China Still Fears Three Things About America. The Dollar Is One Of Them
Few Western observers know China better than The Honorable Kevin Rudd. As a young diplomat, the Australian, who speaks fluent Mandarin, was stationed in Beijing in the 1980s. As Australia’s Prime Minister and then Foreign Minister from 2007 to 2012, he led his country through the delicate tension between its most important alliance partner (the USA) and its largest trading partner (China).
Today Mr. Rudd is President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. In an in-depth conversation via Zoom, he explains why a fundamental competition has begun between the two great powers. He would not rule out a hot war: «We know from history that it is easy to start a conflict, but it is bloody hard to end it», he warns.
Mr. Rudd, the conflict between the U.S. and China has escalated significantly over the past three years. To what extent has that escalation been driven by the presence of two strongmen, i.e. Donald Trump and Xi Jinping?
How Three Prior Pandemics Triggered Massive Societal Shifts
Before March of this year, few probably thought disease could be a significant driver of human history.
Not so anymore. People are beginning to understand that the little changes COVID-19 has already ushered in or accelerated – telemedicine, remote work, social distancing, the death of the handshake, online shopping, the virtual disappearance of cash and so on – have begun to change their way of life. They may not be sure whether these changes will outlive the pandemic. And they may be uncertain whether these changes are for good or ill.
Three previous plagues could yield some clues about the way COVID-19 might bend the arc of history. As I teach in my course “Plagues, Pandemics and Politics,” pandemics tend to shape human affairs in three ways.
- First, they can profoundly alter a society’s fundamental worldview.
- Second, they can upend core economic structures.
- And, finally, they can sway power struggles among nations.
“Skinny” Or “Supersized”: What Happens To The Treasury Market When The Next Stimulus Bill Passes
While Congress remains gridlocked over the fifth covid stimulus bill (demanded by 90% of all Americans), rcent headlines suggested on-going discussions for a stimulus breakthrough between Democrats and Senate Republicans prior to the election. And while chances for a deal finalized prior to the November election are slim to nil, Bank of America acknowledges that the chances have improved from near zero at the start of the week. To be sure, timing is critical since the Congressional recess through the election starts on Oct 2 for the House & Oct 9 for the Senate (while Congress can always be called back for a vote but a pre-election deal seems most likely to happen in the next few days if it happens at all).
Yet while the political and calendar dynamics of any new stimulus deal have been widely discussed, one aspect that remains an open question are the market implications of said deal: just how will the Treasury fund the proposed stimulus and what will its impact be on Treasury spreads, either before or after the election.
In a recent analysis of just this issue, Bank of America concludes that most scenarios will see little change to coupon or bill sizes unless there is a “supersized” stimulus plan following a Democratic sweep, the same scenario that prompted Goldman to expect a surge in yields.
Rabobank: It’s Easy To Call For Continued Lockdowns When One Has A Safe Job Working Comfortably From Home
Back to the Roach Motel.
President Trump indeed returned to the White House yesterday, where people seem to be going down with Covid like flies. Luckily he is probably already immune, as he noted. Trump arrived by helicopter in a Leni Riefenstahl video clip and urged Americans –for the second time, the first by Tweet– not to be afraid of Covid, and not to let it dominate their lives. He had, he said, fought the virus as a leader. He had to do what he done, knowing the risks, involved.
Critics will point out that the man who just fought the virus is not yet out of the woods medically, and was caught puffing after climbing the stairs: true, but have they ever seen what Trump looks like after climbing any set of stairs at any time? The same critics point out Trump just benefitted from experimental, world class healthcare at public expense even as he has nominated a justice to the Supreme Court who may vote to repeal existing conditions protections offered by Obamacare.
However, one has to also consider that 2020 is likely a base election, and Leni Riefenstahl and Trump know how to fire up a base. It is very easy to call for continued lockdowns when one has a safe job paying full salary to work comfortably from home – which includes most Trump critics (and, full disclosure, this writer too). It’s far less attractive an option for a small business owner facing ruin, or for the self-employed, facing ruin, and even for the ‘always one rule for them and another for us’ blue collar voters who have had to keep working through Covid regardless, for example, delivering food to those working from home. Those are all Trump voters.
