variants of antitrust activity that have gone unchecked for several reasons. First, it is not widely understood as such. Second, the toll systems have influenced policy through their sway on politicians and regulators. Third, cross-border enforcement is a particularly sticky issue with geopolitical ramifications. And lastly, the masses have been convinced to look the other way through rationalizations of social benefit, peaceful coexistence, and economic efficiency. Going forward, it would not be surprising to see new policy-makers attempt to break rent-seeking tolls through antitrust enforcement.
A good example of the making of an anti-competitive toll system is the deregulation, consolidation, and subsequent “too-big-to-fail” bailouts of the FDIC-subsidized banks. Some believe that the distribution and advertising businesses of certain “technology” giants fall into this category. Similarly, the retail chains of global discounters may encounter new scrutiny.
And finally, although it is not a globalized business and is not subject to antitrust enforcement because of legislative creation, the Affordable Care Act’s health care system has significant, structurally-imposed rent-seeking. The point is that as long as rent-seeking behavior remains a formidable power in the economy, then competition, innovation, and productivity will stay subdued.
Last week, global elites again gathered for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Since the 1990s, the WEF has been a leading proponent of globalization. Its members include top banks, hedge funds, and global corporations. The 2017 forum opened with Chinese President Xi Jinping as speaker.
This year security was tight at the exclusive winter resort. Organizers worried over repercussions from populist backlash. And along those lines, Oxfam – a global, charitable-based NGO – prepared a report for Davos, “An Economy for the 99%.” The report claims that world’s top eight wealthiest individuals now own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Undeniably, the wealth gap has widened significantly over the last decade and has been a leading issue with the populists . Oxfam’s report did gain some attention at the forum, but mostly from the media covering the event.
Participants at the WEF again determined the upcoming year’s watch list for the top five global risks – extreme weather, involuntary migration, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and data theft. Amazingly, the fallout from receding globalization did not rank. The disconnect of the world’s top business, financial, and political leaders’ to the issues causing the rise in populism – the biggest social movement in decades – seems surprising, but perhaps not. Many at last year’s forum proclaimed Brexit as impossible and the Trump presidential campaign was merely a preposterous stunt.
Globalization, as known over the last three decades, will recede – it has to. It is untenable and the results have been dismal – for the U.S., most western industrialized nations, and the Middle East. The world’s current operating system, evolved under globalization, is at risk, not only from populist and nationalist forces, but also stemming from its economic viability. Value cannot be created from a diminishing return – either by leverage or accommodation, both of which are finite. Inevitably, humans will move toward the innate process of advancing productivity and prosperity. Change from globalization is not a matter of if, but when.
But unplugging globalization will not be quiet. Changes in global markets, domestic order, and geopolitical relations will be turbulent, and potentially, in a very troubling manner. The world now finds itself within a very muddled mess of self-interest that crosses regional and national boundaries and pits members of the same society against each other. A similar situation was observed as the Industrial Revolution unwound in the mid-1800s. Revolt and conflict ensued across Europe, the Americas and parts of Asia.
A parallel outcome is hoped not to repeat. In facing the challenges that may lie ahead, America should also hope not to be guided by unrealistic optimism. Or be divided by disregard of its national heritage and shared interests. For that is the legacy which future generations will evaluate.
Christopher Petitt – financial executive, board advisor, and business consultant – is the author of the book, The Crucible of Global War: And the Sequence that is Leading Back to It. It is available
Following the July 12th 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, that the People’s Republic of China’s nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea, and its land reclamation activities on islets are invalid and unlawful, the Chinese Defense Minister, Chang Wanquan has urged his country’s citizens to prepare for what he described as the people’s war at sea.
The Philippines had drag China to the PCA over the territory. However, despite the ruling in favor of the Philippines, China has vowed to take all necessary measures available to protect its sovereignty over the area, revealing that it had the right to set up an air defense zone on the sea.
Mr Wanquan reportedly made the statement while inspecting military installations in China’s eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. The Defense Minister said the Chinese public should be educated about national defense issues, because the country’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity are at risk.
According to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua, Wanquan also warned of offshore security threats, and the need to acknowledge the gravity of risk to China’s national security. He further charged the entire security apparatus of the country, including the military, police, together with citizens to prepare for mobilization to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
According to commentators, China has a strong belief that the United States instigated the Philippines to dispute the South China Sea, so that the United States could take advantage and exploit the area for its benefit.
The Business Insider reports that apart from maritime traffic advantage of the South China Sea, in addition, the area has proven oil reserves estimated up to seven billion barrels, and 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. China’s estimate of the oil reserves in the area, is far higher than what we know. The Chinese estimate stands at 130 billion barrels of oil. China, therefore believes all these belong to the Chinese nation, without any dispute.
Already, China has deployed warship and nuclear bombers to the South China Sea, close to the disputed area. The Free Thought Project confirms that hundreds of ships and submarines from all three fleets of China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted extensive live ammunition drills in the country’s East, North, and South Seas as a show of offensive and defensive capabilities.
This military exercise is said to show as a proof of the country’s resolve not to capitulate to the ruling of the PCA. A statement from the Chinese Navy said the drill was aimed at honing the assault intensity, precision, stability and speed of troops amid heavy electronic influences, revealing that an information technology-based war at sea is sudden, cruel and short, which requires a fast transition to combat status, quick transition and high assault efficiency.
According to Chinese anonymous source, this military exercise is the beginning of a wider and longer exercise in the disputed area. In fact, China is planning to conduct joint naval drills with its ally, Russia, in a yet-to-be disclosed location, in September. However, many observers suspect that the drill is likely to take place in the disputed area.
On August 2nf 2016, China’s Supreme Court issued a regulation urging the country to take all necessary measures available to protect its territorial waters.
“People’s courts will actively exercise jurisdiction over China’s territorial waters, support administrative departments to legally perform maritime management duties, equally protect the legal rights of Chinese and foreign parties involved and safeguard Chinese territorial sovereignty and maritime interests,” the regulation stated.
According to the Global China Times the assertion by some United States pundits that their country will defeat China, if the two countries engage in military conflict, is completely false. The Times claims China can boast of a 2.3 million-strong army, adding that China would not like to start a military conflict with the United States, unless the United States shows extreme provocation in the disputed area.
The Time wrote in an editorial: “China doesn’t want wars, a war with the United States in particular. The only possible scenario for a Sino-United States war is that the United States corners China on its doorstep with unacceptable provocations and China has to fight back. We will be very prudent about going to war, but if a war is triggered, we will have greater determination than the United States to fight it to the end and we can endure more losses than the United States.”
Meanwhile, despite these developments, the United States is busily upgrading its several military bases in the Philippines. The United States is also planning on increasing its presence in the disputed area. It has conducted military exercises close to the disputed area in the past.
The United States claims it is doing so to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. But observers see this as something that could provoke China to confront the United States militarily, which could lead to a wider conflict, possibly, World War II