Under Trump, Made in America Is Losing Out to Russian Steel – Trending Stuff

Four days after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed a handful of executive memos to advance the Keystone XL pipeline and revive the U.S. steel industry. He invited builder TransCanada Corp. to reapply for a permit denied by Barack Obama and ordered up fast-track rules forcing not only Keystone but also all new U.S. pipelines to be made from American steel. “From now on, we’re going to be making pipeline in the United States,” he said.

Made-in-America Keystone was a stunt. Most of its pipes had already been manufactured, a fact the White House grudgingly admitted when it exempted the project from any new Buy American rules a few months later. While some of Keystone’s pipes were made in the U.S., at least a quarter of them came from a Russian steel company whose biggest shareholder is an oligarch and Trump family friend. The company, Evraz North America, supplied Keystone from its steel plants in Canada and for years has lobbied in Washington against Trump-style protectionism.

Ten months after his Keystone event, Trump has yet to deliver on his pledge to boost the fortunes of American steel. Two self-imposed deadlines for trade action, one in June and one in July, have come and gone. Meanwhile, the prospect of tariffs has led to a surge of cheap foreign steel into the U.S., with imports rising 24 percent in 2017, the fastest increase in years.

As federal and congressional investigators probe Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Evraz North America shows that Russians are also involved in pressing against one of Trump’s main campaign promises. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Evraz Plc, Russia’s second-largest steelmaker. It has two factories in the U.S., in Colorado and Oregon, and four in western Canada, where it produces steel and large-diameter steel pipe. The company’s top shareholder is Roman Abramovich, a billionaire who owns 31 percent of Evraz’s stock. In 2005 he was the first oligarch allowed to sell his oil company to the state, taking in $13 billion in a deal approved by Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich’s ties to the Trumps stem from a decade-long friendship between Ivanka Trump and Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova, from whom he announced a separation in August. Jared Kushner and his brother, Joshua, invested in Zhukova’s art collection business. The Russian couple hosted Ivanka and Jared in Russia in 2014, when they shared a table at a fundraiser for Moscow’s Jewish museum. Zhukova went to the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament with Ivanka and attended Trump’s inauguration as Ivanka’s guest.

From left, Ivanka Trump and Dasha Zhukova attend the U.S. Open men’s singles final on Sept. 11, 2016, in Queens, N.Y.

Photographer: Elsa/Getty Images

Evraz won its share of the Keystone XL business in 2009 and hired a Washington lobbyist named John Stinson the next year, according to disclosures collected by Bloomberg Government and Open Secrets, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics. Over the next seven years, Stinson lobbied the House, Senate, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, earning $2.2 million for representing Evraz’s interests. He fought Buy American language in federal spending bills for transportation, water infrastructure, and defense, as well as in a bill specifically about Keystone in 2015—the same year Obama denied its cross-border permit.

According to federal disclosures, Evraz paid Stinson $100,000 in the first half of 2017 to persuade Congress and the Commerce Department to exclude its Canadian products from Trump’s steel import crackdown. Stinson declined to comment. Christian Messmacher, the company’s vice president for development, says its lobbying efforts are typical for the industry. “We, like all other North American companies, work to provide public officials with our insights on issues that affect us and our ability to provide good North American jobs,” he says.

In late May, Evraz won a contract with liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy Inc. to supply the steel pipe for a 200-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. The contract, worth an estimated $100 million, was expected to go to a Florida-based company, Berg Steel Pipe Corp., according to the American Line Pipe Producers Association. The association put out a press release in June arguing that Evraz was undercutting U.S. companies. It asked the Trump administration to act quickly on new rules and stop “Russian-owned Evraz” from “aggressively” seeking U.S. contracts ahead of any new tariffs or quotas on imports.

The Cheniere contract shows how hard it is to differentiate between foreign and U.S.-made steel. While losing out to Evraz cost Berg 216 jobs, or 42 percent of its workforce, company Vice President Jonathan Kirkland told the Mobile, Ala., in June, Berg makes pipelines using steel from Germany and France. U.S. steel supplies aren’t reliable enough, Chief Executive Ingo Riemer told the U.S. International Trade Commission last year.

