Archive for May 28th, 2019

The Pronk Pops Show 1265, May 28, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Trying To Stop Nuclear Arms Race and Nuclear Proliferation In Far East and Middle East — Videos — Story 2:  Japan to Buy 105 F-35 Fighters From United States —  Japan converting Izumo-class into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B (Short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ) — U.S./Japan Trade Deal By August with Japan Possible — Videos — Story 3: Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos — Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos — Story 4: Do Not Panic — Recession Warning or Economic Growth? — U.S. Steady Economic Growth Ahead — 3% Plus — Videos —

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1218 March 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1217 February 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1212 February 20, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1210 February 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1209 February 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1208 February 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1207 February 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1206 February 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1205 February 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1204 February 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1203 February 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1202 February 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump Trying To Stop Nuclear Arms Race and Proliferation In Far East and Middle East Linked To Trade Agreement with China –Videos —

Trump wants Iran to agree on no nuclear weapon and that is all, nice attitude

Donald Trump: We will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons

Trump Dismisses Concerns About North Korea Missile Launches

Trump dismisses North Korean tests of ‘some small weapons’

Donald Trump: We will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons

Trump-Kim summit: How did North Korea build the bomb? | Asian Century | Full episode

Untangling the U.S. – China Narrative: Technology, Trade, and Tensions

May 20, 2019 — In partnership with the Committee of 100, speakers from all sectors come together for a lively discussion about the current state of U.S.-China relations. Speakers included Andy Rothman from Matthews Asia and a member of the Asia Society Northern California Advisory Board; Victor Wang with CEG Ventures; Buck Gee, co-founding board member of the Chinese American Community Foundation and member of both C100 and the Asia Society Northern California Advisory Board; and Mark Cohen, director at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology Asian IP Project. The discussion was moderated by Frank H. Wu, president of Committee of 100, and featured opening remarks by Kenneth P. Wilcox, chair of Asia Society Northern California Advisory Board. (1 hr., 24 mins)

 

Story 2:  Japan to Buy 105 F-35 Fighters From United States —  Japan converting Izumo-class into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B (Short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ) — U.S./Japan Trade Deal By August with Japan Possible — Videos

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Japan: Trump agrees with Kim Jong-un that Biden ‘probably’ has low IQ

Trump, Abe at odds over North Korean missile tests | FULL press conference

Abe, Trump Arrive at Japanese Naval Base

Trump inspects Japan’s largest warship as he concludes four-day visit

US President Donald Trump inspected Japan’s largest warship with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 28. According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, Mr Trump was the first US President to embark a Japanese destroyer.

 

Japan to buy 105 F-35 U.S. stealth warplanes: Trump

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Japan plans to buy 105 U.S.-made stealth warplanes, Donald Trump said on Monday, which the U.S. President said would give Tokyo the largest F35 fleet of any US ally.

Trump, in Tokyo for a state visit, said Japan “has just announced its intent to purchase 105 brand new F35 stealth aircraft. Stealth, because, the fact is you can’t see them.”

“This purchase would give Japan the largest F35 fleet of any U.S. ally,” added the president.

Trump appeared to be referencing a deal first announced by the F35’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, in December.

Japan’s government announced in its latest defense budget in December plans to buy 105 units of the F35A, which performs conventional take-off and landings.

Local media said at the time that the purchases could total more than one trillion yen ($9.1 billion).

The White House could not immediately comment on the timing of Trump’s comments about the deal Monday.

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-to-buy-105-f-35-us-stealth-warplanes-trump

 

Trump Tours Japan’s Izumo-Class Carrier Hailing its Future F-35B Capability

Donald Trump today became the first U.S. president to board the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) largest flattop, the Izumo-class helicopter carrier JS Kaga, at the Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo wrapping up the U.S. president’s four-day state visit to Japan.

Together with his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump toured Japan’s largest warship on May 28 to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and to “send a message to China,” according to a Japanese government source. Trump and Abe were accompanied by their wives during the inspection.

