Saturday, 28 January 2017

Weekend Update 28/01/2017 – Maggie and Ronald Part Two.



“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”

Ronald Reagan

We open with the Maggie and Ronald “lite” sequel. Without an “Evil Empire” around anymore, something of a western boom is slowly getting underway.

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time during national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.”


Ronald Reagan

Trump Touts Churchill, May Prods on NATO in White House Meeting

by Robert Hutton
Within minutes of meeting Theresa May, Donald Trump was paying homage to a second British prime minister also present in the Oval Office: “It’s a great honor to have Winston Churchill back.”

Installed in the president’s office by George W. Bush and then removed by Barack Obama, the bronze bust of Churchill was returned by Trump to a place of prominence in the White House: under a portrait of George Washington. In front of the Conservative hero, May and Trump shook hands, she in Republican red to match his signature red tie.

This opening act was geared at building the impression the two leaders will forge a relationship every bit as special as that enjoyed by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the geopolitical power couple of the 1980’s, even as the two stood slightly awkwardly on either side of Churchill, exchanging pleasantries. But as they walked through a White House colonnade on their way to face the press, Trump briefly took May’s hand to guide her.

Trump was an attentive host and during the 18-minute news conference that followed, more subdued than in his last interaction with the press. At one point a BBC reporter, selected by May, asked Trump whether he understood why many Britons found his views alarming. Trump merely turned to May and offered a joke. 

“This was your choice of a question?” he said, leaning into the microphone. “There goes that relationship.”

May’s goal is to move Trump to engage with the world by showering him with respect, and that she did: paying tribute to his “stunning election victory” and announcing he would be coming on a state visit to London later this year on a personal invitation from Queen Elizabeth II.
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Fri Jan 27, 2017 | 5:49pm EST

Buffett, Gates have hope for America after Trump ascension

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on Friday expressed optimism that the United States will move ahead as a nation, even as it works through political differences and gets used to the new Trump administration.

The world's two richest people were speaking to students at Columbia University after U.S. President Donald Trump started to unwind the work of his predecessor Barack Obama in a series of executive orders, prompting concern from critics over what the actions mean for Americans and their place in the world.

"I am confident that America will move ahead," Buffett said.

Gates, meanwhile, said the desire for innovation and support for research are "strong" and "largely bipartisan," despite differences on how to accomplish and fund both.

"This administration is new enough; we don't know how its budget priorities are going to come out," but there is much intensity to ensure that the executive branch and Congress encourage "amazing things," Gates said.

Gates co-founded and was the first chief executive of Microsoft Corp, while Buffett runs the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Forbes magazine said on Friday that Gates is worth $85.2 billion and Buffett is worth $73.9 billion.

An estimated 1,300 people attended Friday's event to watch the close friends, who have known each other for a quarter century.

Gates is also a Berkshire director, while Buffett is donating much of his wealth to the charitable foundation set up by Gates and his wife, Melinda.

Both told students it is important to invest and focus on doing good works over the long term, despite the impulse or perceived need for shorter-term thinking.
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We close on America for the Chinese New Year weekend with big changes coming to US auto regulation.  There’s new broom about to upend a whole lot of regulations and how those regulations are formatted.  The USA is about to get competitive again.

“As government expands, liberty contracts.”

Ronald Reagan

Ford CEO Told Trump U.S. Fuel-Economy Rules Risk 1 Million Jobs

by Jamie Butters
About 1 million U.S. jobs are at risk if fuel-economy rules don’t align with market reality, according to Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields, who delivered the estimation directly to President Donald Trump.

Fields and his peers -- General Motors Co. chief Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Sergio Marchionne -- didn’t ask to have fuel-economy standards eliminated during their meeting with the president at the White House this week, the CEO said Friday. The focus was on combining various sets of government regulations and ensuring they take into account consumer demand.

“We think having one national standard on fuel economy is really important,” Fields said at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans. Citing several studies he didn’t identify, Fields said the jobs “could be at risk if we’re not given some level of flexibility on that -- aligning it to market reality. So that really resonated.”

Fields’s comments are the most in-depth that any of the three U.S. auto CEOs have given about closed-door discussions with Trump at the White House on Tuesday. In responding to the president’s criticisms on Twitter and demands to maximize hiring at home, the carmakers are pushing the administration for regulatory help that could boost their profits and encourage investing in domestic factories.