In September, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the administration will defer a decision to impose tariffs on foreign steel so it can focus on tax reform. The industry is getting impatient. Steel executives have been meeting with administration officials. More than 60 steelworkers met with members of Congress on Sept. 21 to tell them of their growing frustration with the White House’s delays. “The president makes his policy decisions based on what is best for the American people,” says White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters. “Moreover, to place unrelated information about his daughter’s social engagement with the ex-wife of one of a company’s shareholders in a story about actual policy is incredibly irresponsible and misleading.”

Given the promises Trump made in the campaign, there may be political blowback if he doesn’t deliver. Although the United Steelworkers union endorsed Hillary Clinton, many of its members voted for Trump, helping him to narrow victories in states across the Midwest. “Those workers absolutely won’t forget if they are empty promises,” says Dan Simmons, president of Steelworkers Local 1899 in Granite City, Ill. “Like Elvis says, we want a little less talk and a little more action.”

BOTTOM LINE – Foreign steel imports into the U.S. are up 24 percent in 2017. As the industry grows angry at Trump’s lack of trade action, Russia’s Evraz continues winning pipeline contracts.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Yes, Donald Trump really did look into the sky during the solar eclipse – Trending Stuff

(CNN)There’s literally only 1 rule with eclipses: Don’t examine the sun during them.

And, again:

And, because three times is a charm:

That’s Donald John Trump on the White House South Portico, seemingly looking directly into the sun. At the peak of this solar eclipse. Without on any kind of protective eyewear.

This, from the White House pool report of this moment filed by the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs is, um, amazing: “At approximately 2:39, the President initially gesticulated to the crowd below and pointed at the sky. As he did so, one of the White House aides standing beneath the Blue Room Balcony shouted ‘do not look.’”

Trump did, eventually, wear protective eyewear — as did first lady Melania Trump.

What Their son Barron got in on the action too:

Heck, even “beleaguered” Attorney General Jeff Sessions got on the protective eyewear bandwagon (alongside Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross)!

Just if Trump is still President when the upcoming solar eclipse comes in 2024 — it could happen! — here. Titled “Can you really go blind staring at a solar eclipse? ,” CNN’s Ashley Strickland writes:

“The retina may translate light into an electrical impulse that the brain understands, but one thing it can’t translate to your brain is pain. So even if you’re excited about the eclipse and think one brief glimpse at the sun before it completely hides behind the moon is worth it — it’s not. There’s no internal trigger that is going to let you know that you’ve looked at the sun for too long. Any amount of looking at it is too long.

Even the smallest amount of exposure can cause blurry vision or temporary blindness. The problem is, you won’t know whether it’s temporary.”

Remember, Mr. President: “Any amount of looking is too long.”

CORRECTION: This story was updated to properly identify where the President was standing.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Trump to order increased scrutiny of H-1B visa program

President Trump will take a trip to Wisconsin Tuesday, where he will sign an order targeted at altering a visa program that generates extremely knowledgeable employees from abroad.

The order, called “Buy American, Hire American,” would direct the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor and State to propose brand-new guidelines to avoid migration scams and abuse. Those departments would likewise be asked to use modifications so that H-1B visas are granted to the “most-skilled or highest-paid candidates.”

The White House stated the H-1B program is presently damaging American employees by generating more affordable labor and stated some tech business are utilizing it to employ great deals of employees and own down earnings.

Administration authorities stated the order likewise looks for to reinforce requirements that American-made items be utilized in particular federal building jobs, along with in numerous federal transport grant-funded jobs. The authorities stated the commerce secretary will examine ways to close loopholes in implementing the existing guidelines and offer suggestions to the president.

The order particularly asks the secretary to evaluate waivers of these guidelines that exist in free-trade contracts. The administration stated that if the waivers are not benefiting the United States they will be “renegotiated or withdrawed.”

During his project, Trump stated eventuallies he supported high-skilled visas, then came out versus them. At one dispute, he required completely ending the program, stating: “It’s extremely bad for our employees and it’s unjust for our employees. And we ought to end it.”

The authorities stated the modifications might be legal or administrative and might consist of greater costs for the visas, altering the wage scale for the program or other efforts.

About 85,000 H-1B visas are dispersed yearly by lotto. Lots of go to innovation business, which argue that the United States has a scarcity of competent innovation employees.

But critics state the program has actually been pirated by staffing business that utilize the visas to import immigrants– typically from India– who will work for less than Americans. The staffing business then offer their services to business customers who utilize them to contract out tech work.