Abe and Trump addressed a group of about 500 U.S. and Japanese military personnel gathered in the hanger of the JS Kaga. “This is the first time the leaders of Japan and the United States have visited together to extend their encouragement to the SDF [Self Defense Force] and U.S. military,” Abe said. “The fact that we are both standing here today is evidence of the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance.”

Abe also talked about the JMSDF flattop’s recent operational history. “The JS Kaga sailed through a vast area from the western Pacific through the Indian Ocean last year, to deepen the cooperation with navies of regional partners in close coordination with the U.S. Navy,” the prime minister said.

“Our mission is to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to establish a foundation for regional peace and prosperity.” The JS Kaga’s sister ship, the JMSDF helicopter carrier JS Izumoconducted a number of naval exercises with allies and regional partners in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

Hailing the U.S.-Japanese alliance as “an incredible partnership,” the U.S. president in his speech on the carrier’s hangar deck noted that “this is the only port in the world where a U.S. Naval fleet and an Allied Naval fleet are working side by side with each other.”

Trump in his speech, also referenced the conversion of the Izumo-class into full-fledged aircraft carriers capable of launching the F-35B, the vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as Japan’s decision to procure an extra 105 F-35s from the United States.

“Soon this very ship will be upgraded to carry this cutting-edge aircraft, Trump said. “With this extraordinary new equipment, the Kaga will help our nations defend against a range of complex threats in the region and far beyond.”

Notably, the U.S. president was expected to board the JS Kaga’s sister ship, the first-of-class JS Izumo during a state visit to Japan in October 2017. However, the visit did not take place.

Trump on May 28 also visited the nearby U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base, where he boarded the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. The USS Wasp is the size of a small aircraft carrier and can carry around 31 aircraft including the F-35B. In a speech in front of around 800 U.S. servicemen and women, whom the president called “daring and mighty warriors in the Pacific,” he emphasized the need for additional guided-missile destroyers,  submarines and F-35s.

Yokosuka is home to the headquarters of the JMSDF and also the home port of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the largest of the U.S. Navy’s forward deployed fleets and consists of around 50-70 ships and submarines and around 20,000 sailors.

The president and the first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, were Japan’s first state guests in the new imperial era “Reiwa” following Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the throne on May 1.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/05/trump-tours-japans-izumo-class-carrier-hailing-its-future-f-35b-capability/

Japan’s plan to remodel Izumo-class carriers: Needed upgrade or mere show of force?

BY REIJI YOSHIDA

STAFF WRITER

On April 30, the Izumo helicopter carrier — one of Japan’s two largest and arguably most controversial naval vessels — set off for a three-month deployment and this month it conducted two quadrilateral naval exercises over a two-week span — first in the South China Sea and then in the Indian Ocean.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are scheduled to inspect the Kaga — the other vessel in the Izumo-class — in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

On top of that, “Aircraft Carrier Ibuki,” a military thriller based on a manga series of the same name featuring a fictitious, though strikingly similar vessel to the Izumo ships, hits theaters on Friday.

The helicopter carrier Izumo is docked at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. | REIJI YOSHIDA
The helicopter carrier Izumo is docked at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. | REIJI YOSHIDA

The rising profile of the 19,500-ton flat-topped helicopter carriers is perhaps a reflection of the increasing awareness of the ministry’s future plans for the vessels: Their conversion into de facto aircraft carriers with the apparent purpose of keeping China in check.

Last December, the Abe administration included plans to remodel its Izumo-class vessels so they can carry F-35B stealth fighters under the National Defense Guidelines and Medium-Term Defense Program.

Since their development nearly a decade ago, speculation had swirled among the defense community that the Izumo ships could eventually be upgraded to accommodate fixed-wing aircraft to effectively become aircraft carriers — a type of vessel that has long been taboo in Japan’s postwar defense posture.

But along with raising questions over whether the Izumo’s upgrade will remain within the confines of the country’s long-standing “exclusively defense-oriented policy,” there seems to be a lack of consensus about the exact role that’s being plotted for the upgraded ships, aside from countering China.

