White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders delivers brief remarks to the press pool discussing the government shutdown. Mrs Sanders notes Democrat leadership Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Steny Hoyer are playing political games with national security. The border security impasse between Republicans and Democrats continues with a partial government shutdown.
Jumpin’ Ju-Ju Bones…. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases the December 2018 jobs report and the numbers are “eye-popping.” ♦In the month of December 312,000 new jobs were added. ♦Real wage growth now 3.2%. ♦Prior October and November jobs reports were adjusted upward by 58,000 jobs. Main Street USA is roaring!!
Here’s the data: Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in December. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent (more static workers entering workforce).
Employment in health care rose by 50,000 in December. Within the industry, job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+38,000) and hospitals (+7,000). Health care added 346,000 jobs in 2018, more than the gain of 284,000 jobs in 2017.
In December, employment in food services and drinking places increased by 41,000. Over the year, the industry added 235,000 jobs, similar to the increase in 2017 (+261,000).
Construction employment rose by 38,000 in December, with job gains in heavy and civil engineering construction (+16,000) and nonresidential specialty trade construction (+16,000). The construction industry added 280,000 jobs in 2018, compared with an
increase of 250,000 in 2017.
Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in December. Most of the gain occurred in the durable goods component (+19,000), with job growth in fabricated metal products (+7,000) and in computer and electronic products (+4,000). Employment in the nondurable goods component also increased over the month (+13,000). Manufacturing employment increased by 284,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the gain in durable goods industries. Manufacturing had added 207,000 jobs in 2017.
In December, employment in retail trade rose by 24,000. Job growth occurred in general merchandise stores (+15,000) and automobile dealers (+6,000). These gains were partially offset by a job loss in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000). Retail trade employment increased by 92,000 in 2018, after little net change in 2017 (-29,000).
Over the month, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+43,000). The industry added 583,000 jobs in 2018, outpacing the 458,000 jobs added in 2017.
♦ In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 11 cents to $27.48. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 84 cents, or ¹3.2 percent.
¹Remember, inflation is currently estimated at 1.6% to 2% (depending on sector). Lower tax rates, higher wages, low inflation combined with lower gas prices means extra money in workers pockets; quite a bit of extra money actually. This helps explain the more than six percent increase in 2018 holiday spending. Almost every economic benefit is central to Main Street USA (blue and white collar).
♦ The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up from +155,000 to +176,000 (increase of 21,000; the change for October was revised up from +237,000 to +274,000 (increase of 37,000). With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 58,000 more than previously reported.
After revisions, job gains have averaged 254,000 per month over the last 3 months. (BLS Links)
The talking heads are stunned – watch:
In the realm of everything geopolitical in consequence, a recent article from an interview with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro highlights the globalists’ worst nightmare. And the comments from the WTO reflects the global influence of President Donald J Trump.
Before getting to two key points, rather stunningly delicious points, it’s worth remembering that Brazil is the “B” in the ‘BRICS alliance’. Before U.S. President Donald Trump took center stage in the world of international influence, the former governments of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) had formed a coalition. Each nation represented an enlarged -and growing- regional trade/economic influence.
Shortly after taking office; and with hindsight – prior to the China confrontation; President Trump began a systematic process of challenging various economic influencers. This is the origin of the Trump Doctrine .
By expanding U.S. energy development, strategically engaging with OPEC (Gulf Cooperation Council) States, and simultaneously engaging with Baltic States at the Three Seas Summit in Warsaw Poland, President Trump established the groundwork for downward pressure on oil prices. This comprehensive and geopolitical energy strategy diminished the ability of Russia to maintain a consistent external financial influence.
Simultaneously, President Trump reset the framework for U.S. relations with India; and, while few were paying attention to the side-bar benefit of Nikki Haley, President Trump engaged with Prime Minister Modi in bilateral discussions of enhanced economic partnership. [See: India Invests $500 Billion in two U.S. Steel Operations]
In addition to India providing strategic benefit for trade market systems and access; an enhanced relationship with India also provides an economic foil against China. [Remember, Chinese President Xi is allied with, and heavily invested in, Pakistan. India’s Prime Minister Modi is allied with, and heavily invested in, Afghanistan.]