Employers from Walt Disney World to the University of California in San Francisco have actually laid off their tech staff members and changed them with H-1B visa holders. Contributing to the indignity: The U.S. employees are often asked to train their replacements to receive severance plans.

On the prepared order by Trump, Ronil Hira, a teacher in public law at Howard University and a critic of the H-1B program, informed the Associated Press, “It’s much better than absolutely nothing.” He included, “It’s not as aggressive as it requires to be.”

The tech market has actually argued that the H-1B program is required due to the fact that it motivates trainees to remain in the United States after getting degrees in modern specializeds– and they cannot constantly discover adequate American employees with the abilities they require.

Congress is thinking about numerous costs to upgrade the visa program. One, presented by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would need business looking for H-1B visas to very first make a good-faith effort to employ Americans, a requirement numerous business can evade under the present system; provide the Labor Department more power to examine and sanction H-1B abuses; and offer “the very best and brightest” foreign trainees studying in the United States top priority in getting H-1B visas.

Trump will sign the order at the Kenosha head office of tool maker Snap-on Inc. His see comes as the president deals with an approval ranking of simply 41 percent in Wisconsin, a state he hardly won in November. The see likewise would take him to the congressional district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will not be signing up with the president since he’s on a bipartisan congressional journey checking out NATO nations.

Trump has actually taken a trip to promote his program less than his current predecessors. White House spokesperson Sean Spicer stated Trump wished to check out “a business that develops American-made tools with American employees.”

Trump brought Wisconsin in November by almost 23,000 votes– less than 1 portion point– making him the very first Republican to win the state given that 1984. He campaigned on the guarantee of returning production tasks that have actually been lost in Upper Midwest states.

Founded in Wisconsin in 1920, Snap-on makes hand and power tools, diagnostics software application, info and management systems, and store devices for usage in a range of markets, consisting of farming, the military and air travel. It has 8 producing websites in North America, consisting of one in Milwaukee. The business utilizes about 11,000 individuals worldwide.

The Associated Press added to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/18/trump-to-order-increased-scrutiny-h-1b-visa-program.html

What’s on the agenda for Tuesday in Washington

Washington (CNN)The very first Tuesday of the brand-new administration is set to have lots of verification hearings on Capitol Hill.

Here’s exactly what’s going on in Washington on Tuesday:

Energy committee vote on interior and energy secretaries delayed

      Previously, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources was arranged to fulfill at 9:30 a.m. to vote on the elections of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke for interior secretary and previous Texas Gov. Rick Perry for energy secretary.
      But the committee provided a declaration late Monday holding off the votes “till more notification.”

      At his hearing recently, Zinke stated environment modification is not a “scam” which “male has actually had an impact,” a declaration that might assist calm Democrats who are worried about Trump’s declaration from December when he stated “no one truly understands” if environment modification is genuine.
      During his hearing recently, Perry stated he is sorry for formerly stating he would eliminate the Energy Department, which he is chosen to lead. Democratic assistants on the committee have actually stated that they are not worried about Perry’s absence of clinical experience, keeping in mind that the function of energy secretary has actually not constantly gone to a researcher.

      Finance committee hearing for health and human services secretary

      Georgia Rep. Tom Price has currently had his verification hearing with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Now, he affirms prior to the Senate Finance Committee at 10 a.m. The congressman and orthopedic cosmetic surgeon has actually been a considerable critic of the Affordable Care Act , and has actually worked to take apart the law in the past. Cost is now likewise under examination after CNN reported on a doubtful stock purchase.

      Judiciary committee vote on attorney general of the United States

      Also at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee will fulfill to vote on whether to validate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general of the United States. Sessions sat prior to the committee last Tuesday where he drew a variety of Democratic challengers due to his record. However, Republicans hold a bulk in the Senate and the election is anticipated to pass.

      Commerce Committee vote on commerce and transport secretaries

      Another 10 a.m. conference will be for the Senate Commerce Committee to vote on the elections of Elaine Chao for transport secretary and Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary.
      Both had their hearings prior to the committee recently and while both are anticipated to pass , some are worried about Ross’s organisation interests.