Finally, Beijing predicts up to 3 billion trips over the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Sat Jan 28, 2017 | 2:21am EST

Chinese New Year fireworks spark a return to hazardous Beijing pollution

Residents of China's capital awoke on Saturday to dense, choking smog after many set off a barrage of fireworks overnight to ring in the Lunar New Year, despite limits and public admonitions against such displays in the congested city.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said harmful particulate matter in the air had hit the second-highest level in five years by Saturday morning, the state-owned China News Service reported.

Beijing launched a "war against pollution" in 2014 as part of a central government promise to reverse damage done by decades of breakneck growth and strengthen powers to shut down and punish polluters. Efforts to clean up the skies in the industrial heartland around Beijing are being thwarted by coal-burning industry and indoor heating, which increases during China's winter months.

Public health concerns over air pollution have grown and the government has found no source of pollution too small to ignore. They have even taken on outdoor food vendors in recent years, as well as the annual battle against China's long tradition of lighting fireworks to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

"In setting off fireworks, be conscious of 'setting off the (pollution) index'," read an editorial on Saturday in the People's Daily newspaper, the Communist Party mouthpiece.

Hundreds of millions of people criss-cross China to visit family and friends during the Lunar New Year period, with the government predicting up to 3 billion trips.
More

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is the first day of a secular, sacred, or other guise whose months are coordinated by the cycles of the moon. The whole year may account to a purely lunar calendar, which is not coordinated to a solar calendar (and, thus, may progress or retrogress through the solar year by comparison to it, depending on whether the lunar calendar has more or fewer than 14 months); or the year may account to a lunisolar calendar, whose months coordinate to the cycles of the moon but whose length is periodically adjusted to keep it relatively in sync with the solar year - typically by adding an intercalary month, when needed. For example, in the Tenpō calendar, a Japanese lunisolar calendar which was used until 1872, the first day of the year is, theoretically and basically, the day of second new moon after the winter solstice (the lunar month which includes the winter solstice is fixed to the eleventh month.) In the Chinese Chongzhen calendar, the first day of the year is theoretically similarly determined as the Tenpō calendar as long as there is no leap month between the winter solstice (dongzhi 冬至) and another solar term Yushui (雨水). The leap month in the Chongzhen calendar is added when there are 13 lunar months between a winter solstice and the lunar month which includes the next winter solstice, and the leap month is the first lunar month which doesn't include any of the twelve solar terms (zhongqi 中気).[1]

Got it?

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”

Ronald Reagan


As usual, we close with an update from Jason in sunny California.

The Trump Era: Observations from Week One
 N. Jason Jencka January 28th, 2017 3 am ET

                Donald Trump has been the political face of a 230 year old country for just more than seven days and has arguably made more of an impact on the nature of political discourse than some presidents did in entire terms.  In the grand theatrical production that is American presidential politics, a tradition exists for candidates to make generally unfulfilled promises and representations of what they will achieve in their first 100 days in office. The phrase “in my first 100 days as President...”  became as much a traditional electoral talking point as “standing up for hardworking Americans”, (especially those that self-define as middle class.) A 100 day time-frame found appeal both with candidates and voters as being brief enough to visualize but long enough to (theoretically) allow the technical aspects of enacting policy to be carried out. More often than not, such pronouncements became little more than campaign footnotes after election day
                 
What we have seen in the dizzying pace of policy pronouncements this past week is clear confirmation that President Trump cares little for this quaint tradition. Whether through directing symbolic but material initial funds for a wall on the Mexican border in his 5th day in office  or summarily suspending immigration from a handful of countries on day 7, while steadfastly litigating the size of the crowd at his inauguration, Mr. Trump has shown truly “tremendous” drive to fulfill even controversial campaign promises. Though both the content and tone of Trumpian policy have spawned domestic protest & international uncertainty, acknowledgment must be made of Mr. Trump's tenacity. Those with disagreements  of political engagement to  constructively direct  his energies in a productive direction as the 7 days has proven that a strategy perhaps best characterized as “protest and hope for the best” is nonproductive

Sources:
Michael D. Shear & Maggie Haberman, New York Times January 26th, 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/us/politics/trump-inauguration-crowd-size-park-chief.html?_r=0


N. Jason Jencka is presently studying Finance and Economics at Sierra Nevada College, located near the shores of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada. His interests include the interplay between world markets and the global political sphere, with a focus on developments of both sides of the Atlantic in North America and Europe. In his leisure time he enjoys connecting with those people that have an interesting story to tell and a genuine desire to make an impact in the world.

In the latest American wit from the Trump conservatives:

"Democrats  haven't been this upset since Republicans took their slaves away." 

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