♦ Big Picture – With President Trump focused on Main Street USA, the policies to support economic nationalism (Main Street) run in opposition to the multinational interests of global financial elite (Wall Street). The constructs of the World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are necessarily weakened by the rise of President Trump and economic nationalism writ large.
At the same time as President Trump unapologetically confronts these multinational financial institutions, the people of Poland, Hungary, Italy and now Brazil; having felt no benefit from left-wing global policy (economics and immigration); embraced the more visible benefit of a nationalist economic policies and reaffirmed sovereignty.
Back to the BRICS… What we now see is two central regional components of the BRICS alliance, India and now Brazil, allied in economic ideology with President Trump.
In essence: Russia is bleeding financially (oil revenue dependent). China is being weakened during the U.S. -vs- China trade confrontation. And India along with Brazil are joining with the U.S. This fractures the BRICS alliance. [Hell, it just about destroys it.]
That’s the background.
Now, lets take a look at the article from Brazil we cited in the beginning:
France24 – Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that he would be open to the possibility of the United States operating a military base on his country’s soil, a move that would form a sharp shift in direction for Brazilian foreign policy.
Bolsonaro, who took power on Tuesday, said that Russia’s support of President Nicolas Maduro‘s “dictatorship” in neighboring Venezuela had significantly ramped up tensions in the region and was a worrying development.
Asked by the SBT TV network in an interview taped on Thursday if that meant he would allow U.S. military presence in Brazil, Bolsonaro responded that he would certainly be willing to negotiate that possibility.
“Depending on what happens in the world, who knows if we would not need to discuss that question in the future,” Bolsonaro said. He emphasized that what Brazil seeks is to have “supremacy here in South America.”
But wait, here’s the even bigger part of the story:
[…] Separately, Bolsonaro met with the head of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, who said the government’s sharp rebukes of globalism were shared by many other countries and that the trade body was making changes.
On Wednesday, Brazil’s new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said that under his watch the country would fight for change at multilateral institutions like the WTO.
Araujo’s words were not a threat, Azevedo said.
“To the contrary, I think it was very propitious and compatible with what is happening,” he said after meeting Bolsonaro. “The World Trade Organization itself is beginning the process of reforms.” (link)
Mr. Robert Azevedo, the head of the World Trade Organization, is now acquiescing to President Donald J Trump’s position that the era of multilateral, multinational, financial and corporate trade exploitation, ie. “globalism“, is over.
The WTO has agreed to reform in order to survive? …And the WTO is admitting this to nationalist political leaders after their successful elections?….
Oh dear. U.S. President Donald J Trump just posted a graphic on his Instagram accountthat will likely make his political opposition go bananas. Epic:
From all appearances President Trump is not backing down from his demand for border security that includes a border wall physical barrier. And while Democrats thought they had him painted into a zero-sum corner, well, there’s every indication the White House is prepared to let the partial government shutdown go on for months if needed.
This position now puts all the pressure on Nancy Pelosi.
It looks like President Trump tasked Chairman Kevin Hassett, of the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), to run the numbers on how the prolonged government shut-down might have an impact on the economy.
Hassett’s rough estimate, calculated from the withdrawal of income from the furloughed federal employees, is around 1/10th of one percent per pay cycle (every two weeks) in GDP impact. Little to no actual economic effect.
Simultaneously, all of the economic adversaries, like China, are watching this and realizing that President Trump doesn’t bluff. As they are engaged with representatives from the U.S. delegations they carry the concern that President Trump’s team is not afraid to embrace any political confrontation in their determination to achieve victory.
Methinks this won’t work out the way the Democrats originally had planned…
Tomorrow, Friday January 4th, the U.S. Labor Department will release the December jobs report which will offer an in-depth look at the labor market including: job additions, the unemployment rate, the labor participation rate and actual wage growth.
In the interim, the ADP National Employment Report provides a monthly snapshot of U.S. nonfarm private sector employment based on actual transactional payroll data. Their review of national payroll ledgers shows a stunning; 271,000 jobs added in December.
FOX Business – […] “We wrapped up 2018 with another month of significant growth in the labor market,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Although there were increases in most sectors, the busy holiday season greatly impacted both trade and leisure and hospitality. Small businesses also experienced their strongest month of job growth all year.”
The better-than-expected number can be attributed to good weather last month and strong holiday hiring, despite a tumultuous month for the markets, according to Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi.