      Budget Committee hearing for OMB head

      South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney is set to affirm prior to the Senate Budget Committee at 10:30 a.m. after being chosen by President Donald Trump to head the Office of Management and Budget. Recently, it was exposed that Mulvaney did not pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a home staff member.
      Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated this was “disqualifying” for Mulvaney to function as the White House spending plan director.
      A source from Trump’s shift group informed CNN that Mulvaney, who at the time was the daddy of newborn triplets, employed a “caretaker” and didn’t recognize he had to pay taxes on her earnings. The assistant decreased to state where the worker was from.

      Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee hearing

      Also at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee will satisfy for their hearing on Linda McMahon, who Trump chose to lead the Small Business Administration.
      McMahon, the previous CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, provided millions to Trump to support his governmental project, consisting of a $1 million contribution right before the election.

      Foreign Relations committee vote on UN Ambassador

      At midday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on the election of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s option for UN ambassador.
      During her verification hearing recently , Committee Chair Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker stated that Haley is anticipated to be validated “extremely.” The committee questioned Haley about her absence of handling foreign affairs, however commented her time as guv of South Carolina has actually made her all set for this position.

      Closed Senate Intelligence committee hearing

      A closed-door Senate Intelligence Committee hearing will occur at 2:30 p.m.

      House vote on taxpayer-funded abortions

      On Tuesday, your house will vote on H.R. costs “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.”
      The costs would prohibit federal financing of abortions , also federal financing for health advantages prepares that cover abortions. It would likewise prohibit federal centers and federal workers from supplying abortions.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/23/politics/tuesday-in-washington-schedule/index.html

    Categories CNN

    Trump taps NY Jets’ owner as UK ambassador

    (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump stated Thursday he has actually chosen New York Jets’ owner Woody Johnson, among the leading fundraising events of his governmental project, to function as United States ambassador to the United Kingdom.

    Trump revealed throughout a luncheon with advocates in Washington, DC, that Johnson is “going to St. James,” an evident referral to the Court of St. James’s. The United States ambassador to the UK is understood officially as the ambassador to the Court of St. James.
    “Congratulations,” Trump informed Johnson as he explained noteworthy members of the audience.

      Navarro

      MUST WATCH

      Trump’s frequently assured throughout the project that he would owe absolutely nothing to nobody, however he has actually chosen a variety of significant donors for essential positions.
      Trump often– and wrongly– declared throughout his basic election project that he was self-funding his run for president. Trump did invest almost $66 countless his own cash, however the majority of the financing for his basic election effort originated from outdoors donors.
      Among the huge GOP donors and those who assisted Trump financing project who are up for crucial posts:
      -Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice to lead the Treasury Department who was dealing with a Senate verification hearing Thursday, worked as Trump’s project financing chairman.
      -Betsy DeVos, who was tapped for Education Secretary, did not contribute to the Trump project, however is a mega-donor to the Republican Party.
      -Wilbur Ross, the billionaire financier who contributed the optimum contribution to Trump’s joint fundraising committee, was tapped for Commerce Secretary.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/19/politics/woody-johnson-uk-ambassador/index.html

      Categories CNN

      China may tweak its plan to dominate tech, but it won’t back down – Trending Stuff

      China may tweak its plan to dominate tech, but it won’t back down – Trending Stuff

      Hong Kong (CNN Business)China’s efforts to become a global powerhouse in the technology of the future are under attack. But don’t expect it to beat a retreat.

      Under pressure from US tariffs on exports and a deepening economic slowdown, China’s leaders are looking for ways to avoid further confrontation without putting those longer-term strategic goals at risk.
      The Chinese government has moved to slash its tariffs on American-made cars, started buying more soybeans from US farmers again and shown signs its willing to rethink “Made in China 2025.”

      The steps follow a truce in the trade war agreed by President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping over dinner earlier this month. They’ve raised hopes of a deal of some kind that could include significant changes to allow a greater role for foreign companies in China’s economy. Trade experts are skeptical.

      “Beijing is not going to give up its plans for becoming a dominant industrial and technological power simply to please Washington,” said Kristen Hopewell, a senior lecturer in international political economy at the University of Edinburgh. “Any changes are likely to be superficial, not substantive.”

      ‘Made in China 2025’

      In 2015, China announced a 10-year plan to transform its vast manufacturing sector by pushing it into high-tech industries including electric cars, aerospace and advanced medical devices.