A response to China

It is widely believed the Izumo was developed in large part in response to China’s increasing maritime assertiveness, though the Defense Ministry hasn’t publicly admitted as much, likely due to diplomatic considerations.

But in an interview with The Japan Times last month, a senior Defense Ministry official bluntly laid out the goal for the Izumo upgrades.

The official pointed to a chart depicting where Chinese warships, submarines and military aircraft repeatedly advanced into the Western Pacific, crossing the waters between Okinawa and Miyako Island, in 2017 and 2018.

The 19,500-ton Izumo, seen in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March, cost around ¥120 billion to build and along with its sister ship, the Kaga, is the Self-Defense Forces' largest ship.
The 19,500-ton Izumo, seen in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March, cost around ¥120 billion to build and along with its sister ship, the Kaga, is the Self-Defense Forces’ largest ship. | REIJI YOSHIDA

China’s emerging military presence in the Western Pacific — with forces that now include the aircraft carrier Liaoning, which is capable of carrying J-15 fighters — is a key reason Japan plans to upgrade the Izumo-class ships to allow them to carry F-35B stealth fighters, the senior Defense Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We won’t publicly name any country, but the fact is that the Chinese navy has frequently made incursions into the Pacific Ocean by passing through the Miyako Strait,” the official said. “They’ve become increasingly active (in the Pacific) over the past five years.”

The Miyako Strait is regarded as a critical “choke point” among military analysts that the Chinese Navy must pass through if it ever wants to advance into the Pacific from coastal areas and become a full-fledged “blue-water” navy capable of sustained operations in open water.

The Constitution controversy

The Izumo modification plan, however, immediately caused a stir and drew mixed reactions from politicians and former MSDF brass.

Opposition lawmakers criticized the plan, arguing it would exceed the scope of military power the country is entitled to under the war-renouncing Constitution.

During an Upper House budget committee session in early February, Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Satoshi Inoue cited the top law in his criticism of the plan: “If the Izumo carries fighter planes, it would allow Japan to be able to stage an overwhelming attack from anywhere on the sea, wouldn’t it?”

In response, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya argued that the upgraded Izumo-class vessels will not be designed for “the mass destruction of another country” and therefore they will be constitutional.

A U.S. F-35B stealth fighter flies above the USS Wasp in the Pacific Ocean in March 2018. | KYODO
A U.S. F-35B stealth fighter flies above the USS Wasp in the Pacific Ocean in March 2018. | KYODO

The Constitution has long been interpreted as banning Japan from owning any military power exceeding “the minimum required force” needed for self-defense. Since World War II, Japan has pledged not to own “offensive air carriers,” saying it would be beyond its exclusively defense-oriented posture.

But opponents of the plan argue the upgrade to the Izumo ships will allow the SDF to acquire offensive capabilities.

In the face of that criticism, the Defense Ministry refuses to refer to the to-be-revamped Izumo ships as aircraft carriers, instead saying they would each serve as a “multirole operation vessel.” The ministry insists they would not regularly carry fixed-wing fighters and would also be used for missions including anti-submarine and rescue operations.

Battle-ready or not?

Meanwhile, senior Defense Ministry officials and former MSDF officers are confused about the plan’s operational objectives.

A key question is whether upgraded Izumo-class vessels can actually be deployed for practical combat operations, or if the objective is to mainly showcase the country’s military presence.

That is because typically, an effective aircraft carrier fleet requires a rotation of more than three such vessels. “Usually you would need at least three vessels; one for actual deployment, one for training and one docked for maintenance,” a senior Defense Ministry official said.

Japan has no current plans to build more Izumo-class ships, which can cost as much as ¥120 billion each.

So if it has only one aircraft carrier on standby, the vessels would merely end up being ships to show off the “presence” of Japan’s naval force, the official said.

