Category Archives: China

Your Humble Blogger Discusses the Pending Trade Deals and JP Morgan on Le Show!

I really enjoy speaking with Harry Shearer, both for his engaging manner and his thorough preparation. I also hope you’ll see fit to circulate this interview, since the more attention we can bring to this plan to legalize corporate pillage, the better.

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Wolf Richter: NSA Revelations Kill IBM Hardware Sales In China

Yves here. When Edward Snowden began revealing the true scope of the surveillance state and the degree to which major American tech and communications companies were partners, Ed Harrison almost immediately recognized how damaging the news was to the cloud computing model. Yours truly, among others, wondered how quickly some countries would try to regain control of their Internet architecture, at least to keep the NSA from snooping on strictly domestic communications. That trend would also favor non-US service and equipment providers. For instance, a book I’m reading now, Spies for Hire by Tim Shorrock, mentions in passing that the NSA wanted to restrict US companies developing stronger forms of encryption because if they got too good, the NSA would not be able to crack it either. The Americans were very unhappy, and argued that that restriction would enable Europeans and the Japanese to take the lead in that field. The solution? The NSA let our domestic players go ahead as long as they got secret decryption keys. Mind you, this tidbit was public knowledge before the Snowden exposes, but remember also that aside from websites that needed encryption to allow for Internet commerce, most people didn’t give encryption a passing thought. These sort of security/privacy issues have gone mainstream, to the detriment of some US players.

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Will China’s Gambit to Undermine the Trans-Pacific Partnership Succeed?

While eyes in the US have remained focused on the budget cliffhanger in Washington, in Bali, two sets of meetings were taking place. The first was the latest set of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. The US, led by John Kerry (Obama was supposed to make an appearance but the budget drama kept him away) met with representatives of the 12 nations it is pressing to agree to this deliberately mis-branded “trade deal”. The reason the label is misleading is that trade is already substantially liberalized; the real point of the TPP and its cousin, the pending EU-US trade agreement, is to weaken the power of nations to regulate, which will allow multinationals to lead a race to the bottom on product and environmental safety.

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South Africans Plan to Protest Obama’s Crimes Against Africa During Presidential Visit

An Obama tour of Africa is likely to provide a marker of he is perceived in the rest of the world, although any negative reports are unlikely to get much play in our lapdog media. But since Obama was shunned in the recent G-8 conference, it’s going to be interesting to see how his African hosts muster up the appearance of enthusiasm during his visit.

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Hong Kong to US on #Snowden: A4 Paper, Please. And Do Remember to Spellcheck!

By MsExpat, a journalist and essayist who lives in New York and Hong Kong, and Fellow of The Mighty Corrente Building. Originally published at Corrente.

Anyone who has ever had any dealings with Hong Kong’s scrupulous bureaucracy can’t help but chuckle at today’s South China Morning Post article detailing the problems that Hong Kong’s government had with the United States’ request to detain Edward Snowden. Since the SCMP is behind a paywall here are the juicy parts:

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The BIS Loses Its Mind, Advocates Kicking Citizens and the Bond Markets Even Harder

If anyone doubted that Ben Benanke’s “we’re convinced the economy is getting better, so take your lumps” press conference after the FOMC statement last week was awfully reminiscent of 1937, the newly-released Bank of International Settlements annual report is tantamount to a kick to the groin. And to change metaphors, if the Fed’s sudden hawkish posture is playing Russian roulette with the real economy, the BIS just voted loudly for putting a couple more bullets in the cylinder.

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Pepe Escobar: Why American Worries about “Containing China” Are Off the Mark

Yves here. As China has become more powerful economically, and is building up its navy (a substantial navy is a precondition of being a true superpower), some pundits have taken to anticipating a world where US cedes dominance to China over a protracted and likely unstable transition period, using the decline of the British Empire and the rise of American influence as a guide.

That’s unlikely to be the right frame of reference.

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Chinese Interbank Markets Having a Heart Attack, Repo and Shibor Skyrocket, Could Trigger Bigger Unraveling

The Chinese central bank is playing very high stakes poker. China’s interbank markets have been highly stressed for the last two days. An effort by the central bank to tighten in order to put a crimp on shadow banking activities looks to be spiraling out of control as one-week repo rates hit nearly 8.3% up 144 basis points in a day, and one-week Shibor has risen from its June 5 level of 4.8% to just shy of 8.1% today.

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Extreme Energy, Extreme Implications: Interview with Michael Klare

If oil and gas is a profoundly dynamic phenomenon, then so too must be environmental risk and conflicts over natural resources—and we are not getting the full picture from the mainstream media, according to Michael T. Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, TomDispatch blogger, and author of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (Metropolitan Books, 2008). As risk multiply, conventional sources evaporate and we are left with “extreme” energy, renewables may be the only way to avoid war and disaster.

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