      The Communist Party views the strategy as essential to ensuring China keeps developing. But the plan’s aggressive goals to dominate supply chains for entire industries have fueled concerns among foreign businesses, who fear losing out in favor of Chinese companies, and governments, who see a potential security threat.

      “These are things that if China dominates the world, it’s bad for America,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in March. His report alleging unfair Chinese practices, which laid the foundation for Trump’s trade war, mentioned or cited “Made in China 2025” a total of 116 times by one count.

      Will it change?

      Since “Made in China 2025” became a focal point in the trade war, the Chinese government has started playing it down.

      A list of priorities that Beijing issued to local governments last week made no mention of “Made in China 2025,” even though it was included in the previous version two years ago. And The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese officials are drafting a replacement plan that’s more open to foreign companies and could be rolled out early next year.

      “What has been seen as an exclusionary policy can now become a positive vehicle for China’s future development,” said Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China.

      Experts who have studied China’s role in global trade are less optimistic, saying change is likely to be cosmetic.

      “Heavy subsidies and other forms of state intervention are at the core of China’s development strategy,” said Hopewell. “China is trying to manage the external optics of its economic policies, but it is highly unlikely to undertake the kind of deep, structural reforms towards a more market-based economy that the US is seeking.”

      Trade war tactics

      Potential changes to “Made in China 2025,” along with Beijing’s placatory moves following the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina, are being widely interpreted as attempts to make progress toward defusing the trade war.

      Xi has some political cover to make changes. Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of the start of China’s “Reform and Opening” that launched the country’s rapid leap from a largely rural economy into an industrial juggernaut.

      But any measures Xi might announce are expected to be a continuation of the gradual changes it has been introducing in recent years to open more of its economy to the world.

      “China is accelerating a series of economic reforms, many of which it would have enacted eventually anyway, and attempting to package it as a major concession to US demands,” said Mark Wu, an international trade professor at Harvard Law School.

      Trump administration officials are still taking a wary approach to what China’s offering.

      Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week that Beijing has been “playing down” the “Made in China” plan since the United States and other countries began pushing back against it.

      “They haven’t been talking that much about it,” he said on CNBC. “That doesn’t mean they’ve dropped it.”

      The heavy hand of the state

      American business leaders say a revamp of “Made in China 2025” gives Beijing a chance to dial down the role of the state in its economy and give a freer rein to competition.

      Despite all the talk of reform, Chinese state-owned companies are playing an even bigger role in the economy under Xi. Industrial policies have pumped huge amounts of subsidies into sectors like electric vehicles.

      The business model of some Chinese companies “is just to receive subsidies without developing a viable product,” said William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “It’s terribly wasteful.”

      If Beijing opens up its 2025 plan and gives foreign firms an equal footing to domestic ones, “it will be a win-win for China and the rest of the world,” Zarit said.

      But he cautioned that Chinese officials have a track record of changing written rules to make the situation seem fairer but then using unwritten practices to disadvantage foreign companies.

      “As long as the Communist Party exerts control over the financial system, key resources, and the internet, the government can always tilt the playing field in favor of domestic firms in strategic technology sectors,” said Wu, who previously worked for the World Bank in China.

      The Huawei wild card

      The Trump administration added a new unpredictable element this month to its confrontation with China.

      The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, has provided more fuel for the view that the US government is trying to undermine China’s tech rise.

      Huawei’s products have also come under intensified scrutiny in Europe and Asia-Pacific, part of a reported push by the US government to clamp down on the company, which it views as a security threat.

      The US Justice Department is seeking to prosecute Meng, who was arrested in Canada, over allegations she helped the company get around American sanctions on Iran. Huawei says it’s unaware of any wrongdoing by Meng, the daughter of the company’s founder.

      “Meng’s detention emphasizes that even if Beijing and Washington do cut a deal to avert punitive tariff increases, the US has plenty of other non-tariff weapons it can deploy in its economic and technological campaign against China,” Tom Holland of research firm Gavekal wrote in a note to clients this month.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

      Categories CNN

      Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can’t be questioned in census suits, Supreme Court rules – Trending Stuff

      Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can’t be questioned in census suits, Supreme Court rules – Trending Stuff
      Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can’t be questioned in lawsuits challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Supreme Court ordered. (AP, File)

      The Supreme Court issued an order Monday night blocking questioning of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in connection with lawsuits challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

      A federal court in New York previously had ruled that questioning of Ross could proceed as part of suits by a dozen states and big cities. The plaintiffs claim the question will discourage immigrants from participating, diluting political representation and federal dollars for states that tend to vote Democratic.