The Izumo is docked in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. The ship, whose air-traffic control cabin is pictured here, currently serves as a helicopter carrier, but there are plans to remodel the vessel so it can accommodate F-35B stealth fighters.
The Izumo is docked in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March. The ship, whose air-traffic control cabin is pictured here, currently serves as a helicopter carrier, but there are plans to remodel the vessel so it can accommodate F-35B stealth fighters. | REIJI YOSHIDA

Japan would need at least four Izumo vessels if they were to be used as aircraft carriers in real naval combat operations, said Toshiyuki Ito, a retired MSDF vice admiral who is now a professor at Kanazawa Institute of Technology Toranomon Graduate School in Tokyo.

“If you only have two vessels, you can only use them for training personnel for taking off and landing operations,” Ito said. “So this plan doesn’t make sense for MSDF officers, frankly speaking.”

Ito also pointed out that MSDF officers would usually envision using an aircraft carrier of this class for fleet air defense. But a remodeled Izumo-class vessel is only capable of carrying about 10 F-35B fighters, which Ito says is too small a number to provide effective and adequate air defense for a naval fleet.

Because Japan would need more Izumo-class vessels and for those ships to be able to carry more fighter jets in order to be useful in combat operations, Ito concluded that the Izumo upgrade plan is not intended for actual naval combat, but merely to “send a message to China.”

“In 10 or 15 years, China will have four aircraft carriers and two of them could cruise around the Pacific Ocean right south of Japan, for example,” Ito said.

A political decision

Retired Vice Adm. Yoji Koda, former commander of a MSDF fleet, argued that the biggest problem regarding the Izumo’s upgrade is that the Defense Ministry made the decision without having military experts conduct sufficiently detailed naval combat simulations.

“A defense build-up program must be based on the assumption that those (weapons) can actually be used in an emergency situation,” Koda said. “Just showing off (a military presence) is not a legitimate way of thinking.”

In fact, in announcing the new National Defense Guidelines last December, Iwaya, the defense minister, admitted that the Izumo conversion plan was not based on requests or proposals from Self-Defense Forces leaders, but was adopted based on a top-down decision among high-ranking government officials.

“This way of thinking was not formed because of specific needs or requests from the MSDF or Air Self-Defense Force. We reached this conclusion after conducting studies from defense policy perspectives,” Iwaya told reporters.

Koda, like Ito, argued that Japan needs aircraft carriers capable of defending an MSDF fleet — but also noted that the government must be clear and transparent about the purpose of introducing such vessels if and when it intends to do so.

A helicopter sits inside the internal hangar of the Izumo at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March.
A helicopter sits inside the internal hangar of the Izumo at the Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in March.

And is Japan getting enough bang for its buck by upgrading the Izumo class? The cost not only includes the upgrading fees for the ships; it also involves procurement fees for the F-35Bs, as well as training dozens of ASDF fighter pilots to be able to fly the state-of-the-art stealth fighters.

In December, the government decided to procure 147 F-35 stealth fighters, 42 of which are now expected to be F-35Bs capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The remaining 105 will be land-based F-35A jet fighters for the ASDF. Each F-35A fighter costs more than ¥10 billion, and the procurement plan for F-35As and F-35Bs is likely to exceed ¥1 trillion.

The MSDF has been suffering from a chronic personnel shortage due to its tough working conditions and long periods of deployment, Ito said. Recruitment is expected to become a bigger headache as the nation’s population continues to shrink. “What the MSDF really needs is more investment to build smaller ships that require fewer personnel (to operate),” Ito said.

“I had hoped that the government would allocate more budget to address personnel issues, but that ship has sailed.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/05/23/national/izumo-needed-upgrade-mere-show-force/#.XO3GW66nGUk

Story 3: Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos — Trump Agrees With Chairman Kim — Biden Low IQ — Crowd Resistant Boring Biden Goes Into Hiding For Now — Joe Can Hide But Can He Win? No — Videos —

Joe: You Don’t Attack A Former VP On Foreign Soil | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally in Philadelphia

Joe Biden Slams Trump as ‘Divider In Chief’ at Philadelphia Rally

Joe Biden Kicks Off Campaign With First Rally in Pittsburgh

Biden supporters line up for first campaign rally

Small Crowd Greets Creepy Joe Biden

 

Joe Biden is the front-runner by every measure — except big crowds

The former veep is leading the Democratic field in all the important categories except one.

