“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best

THE ELEPHANT BAR IS CLOSED

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The End of the New World Order




Let us find graceful ways to restore the trade balance

From Harold Seneker, Fair Lawn, NJ, US

Take a long-term look at the US trade deficit from 1950 onwards and you can see that US trade was in trivial deficit for many years.

Deficits began worsening in the 1980s, and have really plunged since the mid-1990s, when Nafta, other trade deals and the massive expansion of Chinese imports into the US took hold in earnest. Since then, deficits have ranged broadly around $500bn a year. The change is quite dramatic.

Two questions come to mind. First, does the world really think such a massive imbalance can continue forever? And second, what do China, Europe and other major creditors think they are going to do with the astronomical numbers of dollars they are piling up, aside from helping the US Treasury finance its budget deficit?

I understand this arrangement helps some nations’ internal political problems, from dealing with recalcitrant French farmers to finding employment for 1bn Chinese, but all things come to an end eventually, and this imbalance must too. After all, a half trillion here, and a half trillion there — after a while it begins to add up to real money.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it might be wiser to work with the US to find graceful ways to restore the trade balance with a minimum of pain, and perhaps even to mutual benefit, rather than act as though redressing an imbalance were an act of war heralding the imminent end of civilisation. One step, which would not hurt exports to the US, might be to buy more US goods and services, rather than block or discourage trade in them.

Really, I buy them all the time, and they aren’t all that bad!
Harold Seneker
Fair Lawn, NJ, US

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Trump renders G7 irrelevant

Europe’s vanishing calm

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

AVIGNON, France | The Rhone River Valley in southern France is a storybook marriage of high technology, traditional vineyards and ancestral villages. High-speed trains and well-designed toll roads crisscross majestic cathedrals, castles and chateaus.

Traveling in a Europe at peace these days evokes both historical and literary allusions. As with the infrastructure and engineering of the late Roman Empire right before its erosion, the Continent rests at its pinnacle of technological achievement.

There is a Roman Empire-like sameness throughout Europe in fashion, popular culture and government protocol — a welcome change from the deadly fault lines of 1914 and 1939.

Yet, as in the waning days of Rome, there is a growing uncertainly beneath the European calm.

The present generation has inherited the physical architecture and art of a once-great West — cathedrals, theaters and museums. But it seems to lack the confidence that it could ever create the conditions to match, much less exceed, such achievement.

The sense of depression in Europe reminds one of novelist J.R.R. Tolkien’s description of the mythical land of Gondor in his epic fantasy “The Lord of the Rings.” Gondor’s huge walls, vaunted traditions and rich history were testaments that it once served as bulwark of a humane Middle-earth.

But by the novel’s time, the people of Gondor had become militarily and spiritually enfeebled by self-doubt, decades of poor governance, depopulation and indifference, paradoxically brought on by wealth and affluence.

Europeans are similarly confused about both their past and present. They claim to be building a new democratic culture. But the governing elites of the European Union prefer fiats to plebiscites. They are terrified of popular protest movements. And they consider voters little more than members of reckless mobs that cannot be properly taught what is good for them.

Free speech is increasingly problematic. It is more dangerous for a European citizen to publicly object to illegal immigration than for a foreigner to enter Europe illegally.

Elites preach the idea of open borders. But people on the street concede that they have no way of assimilating millions of immigrants from the Middle East into European culture. Most come illegally, en masse, and without the education or skills to integrate successfully.

Oddly, less wealthy Central and Eastern Europeans are more astutely skeptical of mass immigration than wealthier but less rational Western Europeans.

Europeans claim to believe in democratic redistribution, but apparently not on an international level. They are torn apart over a poorer Mediterranean Europe wishing to share in the lifestyles of their northern cousins without necessarily emulating the latter’s discipline and work ethic.

Germany wishes to be the good leader that can live down its past by virtue-signaling its tolerance. Yet Berlin does so in an overbearing, almost traditional Prussian fashion. It rams down the throat of its neighbors its politically correct policies on Middle Eastern immigration, mandatory green energy, virtual disarmament, mercantilist trade and financial bailouts. Rarely has such a socialist nation been so hyper-capitalist and chauvinist in piling up trade surpluses.