      U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman had based his ruling requiring Ross to submit a deposition on concerns about Ross’ truthfulness in relating how the decision to add the citizenship question came about. The judge noted that Ross claimed in March, when the decision to add the citizenship question was announced, that he considered adding it after a request to do so last December from the Justice Department.

      “The record developed thus far, however, casts grave doubt on those claims,” the judge wrote in September.

      However, earlier this month, Justice Department lawyers filed a new document in the case in which Ross said he now remembers speaking with former senior White House adviser Steve Bannon in spring 2017 about adding the question. In the recent court filing, federal government lawyers said Ross recalled that Bannon called him in the spring of 2017 to ask if he would speak with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach about Kobach’s ideas about adding a citizenship question to the census.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

      Elon Musk Stumbles Into a Good Point – Trending Stuff

      Elon Musk Stumbles Into a Good Point – Trending Stuff

      Today’s Agenda

      Why the heck not?

      Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images North America

      Just Go Private Already, Tesla

      Tesla Inc. founder and CEO Elon Musk continued his war on conventional corporate governance by announcing via Twitter that he is thinking of taking his $62 billion company private. This is … not how this sort of thing is typically done! But Musk isn’t complaining, as Tesla’s stock jumped 10 percent on that news. That will show all the shorts and haters, including analysts and journalists who annoyingly question Musk and his fight-picking, cash-burning, tent-pitching ways.

      In fact, Liam Denning suggests going private is the best thing that could happen to Tesla and everyone involved: “A couple of years ago, I wrote it would have been better if Tesla could have been an Uber-like unicorn rather than a listed company. Besides no longer having to worry about pesky stuff like the best way of disclosing material events (for example), the company could dispense with its panoply of short-term targets on things like Model 3 production, cash flow and profits.” Click here to read the whole thing.

      What’s at Stake in the Midterms

      It’s another election day in America, the four millionth since 2016, because time is a flat circle and you will always be in that voting booth, again and again and again, forever.

      Anyway, there’s a closely watched Ohio special election and some primaries today, but the big event is still this November’s midterm election. Democrats are favored to take control of the House of Representatives, but there’s a chance Republicans could keep Congress – and we haven’t spent much time talking about what they might do with their new lease on life. 

      The juiciest target available to them might be the same bête noire they have repeatedly attacked since Trump took office: Obamacare. Ever since the GOP’s failure to kill the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration has been actively undermining it, pushing low-quality competing health plans and curbing enrollment, write Bloomberg’s editors. It will be hard for the GOP to resist taking another stab directly at the law if it wins in November.

      The best possible outcome for the ACA in that scenario would be that Republicans still can’t agree on the best way to murder it, which is Jonathan Bernstein’s bet. Whatever result you favor, it’s a reason to get back in that voting booth.

      The AT&T Consumer Is Forgotten Again

      Trump’s Justice Department is still fighting AT&T Inc.’s takeover of Time Warner, despite the fact that the merger has already happened. Tara Lachapelle writes the government botched its first effort to stop the merger, and it’s blowing the appeal too: “It may take time, but one way or another consumers will feel the ramifications of this megadeal and the others it sets in motion. The government let the consumer down, and its opening [appellate] brief doesn’t instill much faith that it can recover from the June defeat.” Click here to read the whole thing.

      Starbucks Takes Sides in the Trade War

      Trump claims he’s winning his trade war with China, and the U.S. stock market seems to be encouraging that belief. Maybe so, but that’s not stopping Starbucks Corp. from betting its money on China, writes Dan Moss. The caffeine empire just started up a partnership with Alibaba, and it’s “testimony to the strength of the domestic Chinese market that Starbucks expects it to surpass America.”