“Businesses continue to add aggressively to their payrolls despite the stock market slump and the trade war,” he said in a statement. “Favorable December weather also helped lift the job market. At the current pace of job growth, low unemployment will get even lower.” (more)
Also released today was an interesting snippet from inside the Bureau of Labor Statisticsreview of metropolitan unemployment regions:
…In November, Ames, IA, had the lowest unemployment rate, 1.2 percent.
El Centro, CA, and Yuma, AZ, had the highest unemployment rates, 18.1 percent and 14.9 percent,respectively…. (link)
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivers a press briefing on the day the new 116th congressional session begins. There is somewhat of a scramble as the press briefing was only recently announced. Anticipated start time around 4:30pm EST.
UPDATE: SURPRISE !!! President Trump delivered the briefing:
Yesterday we noted how subtle (and not so subtle) messages have been coming out from Beijing China admitting how the party of Chairman Xi underestimated the cunning fortitude of U.S. President Donald Trump. Today, a stunning visual is broadcast from inside North Korea which follows the same general outlook.
Remember, nuance and subtle optics are very significant in Eastern projections of political brand messaging. When they present a nationally broadcast message every grain of sand on the optical beach has been thought out, considered, staged and carefully placed by hand with great forethought toward the intended audience. The optics are everything. [That’s also the reason why POTUS Trump used a video presentation (specifically for Kim) at the end of the Singapore summit.]
In an unprecedented international broadcast, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un delivers a message not just to his people, but more specifically to the international community. The backdrop, the venue for the message as broadcast, reflects a stunning shift for the country of North Korea. Notice the background message is ‘economic‘: Business attire; business office etc. The guiding hand of Chairman Xi is visible, and the transmission is full of messages highlighting the influence of the Trump Doctrine.
It is critical to remember that Chairman Xi (Beijing China), is still the leading influence agent over Chairman Kim (DPRK). That nuanced/subtle (hostage/captive) influence message is also inherent in the background of this broadcast. As the U.S. -vs- China confrontation continues, this video message provides additional support that Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping is no longer underestimating the cunning of POTUS Trump.
Discussions of these geopolitical messages need to be entirely separated from the propaganda explanations provided by U.S. media. U.S. corporate media, advocates for extreme globalism, spin everything into a criticism of President Trump; however, the message here from Kim Jong-un is far more consequential.
Chairman Kim is talking about security issues, denuclearization, weapons, military exercises etc. However, the bigger background message is centered specifically on the economics. Broadly speaking President Trump’s doctrine is: the strategically applied use of economic influence to achieve national security objectives.
That Trump Doctrine, a radical shift in the deployment of U.S. geopolitical influence, is the entire reason why Chairman Kim Jong-un is engaging this speech; in this venue; in this business manner; for this domestic and international broadcast.
Remember also, the clock is ticking…. the deadline for U.S. and China trade negotiations is March 1st, OR ELSE, a massive round of devastating (for China) tariffs kicks in and almost everyone agrees the Chinese economy cannot sustain itself under that pressure. So Chairman Xi needs to use his hostage, Chairman Kim, in this negotiation period.
[*Important point*: South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the primary point of contact for Chairman Kim, is ideologically the Asian political equivalent of Barack Obama. So that interpersonal dynamic also overlays the issues with a unified Korean peninsula.]
The full video as originally broadcast from North Korea is even more insightful.
The influence of the Trump Doctrine is clearly on display.
Things are really going at a rapid pace now….
“Peace is the prize” ~ President Donald Trump
The nature of the Trump foreign policy doctrine, as it has become visible, is to hold manipulative influence agents accountable for regional impact(s); and simultaneously work to stop any corrupted influence from oppressing free expression of national values held by the subservient, dis-empowered, people within the nation being influenced.
There have been clear examples of this doctrine at work. When President Trump first visited the Middle-East he confronted the international audience with a message about dealing with extremist influence agents. President Trump simply said: “drive them out.”
Toward that end, as Qatar was identified as a financier of extremist ideology, President Trump placed the goal of confrontation upon the Gulf Cooperation Council, not the U.S.
The U.S. role was clearly outlined as supporting the confrontation. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates needed to confront the toxic regional influence; the U.S. would support their objective. That’s what happened.