The world quietly assumes that the rich and huge European Union cannot and will not do much about unscrupulous Chinese trade practices, radical Islamic terrorism, or Iranian and North Korean nuclear proliferation.

Such problems are left to the more uncouth Americans. That unspoken dependency might explain why many Europeans quietly concede that the hated Donald Trump’s deterrent foreign policy and his economic growth protocols could prove in the long term a better deal for Europe than were the beloved Barack Obama’s lead-from-behind and redistributionist agendas.

The European Union’s sole reason to be is to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 20th century, in which many millions of Europeans were slaughtered in world wars, death camps and the great communist terror in Russia.

Yet paradoxically, the European reaction to the gory past often results in an extreme Western sybaritic lifestyle that in itself leads to decline.

European religion has been recalibrated into a secular and agnostic political correctness. Child-raising, if done, is often a matter of having one child in one’s late 30s. Buying a home and getting a job depend more on government ministries than on individual daring and initiative.

Yet the more credible European lesson from the last century’s catastrophes is that too few 20th-century European democracies stayed militarily vigilant. In the 1930s, too few of them felt confident enough in Western democratic values to confront existential dangers in their infancy like Hitler and Stalin.

Atheistic nihilism and a soulless modernism — not religious piety and a reverence for custom and tradition — fueled German and Italian fascism and Russian communism.

Contrary to politically correct dogma, Christianity, military deterrence, democracy and veneration of a unique past did not destroy Europe.

Instead, the culprit of European decline was the very absence of such ancient values — both then and now.

• Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, is the author of “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won” (Basic Books, 2017).

Friday, June 08, 2018

G6 plus Trump

Trump goes to G-7 and would rather not. The G-6 would rather he not as well. Real estate is all about timing. Trump has assessed that there is no better time to recalibrate the one sided trade deals that the previous administrations of Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama foolishly made with just about everyone. It will be a short meeting but Trump is holding the cards.

Trump Tweets:

Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.Tweets, current page.  Tweets & replies  Media
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Why isn’t the European Union and Canada informing the public that for years they have used massive Trade Tariffs and non-monetary Trade Barriers against the U.S. Totally unfair to our farmers, workers & companies. Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things...but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

BACKGROUND:

Europe’s economy is looking like the weak link in the global expansion after a slowdown in the first quarter.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Monday that its composite leading indicators show “signs of easing growth momentum” in the eurozone as a whole and its three biggest economies—Germany, France and Italy, Bloomberg reported.
In comparison, the 35-member OECD area and the US show “stable” growth and China’s index points to “tentative signs” of the economy gaining speed.

FRANKFURT--German industrial production and exports declined in April compared with March, giving yet another sign that Europe's largest economy is struggling to gain momentum following a weak start to the year.

Industrial output dropped 1.0% from March while exports slipped 0.3%, the Federal Statistical Office said Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a small increase in industrial production.

"Following a moderate first quarter, industrial production had a weak start to the second quarter," said the economics ministry.

A separate publication on Thursday showed that German manufacturing orders dropped for the fourth straight month in April, signaling that the economic slowdown is stretching into the second quarter.

Germany's economy has started to cool, reflecting similar developments elsewhere in the eurozone. Germany's annualized growth rate slowed to 1.2% in the first quarter from 2.5% in the fourth quarter of last year.

Deutsche Bank AG's DBK, -1.36% DB, +1.41% Chairman Paul Achleitner is considering a merger with rival Commerzbank AG CBK, -2.42% and is speaking with top investors and government officials about the potential tie-up, Bloomberg reported late Thursday. 

Sources told the news outlet there have been no formal talks yet between the two German banks and that a deal isn't seen as imminent. Deutsche Bank said in a statement that the chairman is constantly asked about this matter. "His answer is always the same: 'All the pro and contra arguments can be read in analyst reports and the media. So what do you think? He sees no reason to actively raise this issue." A representative from Commerzbank wasn't immediately available for a comment. Deutsche Bank shares fell 1.5% in Friday's trade, while Commerzbank shares were down 2.8%. The Deutsche Bank stock is down more than 40% year-to-date following a string of bad news. Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve designated DB's U.S. business in "troubled condition," while S&P Global Ratings downgraded the company over concerns related to its restructuring plans.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Eagle has landed and Sam is up and running!

The Eagle Saloon 

I will be participating and look forward to checking in. Please give it a go!

Deuce