      Bonus trade-war reading:

      Tenure for All

      The stereotype of millennials is that they are profligate job-hoppers, but Noah Smith points out they actually favor stability more than Gen Xers – apparently coming of age during the worst recession in generations does that to you. Noah suggests this is a perfect opportunity to start offering regular corporate employees the same kind of job security college professors and professional athletes get, in the form of long-term contracts: “In exchange for a long-term contract, workers would presumably accept lower starting salaries – like tenure-track professors, except perhaps even lower to account for companies’ greater volatility.” Click here to read the whole thing

      Further college reading: 

      • For-profit colleges aren’t alone in making unverified claims about their benefits; elite colleges do the same thing. – Miles Kimball

      Chart Attack

      We love to talk about the FAANGs as a bloc, but this is just a lazy way to think about tech and the broader market, writes Nir Kaissar:

      Carl Icahn has a point about Cigna Inc.’s plan to buy Express Scripts Holding Co., writes Max Nisen.

      Speed Reading

      A $30 billion IPO for SoftBank Group Corp.’s Japanese wireless business is a stretch. – Nisha Gopalan and Shuli Ren

      The bond-market bears are ignoring plain evidence. – David Ader

      The UK is trying to keep bankers from fleeing to Paris, but it’s in no position to bash the French these days. – Lionel Laurent

      Italy’s populists should heed the warning of Turkey’s lira blowup. – Mark Gilbert

      Nobody comes out great in Canada and Saudi Arabia’s Twitter spat. – Bobby Ghosh

      Emerging markets can rally as the Fed lifts rates, as long as their central banks keep pace. – Shuli Ren

      New Trump administration sanctions will hurt Iran’s people; it needs targeted actions to show it’s on their side. – Eli Lake 

      ICYMI

      Rick Gates testified he did so many crimes for his former boss Paul Manafort. President Donald Trump is going after legal immigrants next. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “could rank among the biggest grifters in American history,” Forbes suggests.

      Kickers

      Here’s what happens when a “58-year-old with questionable coordination and a Honda Civic” jumps into the Darwinian world of Bird (electric scooter) hunting. – Virginia Postrel

      HGTV bought the former “Brady Bunch” house, outbidding Lance Bass.

      Burger King will play Toto’s “Africa” all day at one of its locations.

      Plants rule the Earth.

      Inside the big business of dog cloning.

      Hot out there: 28 photos of people and animals trying to stay cool.

      Note: Please send rap albums, suggestions and kicker ideas to Mark Gongloff at [email protected]

      ***

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      This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

      To contact the author of this story:
      Mark Gongloff at [email protected]

      To contact the editor responsible for this story:
      Timothy L. O’Brien at [email protected]

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

      Trump, Juncker Tout Deal Pulling Back From U.S.-EU Trade War – Trending Stuff

      Trump, Juncker Tout Deal Pulling Back From U.S.-EU Trade War – Trending Stuff

      President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to suspend new tariffs while negotiating over trade, pulling the U.S. and Europe back from the edge of a transatlantic trade war.

      The leaders pledged to expand European imports of U.S. liquefied natural gas and soybeans and both vowed to lower industrial tariffs, excluding autos. The U.S. and European Union will “hold off on other tariffs”’ while negotiations proceed, as well as re-examine U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory duties imposed by the EU “in due course,” Juncker said.

      “We had a big day, very big,” Trump said during a press conference with Juncker at the White House on Wednesday. “We are starting the negotiation right now, but we know where it is going.” Trump hailed “a new phase” of trade relations.

      The deal eases tensions stoked by Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on car imports. U.S. stocks and bond yields rose on signs of optimism that a U.S.-EU trade war could be avoided.

      Trump added they would try to “resolve” steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed earlier this year and retaliatory duties the EU levied in response. The U.S. and EU will work together to reform the World Trade Organization, Trump said.

      You Think GM’s Forecast Was Bad? Look What Auto Tariffs Would Do

      Trump and Juncker took no questions after their brief remarks in the Rose Garden, an impromptu appearance scheduled after about three hours of talks.

      Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, said he applauded the move to de-escalate tensions over tariffs.

      “I’m glad. I think it’s going to help defuse some of the concern out there, not only in farm country but in our economy generally,” Portman said. “It’s a first step. We’ve still got to work out the details. But it’s been hard these last few weeks to see any light at the end of the tunnel,” with no signs of progress with the EU, Mexico, Canada or China.

      The truce may prove to be short lived if the two sides can’t resolve their differences over trade in vehicles and car parts. In May, Trump abandoned a framework for trade negotiations with China within days of it being announced, before ratcheting up tariffs.