He’s dominating in the polls, his fundraising is going gangbusters and he’s showing broad support from key political players in the early presidential states.

So where are the big energetic crowds, the lines around the block to get into Joe Biden’s events?

The question is no small matter in a party still recovering from a bitter 2016 defeat — a loss marked by a lack of enthusiasm for an establishment nominee in several critical states.

Attendance at the former vice president’s launch rally paled next to some of his rivals. In his first Iowa visit, he didn’t match the crowds that greeted Elizabeth Warren or even the less well-known Pete Buttigieg in their initial visits. So far, he’s kept his events to smaller venues where there’s little danger of empty seats.

In the eyes of Biden’s progressive critics — as well as President Donald Trump, who has publicly mocked him for it — the seeming lack of excitement or teeming masses at his events is a leading indicator of a lack of passion for his candidacy.

“I started to think the polls were wrong about Biden because it’s not what we’re seeing on the ground,” said Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, a national network devoted to promoting women of color.

“Inspiration is the X-factor and we’re waiting for the inspiration from Biden,” she said. “When the inspiration isn’t there, the turnout from the core of the Democratic base — women of color — isn’t there. And then we lose.”

To Biden’s campaign, attendance figures are a meaningless metric. Focusing on crowd size is Trump’s game, it says, an emphasis on style over substance that attempts to turn audience engagement into an argument about the 76-year-old Biden’s energy level.

Crowd size, after all, is an imperfect metric to measure a campaign’s vitality. While it can be a revealing indicator, it still lacks the scientific underpinning of polling or the fixed-dollar figures associated with fundraising. Nor does it account for the judgment of elected and influential Democrats across the country.

Just as critics doubted Biden’s popularity before he got in the race, his campaign is confident he’ll have the crowds when he needs them.

“We’re seeing enormous enthusiasm for Joe Biden’s candidacy across the country, beginning the very first day of the campaign when he got over 100,000 contributions — 65,000 of which were brand new to our lists — from all 50 states,” said Biden campaign spokesman T.J. Ducklo.

Even so, since announcing his candidacy more than a month ago, Biden has yet to draw anything near the 20,000 people who showed in Oakland to cheer on Kamala Harris when she announced, or the 13,000 who turned out in Brooklyn for Bernie Sanders’ launch.

Last Saturday, when Biden held a rally for his headquarters’ opening in Philadelphia, his campaign estimated the crowd size was 6,000 — a count thatsome local observers thought might be generous. One local elected Democrat who supports Biden privately told POLITICO the rally was smaller and less energetic than expected.

The event fell far short of the size his surrogates predicted in one of the nation’s largest Democratic cities. Just before Biden formally announced his candidacy last month, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who helped organize a fundraiser for Biden, had loftier expectations.

“He’s enormously popular here,” Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor, said in a late April interview. “We could get tens and tens of thousands of people … For one rally, I think we could do that.”

The crowd size was similar to what President Barack Obama drew at a 2016 rally for Hillary Clinton at the same venue. As a candidate, however, in April 2008, some 35,000 people flooded Independence Mall to see Obama — before he was the nominee.

Trump — for whom crowd size borders on obsession — seized on Biden’s Philadelphia launch, mocking the former vice president two days later at a rival Pennsylvania speech in which he exaggerated the smallness of the crowd.

“We have thousands of people … look at the thousands and thousands of people we have,” Trump said at a Montoursville rally, for which his campaign declined to release an estimated crowd count. “They said [Biden] had 600 people … I’d say 150.”

It’s not the first time Trump has needled Biden over crowd sizes. In 2018, when the president and Biden held dueling Nevada rallies in the homestretch of the midterm campaign — and Trump’s Elko rally had more attendees than Biden’s Las Vegas rally — Trump used the occasion to point to Biden’s prior presidential race defeat and joked that Biden “was thrilled that’s one of the biggest crowds he’s ever had.”

