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Joseph "Robinette à pognon" Biden

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En Français:





L’auteur de plusieurs fake news envers le président américain a enfin été retrouvé. L’ex-informateur du FBI, poursuivi pour avoir menti et fabriqué de fausses accusations de corruption contre Joe Biden et son fils, a avoué aux enquêteurs avoir reçu des informations de personnes liées aux renseignements russes, ont rapporté des procureurs américains mardi 20 février.



Bien sûr cette version ne convainc pas tout le monde.

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America Pulls Back From Values That Once Defined It, WSJ-NORC Poll Finds



Some 38% of respondents said patriotism was very important to them, and 39% said religion was very important. That was down sharply from when the Journal first asked the question in 1998, when 70% deemed patriotism to be very important, and 62% said so of religion.

The share of Americans who say that having children, involvement in their community and hard work are very important values has also fallen. Tolerance for others, deemed very important by 80% of Americans as recently as four years ago, has fallen to 58% since then.

The only priority the Journal tested that has grown in importance in the past quarter-century is money, which was cited as very important by 43% in the new survey, up from 31% in 1998.


Some 23% of adults under age 30 said in the new survey that patriotism was very important to them personally, compared with 59% of seniors ages 65 or older. Some 31% of younger respondents said that religion was very important to them, compared with 55% among seniors.


Only 23% of adults under age 30 said that having children was very important.

To Janet Boyer, a former Pentecostal minister who lives in Cumberland Township in Southwestern Pennsylvania’s coal country, patriotism has taken on a political sheen and is no longer important to her. “For me, patriotism has turned into right-wing nationalism,’’ said Ms. Boyer, who backed President Biden in 2020.


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Sur l'inutilité de toutes ces mesures commerciales :



In theory, trade wars are easy…

The trade war between the US and China is alive and well. President Joe Biden largely left the original tariffs introduced by Donald Trump in place but added additional trade restrictions through both the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. And yesterday, Biden doubled down by increasing the import tariffs on Chinese EV cars by a factor four to 100% while doubling tariffs on basic semiconductors from China to 50%, more than tripled the tariff on some steel and aluminium products to 25%, and imposed a new tariff of 25% on cranes used to unload cargo ships.

All these measures, be they import tariffs or export restrictions, are designed to defend the US and other industrialised nations against cheap Chinese competition, preserve its technological advantage and protect jobs. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned before, such trade wars are easy to design in theory but hard to implement in practice because businesses can usually find loopholes to circumvent trade restrictions.

And if you want to know how difficult it is to implement trade restrictions in our modern economy, I recommend a fascinating and non-technical article by Douglas Fuller from the Copenhagen Business School. He describes in some detail how the trade restrictions against selling semiconductor manufacturing equipment introduced with the CHIPS and Science Act in October 2022 were circumvented and how China managed to build highly advanced semiconductors that Huawei premiered in its Mate 60 phone in September 2023.

In a first step, the US government under President Donald Trump put certain Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE under the Restricted Entity list, meaning they were no longer allowed to sell their goods in the US and US businesses were not allowed to export goods to these companies. Then, with the CHIPS and Science Act, the US imposed restrictions on the export of all kinds of semiconductor equipment necessary to manufacture the most advanced chips to China if the companies producing this equipment benefitted from US subsidies under the law (which meant all Western companies operating in the US). Additionally, US persons (i.e. citizens and holders of green cards) were not allowed to work with this equipment in China.

In theory, this should have prevented China from acquiring any equipment necessary to develop and manufacture the most advanced microchips and some people thought that the law had put China about a decade behind the US and its Western allies. Yet, only a year later, Huawei premiered a mobile phone full of the most advanced microchips, all of which were manufactured in China by Chinese companies. How could that happen?

Fuller identified three grey channels through which Chinese companies managed to get hold of advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment:

  • China’s main semiconductor manufacturer SMIC (which was and is on the restricted entity list of the US) ordered equipment ostensibly for its older, unrestricted fabs, even though technical experts agreed that the ordered equipment could only plausibly be used for its advanced Shanghai fab. The export of this equipment was approved by the bureaucrats in the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) that oversees export licences for restricted goods.

  • In another demonstration that bureaucrats are not technical experts, export licences were granted by the BIS for equipment that should have been caught under the original trade restrictions which were deliberately designed to cast a wide net. This ostensibly happened under the influence of industry lobbyists who argued that the trade restrictions did not apply to this equipment.

  • Chinese third-party vendors, some of which are suspected to be subsidiaries of SMIC ordered spare parts for semiconductor fabs which could be used to service the most advanced semiconductor fabs.

This is not to say that sly Chinese companies exploited inept bureaucrats to circumvent the trade restrictions. This simply shows that modern high-tech equipment can only be understood by highly trained specialists. And bureaucrats typically lack this kind of expertise. To inform themselves, they need to rely on these experts, most of which work for the industry these bureaucrats try to regulate. Which is to say the industry has a possibility to manipulate the bureaucracy to its advantage.

This is unfortunately what goes on with regulation all the time. Just think of the pharmaceutical companies trying to manipulate the rulings of the Food and Drug Administration to get approval for drugs or medical equipment. If you have doubts, please read up on the story of Purdue Pharma and its push to get approval for opioid OxyContin as a pain medication or Theranos’ efforts to get approval for a useless blood test.

In any case, the shock of the Huawei Mate 60 launch in September 2023 triggered a review of the licencing regulation for semiconductor equipment in October 2023. The new rules are now much less broad and much more specific to ensure that bureaucrats know what to approve and what not to approve. But as always, when rules become more specific, new loopholes open up everywhere, which is why one expert called the new rules a ‘hot mess’.

It reminds me of the infamous VAT rules in the UK where cakes are exempt from VAT while biscuits are exempt from VAT in general but are subject to a 20% VAT if they are covered in chocolate (because then they are considered no longer a baked good but a candy bar). The result was a lawsuit where the judge had to assess if jaffa cakes were cakes or biscuits. Hint, jaffa cakes are cakes and thus exempt from VAT.

So, as I said, trade wars are easy in theory and the measures enacted by the US and other countries seem straightforward. But in our modern economy, they are anything but and in practice can often be largely avoided.


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About a year later, an Italian journalist leaked to the US Embassy in Rome a purported Nigerien government document detailing the purchase. Fingar showed the document to an INR analyst who had served as a foreign service officer in Niger. “He looked at the putative document and he says, ‘That's a forgery. It's an obvious forgery,’” Fingar says. “How do you know it's an obvious forgery? ‘In Niger, when they sign, the line is on a diagonal. This is horizontal. It's obviously not an official document.’”


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