      ‘Semi-Truce’

      ‘‘They sold it as something very positive, but for me the announcement is not as big for now, because it’s kind of a semi-truce,” Marie Kasperek, associate director of the global business and economics program at the Atlantic Council, said by phone. “As long as the steel and aluminum tariffs are ongoing, the EU will not negotiate on a high-level basis.”

      Trump says a 10 percent tax on imports of cars to the EU is too high compared to the 2.5 percent rate charged by the U.S, and he’s also been critical of the EU over its $150 billion trade surplus with the U.S.

      Still, the deal announced Wednesday with the EU is an encouraging sign that America’s trade partners may be able to placate the Trump administration with offers to buy more U.S. goods, averting a trade war that the International Monetary Fund has warned may undermine the strongest global upswing in years.

      The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group of major automakers that includes General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., welcomed the effort to negotiate a solution that will lower trading barriers, rather than increase them.

      “Today’s announcement demonstrates that bilateral negotiations are a more effective approach to resolving trade barriers, not increasing tariffs,” the alliance said in a statement.

      Final Effort

      Juncker came to Washington for a last-ditch bid to avoid U.S. tariffs on cars. He told reporters he entered Wednesday’s meeting with the intention of reaching an agreement with Trump.

      “We agreed that no other tariffs would be introduced as long as we are in the negotiations,” Juncker said during a speech in Washington after his press conference with Trump. “I’m happy that we agreed to this agreement today.”

      Trump warned at a cabinet meeting last week that he would move forward with 25 percent auto tariffs if the meeting with Juncker didn’t go well. Trump could impose car tariffs on national security grounds once Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross completes a required investigation, which could come anytime before a deadline by early next year.

      Auto tariffs at the level Trump has threatened would add about 10,000 euros ($11,700) to the sticker price of a European-built car sold in the U.S., according a European Commission assessment obtained by Bloomberg News last month. That would cut U.S. imports of European cars and car parts in half, the commission forecast.

      (Updates with comment from the auto alliance from 11th paragraph.)

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

      Comedian Michelle Wolf’s jokes fall flat, or offend, at DC dinner – Trending Stuff

      Comedian Michelle Wolf’s jokes fall flat, or offend, at DC dinner – Trending Stuff

      Comedian Michelle Wolf performed at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington — but not all members of the audience stayed for the entire act.

      Apparently offended by many of the comedian’s jabs at President Donald Trump and members of his administration, many attendees sat in silence, or simply got up and walked out, Politico reported.

      President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign-style rally in Washington, Mich., April 28, 2018.  (Associated Press)

      “President Trump isn’t here, if you haven’t noticed,” Wolf, 32, a writer for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” told the gathering. “I would drag him here myself, but it turns out the president of the United States is the one p—- you’re not allowed to grab.”

      Wolf’s reference to the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005, which went public prior to the 2016 presidential election, was just wisecrack that many in attendance did not appreciate.

      The annual fundraiser brought together its usual mix of politicians, celebrities and reporters, in recognition of journalists for their achievements of the preceding 12 months.

      Michelle Wolf arrives at a charity event in Los Angeles, March 24, 2018.  (Associated Press)

      Trump opted to skip Saturday night’s event — choosing instead to hold his own campaign-style rally in Michigan, one of the states that were key to Trump’s 2016 election victory.

      Attendees at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington raising their glasses.  (Reuters)

      “Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents’ dinner?” Trump asked Saturday night, drawing cheers from the crowd in Washington, Mich., about 39 miles north of Detroit.

      It marked the second year in a row that Trump declined to attend the event where politicians have long hobnobbed with members of the media, as the president continues to blast “fake news” and “dishonest” reporters.

      White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, however, attended as a representative of the Trump administration — and suffered through Wolf’s blistering critiques of her job performance, her appearance and even her Southern roots.

      Among Wolf’s less offensive one-liners:

      — “Just a reminder to everyone, I’m here to make jokes, I have no agenda, I’m not trying to get anything accomplished, so everyone that’s here from Congress you should feel right at home.”

      — “It is kinda crazy that the Trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn’t even in contact with Michigan.”

      — “He wants to give teachers guns, and I support that because then they can sell them for things they need like supplies.”

      Unlike last year, when Trump aides declined to attend, the Trump White House had its contingent, including counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

      Former administration officials were on hand, such as onetime press secretary Sean Spicer, ex-chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and political aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

      Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/