Another example: To confront the extremism creating the turmoil in Afghanistan, President Trump placed the burden of bringing the Taliban to the table of governance upon primary influence agent Pakistan. Here again, with U.S. support. Pakistan is the leading influence agent over the Taliban in Afghanistan; the Trump administration correctly established the responsibility and gives clear expectations for U.S. support.
If Pakistan doesn’t change their influence objective toward a more constructive alignment with a nationally representative Afghanistan government, it is Pakistan who will be held accountable. Again, the correct and effective appropriation of responsibility upon the influence agent who can initiate the solution, Pakistan.
The process of accurate regional assignment of influence comes with disconcerting sunlight. Often these influences are not discussed openly. However, for President Trump the lack of honesty is only a crutch to continue enabling poor actors. This is a consistent theme throughout all of President Trump’s foreign policy engagements.
The European Union is a collective co-dependent enabler to the corrupt influences of Iran. Therefore the assignment of responsibility to change the status is placed upon the EU.
The U.S. will fully support the EU effort, but as seen in the withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the U.S. will not enable growth of toxic behavior. The U.S. stands with the people of Iran, but the U.S. will not support the enabling of Iranian oppression, terrorism and/or dangerous military expansion that will ultimately destabilize the region. Trump holds the EU accountable for influencing change. Again, we see the Trump Doctrine at work.
Perhaps the most obvious application of the Trump Doctrine is found in how the U.S. administration approached the challenging behavior of North Korea. Rather than continuing a decades-long policy of ignoring the influence of China, President Trump directly assigned primary responsibility for a reset to Beijing.
China held, and holds, all influence upon North Korea and has long-treated the DPRK as a proxy province to do the bidding of Beijing’s communist old guard. By directly confronting the influence agent, and admitting openly for the world to see (albeit with jaw-dropping tactical sanction diplomacy) President Trump positioned the U.S. to support a peace objective on the entire Korean peninsula and simultaneously forced China to openly display their closely-guarded influence.
No longer is it outlandish to think of North Korea joining with the rest of the world in achieving a better quality of life for its people.
Not only is President Trump openly sharing a willingness to engage in a new and dynamic future for North Korea, but his approach is removing the toxic influences that have held down the possibility for generations. By leveraging China (through economics) to stop manipulating North Korea, President Trump is opening up a door of possibilities for the North Korean people. This is what I mean when I say Trump is providing North Korea with an opportunity to create an authentic version of itself.
What ultimately comes from the opportunity President Trump has constructed is entirely unknown. However, the opportunity itself is stunning progress creating a reasonable pathway to prosperity for the North Korean people. Chairman Kim Jong-un has the opportunity to be the most trans-formative leader within Asia in generations; but it is still only an ‘opportunity’.
Whether Kim Jong-un can embrace openness, free markets and prosperity is yet to be seen. Freedom is a precariously scary endeavor because there’s always a danger loosening the grip on control can lead to fear, which can lead to even tighter more authoritarian, control. (continue reading)
President Jair Bolsonaro and First-Lady of Brazil Michelle Bolsonaro both delivered speeches during the inauguration ceremony, with the first lady also using sign language (her father is deaf).
President Bolsonaro now takes the reins of Latin America’s largest and most populous nation after decades of corruption carried out by Brazil’s far-left politicians. Many will remember a failed assassination attempt on candidate Bolsonaro by opposition from the socialist workers party only a few weeks before the election. Bolsonaro has vowed to end business-as-usual governing which led to rampant corruption.
Many people within the far-left ridiculed Bolsonaro while he was a congressman and stated his Brazil-First outlook was too nationalistic amid a world now driven by global influence. The marginalization by those voices failed and now President Bolsonaro will likely chart a different course. (Sound familiar?)
There are many similarities in national outlook between U.S. President Donald Trump and President Bolsonaro especially regarding economics and trade. Additionally, following a similar decision by President Trump, Brazil will now move their Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.
Overall the U.S. Brazil relationship could make for an interesting alignment in South/Latin America; this relationship will become particularly important around the geopolitical strategy and influence of China in the region.
The 63-year-old President campaigned heavily on an anti-corruption, Brazil-first, nationalist agenda and promised to support gun ownership rights for law-abiding people within Brazil. Both Trump and Bolsonaro are opposed by the same groups.