It’s not just the size of Biden’s events that are modest, he’s also holding far fewer of them than his primary competitors. Since his launch, he’s visited Iowa only once. And while Democrats crisscrossed early presidential primary states during the long Memorial Day weekend, Biden took it off. (On Tuesday, he travels to Houston where he and his wife, Jill, will join an American Federation of Teachers town hall.)

There are signs that the theme could become more prominent as the campaign progresses. One of the president’s top surrogates, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, said Biden won’t have the energy to campaign full time once he gets off “the French workweek campaign schedule” that the Democrat is currently on.

“He wants to make America bored again. It’s like he wants to put his audience to sleep,” Gaetz said.

“Trump’s rallies are big and raucous and enthusiastic. And the reason that matters is that in today’s politics, people want to be part of something,” Gaetz said. “Joe Biden’s rallies looks like an event where you would give a gold watch to the Democrat for a lifetime of service.”

James Carville, one of the masterminds behind Bill Clinton’s campaigns for president, said those criticisms miss an essential point about the kind of no-frills-no-thrills campaign he is running.

“He’s never been a candidate who has run on excitement. He has run on ‘you can trust me. I’m a good guy. My heart is in the right place. I’m human. You know me. I’m well-liked,’” Carville said. “Their theory of the case is people are tired of the circus. And it takes an experienced hand to settle everything down to get us back to some era of sanity.”

To that end, some Democrats say Biden’s sometimes listless crowds aren’t cause for concern, but merely reflective of the part of the electorate backing him: older, middle-of-the-road Democrats who are more likely to turn out to the polls than to boisterous megarallies.

Polk County Democratic Chair Sean Bagniewski said there weren’t lines around the block for Biden during his Iowa visit, but that at a local Democratic Party dinner, the former vice president’s campaign dominated local chatter.

“The polls are picking up the people who might not be going to the rallies, might not be going to the meetings. But the polls can still be right,” Bagniewski said. “The rank and file can be reliable Democrats. They’re the people who have been around for awhile.”

Brian Fallon, former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, said the Biden campaign isn’t going for big crowds and passion and is instead underpinned by “a very pragmatic argument. It’s not an argument designed to electrify. It revolves around electability … It’s not the type of message that inspires a movement. It’s very practical.”

There’s also the matter of Biden’s long tenure in politics. Crowds that flooded to Buttigieg or Beto O’Rourke in this cycle did so in part because they’ve never seen the candidates before.

Tad Devine, who was part of Sanders’ insurgent 2016 campaign against Clinton, added that Biden doesn’t need the big crowds the way Sanders did in the previous race because the former vice president doesn’t need to show he’s a legitimate candidate — he’s the front-runner.

“Biden’s not a crowd candidate. He’s not Obama. He’s not Bernie,” Devine said. “Drawing big crowds is more important for Beto [O’Rourke] or Mayor Pete to get into the mix.”

Holly Otterbein, Daniel Lippman, Christopher Cadelago and Anita Kumar contributed to this report.

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-to-buy-105-f-35-us-stealth-warplanes-trump

 

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Morgan Stanley says economy is on ‘recession watch’ as bond market flashes warning

KEY POINTS
  • Renewed trade tensions and a slump in economic data put U.S. profits and economic growth at risk, Morgan Stanley warned Tuesday.
  • “Numerous leading companies may be starting to throw in the towel on the second half rebound–something we have been expecting,” the bank writes.
  • Wilson adds that market risks have been reflected in the bond market, pointing to an unusual phenomenon in government debt yields.
GS: CBOE options pit 150917
Scott Olson | Getty Images

The stock market and economic outlook in the United States are “deteriorating,” according to an analysis from one of Wall Street’s top investment banks.

Renewed trade tensions and a slump in economic data — ranging from falling durable goods and capital spending to a downshift in the services sector — has put U.S. profits and economic growth at risk, Morgan Stanley warned Tuesday.