In short, objective analysis in partisan times would suggest there is going to be a flood of justified criticism of Trump’s actions (again), but likely also a lot of base support. Unless Trump has a health lapse, as his critics warn – but that is where we have been since Friday anyway.
Stocks certainly perked up on the Trump news, and 10-year Treasury yields rose too in a Lazarus effect….although earlier in the day we were told this was because Biden was far ahead in the polls. Or perhaps this was due to hopes for more US stimulus, which Trump has tweeted he very much wants done, and which appears to be edging closer?
On which, we must enter another Roach Motel. Yesterday, the Financial Times published an article from Stephen Roach –formerly of Morgan Stanley, and now a senior lecturer at Yale– in which he calls for the imminent collapse of the US dollar (which will decline by a third by the end of 2021, apparently) and its loss of global reserve currency status. Such pieces from Roach, always with the same theme, seem to appear once or twice a year now, and always get coverage in the financial press, regardless of the fact that they are nonsense. Two colleagues contacted me last night about the piece, which shows how much consternation it caused: one to double check that Roach’s arguments were indeed as silly as they looked and he wasn’t going mad.
House Democrats’ “Game Plan” For Breaking Up Big Tech Leaks
Big Tech’s efforts to cozy up to former Vice President Joe Biden in the hopes that he triumphs over President Trump on Election Day might not amount to much as Democrats in the House are launching their own push to break up big tech, as the DoJ’s anti-trust wing expands its investigation to focus on stock-exchange financial data tiering.
Drawing their inspiration from EU anti-trust czar Margrethe Vestager, Democrats on the House anti-trust subcommittee have written a draft report outlining inevitable conflicts that arise from tech companies like Amazon, Apple and Google-owner Alphabet both owning a marketplace, and selling their products in the marketplace.
The report, written after more than year of scrutiny by a special House anti-trust panel led by Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, was apparently leaked to Bloomberg, along with an official critique drafted by a Republican colleague (suggesting that GOP members were behind the leak), some time over the weekend. Before the leak, CNBC had reported that the process of finalizing and releasing the report had been delayed due to some last minute information-gathering involving Facebook.
Microchip’d? DARPA Biochip To “Save” Us From COVID Can Control Human DNA
The microchip has arrived.
While many are still attacking anyone warning of the “coming Microchip” as a conspiracy theorist, Luddite, or religious fanatic, that microchip has arrived.
But governments aren’t having to market the chip as a method to track, trace, and control their populations. Instead, they are marketing the chip as a way to track and detect COVID and other coronaviruses. Clearly, this is a much easier sell to a public literally terrorized by their governments and mainstream media outlets for the last six months.
Raul Diego details the creation and coming rollout of the new biochip in his article, “A DARPA-Funded Implantable Microchip to Detect COVID-19 Could Hit Markets By 2021,” where he writes,
The most significant scientific discovery since gravity has been hiding in plain sight for nearly a decade and its destructive potential to humanity is so enormous that the biggest war machine on the planet immediately deployed its vast resources to possess and control it, financing its research and development through agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and HHS’ BARDA.
The revolutionary breakthrough came to a Canadian scientist named Derek Rossi in 2010 purely by accident. The now-retired Harvard professor claimed in an interview with the National Post that he found a way to “reprogram” the molecules that carry the genetic instructions for cell development in the human body, not to mention all biological lifeforms.
These molecules are called ‘messenger ribonucleic acid’ or mRNA and the newfound ability to rewrite those instructions to produce any kind of cell within a biological organism has radically changed the course of Western medicine and science, even if no one has really noticed yet. As Rossi, himself, puts it: “The real important discovery here was you could now use mRNA, and if you got it into the cells, then you could get the mRNA to express any protein in the cells, and this was the big thing.”
Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2
As Covid-19 continues to exact a heavy toll, development of a vaccine appears the most promising means of restoring normalcy to civil life. Perhaps no scientific breakthrough is more eagerly anticipated. But bringing a vaccine to market is only half the challenge; also critical is ensuring a high enough vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. Concerningly, a recent poll found that only 49% of Americans planned to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.1
One option for increasing vaccine uptake is to require it. Mandatory vaccination has proven effective in ensuring high childhood immunization rates in many high-income countries. However, except for influenza vaccination of health care workers, mandates have not been widely used for adults.
Although a vaccine remains months to years away, developing a policy strategy to ensure uptake takes time. We offer a framework that states can apply now to help ensure uptake of the vaccine when it becomes available — including consideration of when a mandate might become appropriate. Our approach is guided by lessons from U.S. experiences with vaccines for the 1976 “swine flu,” H1N1 influenza, smallpox, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
We believe that six substantive criteria should be met before a state imposes a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine mandate (see box). The first is the existence of evidence that Covid-19 is inadequately controlled in the state by other measures, such as testing, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine — as indicated by sustained, troubling trends in new cases, hospitalizations, or deaths. Principles of public health law and ethics require that interventions that impinge on autonomy be reasonable and necessary; therefore, Covid-19 must present an ongoing threat. By the time a vaccine is available, more will be known about natural immunity in the population, the consequences of relaxing community mitigation measures, and the feasibility of scaling up test-and-trace strategies. There should be a reasonable indication as to whether further measures are needed.
A three-part plan to eliminate COVID-19
Bill Gates is co-chair and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The world is on the brink of a scientific achievement: A safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine will likely be ready by early next year. In fact, there will probably be more than one vaccine available. This is the development that will finally give the world the chance to eliminate the threat of the pandemic — and return to normal.
Because we can immunize against the disease, governments will be able to lift social distancing measures. People will stop having to wear masks. The world’s economy will start running again at full speed.
But elimination will not happen by itself. To achieve this goal, the world first needs three things: the capacity to produce billions of vaccine doses, the funding to pay for them, and systems to deliver them.
Right now, most of the world’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines is slated to go to rich countries. These nations have been making deals with pharmaceutical companies, securing the right to buy billions of doses as soon as they are produced.
But what about low- and lower-middle income nations of the world, everywhere from South Sudan to Nicaragua to Myanmar? These nations are home to nearly half of all human beings, and they do not have the purchasing power to make big deals with pharmaceutical companies. As things stand now, these countries will be able to cover, at most, 14% of their people.
New modeling from Northeastern University helps illustrate what will happen if vaccine distribution is so unequal. The researchers there analyzed two scenarios. In one, vaccines are given to countries based on their population size. Then there is another scenario that approximates what is happening now: 50 rich countries get the first two billion doses of vaccine. In this scenario, the virus continues to spread unchecked for four months in three quarters of the world. And almost twice as many people die.
This would be a huge moral failing. A vaccine can make COVID-19 a preventable disease, and no one should die from a preventable disease simply because the country they live in cannot afford to secure a manufacturing deal. But you do not even have to care about fairness to see the problem with the “rich-country-only” scenario.
Business Leaders Who Reject Woke Culture To Be ‘First People Lined Up Against The Wall And Shot In Revolution’: Ex-Twitter CEO
If one needed any further evidence of Twitter’s far-left corporate culture, look no further than former CEO Dick Costolo – who went full Bolshevik in a Thursday Twitter rant warning that “me-first capitalists” who don’t agree with injecting political activism into the workplace will be “the first people lined up against the wall and shot in the revolution,” adding “I’ll happily provide video commentary.”
Costolo, a partner at Index Ventures and who sits on the board of Patreon (which got spanked in court for deplatforming conservatives), ran Twitter from 2010 to 2015.
As Reclaim The Net writes, “Costolo was replying to a tweet related to how Coinbase’s CEO has decided to separate business from political activism and offer an exit package for those employees who feel they can’t work in a company that doesn’t want to be hindered by politics and activism, as so many other companies have been distracted by in recent times.”