“Recent data points suggest US earnings and economic risk is greater than most investors may think,” wrote Michael Wilson, the firm’s chief U.S. equity strategist.

Specifically, the stock strategist highlighted a recent survey from financial data firm IHS Markit that showed manufacturing activity fell to a nine-year low in May. That report also revealed a “notable slowdown” in the U.S. services sector, a key area for an American economy characterized by huge job gains in health care and business services.

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Many recent reports reflect April data, “which means it weakened before the re-escalation of trade tensions,” Wilson continued. “In addition, numerous leading companies may be starting to throw in the towel on the second half rebound–something we have been expecting but we believe many investors are not.”

Wilson was one of the most bearish stock strategists last year, defending his initial S&P 500 call of 2,750 for year-end 2018 without adjusting it throughout the year. By the end of the year, his call was the most accurate of any strategist tracked by CNBC.

He’s stood by his gloomy case for 2019, often warning that investors could be caught in a “rolling bear market ” for the next several years. The market has thus far outpaced Wilson’s models for 2019, with the S&P 500 up 11.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 8.6% year to date.

The stock market sold off Tuesday, adding to steep losses for the month of May. The Dow fell 237 points and the S&P dropped 0.8% during the session; they are down 4.6% and 4.8%, respectively, this month.

VIDEO02:43
Bond market primary concern for investors, says chief economist

Still, many economists are predicting an anemic second half of the year. For their part, Morgan Stanley economists have lowered their second-quarter U.S. GDP forecast to 0.6% from 1.0%. That comes after J.P. Morgan last week cut its own second-quarter outlook to 1% from 2.25%.

“The April durable goods report was bad, particularly the details relating to capital goods orders and shipments. Coming on the heels of last week’s crummy April retail sales report, it suggests second quarter activity growth is sharply downshifting from the first quarter pace, ” the economists wrote.

Companies ranging from manufacturers like Deere and Polaris Industries to computer chip maker Microchip and toolmaker Snap-On have all bemoaned the Trump administration’s escalated trade war with China and have warned it could impact their business. The White House bumped the tariff rate on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% earlier this month, drawing a similar response against American goods from Beijing.

While the number of companies explicitly airing their trade grievances remains comparatively small, they likely represent a larger number of American companies set for pain as bilateral tariffs threaten their bottom lines.

“Regular readers are likely familiar with our view that the US economy is vulnerable to a more significant slowdown due to overheating last year from the fiscal stimulus,” Wilson wrote. “This led to labor cost pressures for corporations, excessive inventories and an overzealous capex cycle that is now reverting to the mean, which means well below trend spending for several quarters.”

Those market risks have been reflected in the bond market, Wilson added, pointing to an unusual phenomenon in government debt yields.

When investors believe the economy is set for healthy growth, those that buy debt from the U.S. government for years are compensated with better interest rates than those who loan money for a matter of months. Under those normal circumstances, the plot of Treasury interest rates slopes upward, with investors earning more for holding debt for 10 years rather than a few months.

That usual upward slope can change, however, when investors think economic output growth is likely to fall. That occurred earlier this year, when the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield first dropped below that of the 3-month Treasury bill, a sign many on Wall Street read as a recessionary signal.

The curve flattened further Tuesday as the 3-month bill yielded 2.356% and the 10-year note yielded 2.269%.

Some investors wrote it off, saying “it’s different this time” thanks to the Federal Reserve’s lingering quantitative easing or by how quickly the curve appeared to correct to a steeper shape. But Morgan Stanley’s deeper dive into the data — controlling for the Fed’s tinkering — reveals a “much different picture.”

Morgan Stanley’s analysis shows the adjusted yield curve first inverted in November and has stayed in negative territory ever since.

“The adjusted yield curve inverted last November and has remained in negative territory ever since, surpassing the minimum time required for a valid meaningful economic slowdown signal,” Wilson wrote. “It also suggests the ‘shot clock’ started 6 months ago, putting us ‘in the zone’ for a recession watch.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/morgan-stanley-says-economy-on-recession-watch-amid-bond-warning.html

 

 

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