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China’s Latest Trade Gamble Could Severely Hamper American Technological Advances

China has a near-monopoly on certain items that the United States absolutely needs, and they may have just become a bargaining chip.

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Who else but Donald Trump could negotiate China into a corner on trade?

The master businessman was elected back in 2016 in order to bring some fiscal sense to the White House.  For too long, career politicians flush with lobbyist cash have been attempting to negotiate with nations far and wide on issues of trade and tariffs.  From their ruling class perspective, small and sometimes insignificant bits of legislation would appear as “wins”, but that perspective is far from the reality on Main Street.

Trump has, instead, taken the bull-in-a-China-shop approach, no pun intended.

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As his lengthy and contentious negations with China continue, Beijing is now considering going nuclearso to speak, threatening to restrict the sale of rare earth elements to the United States.

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China is “seriously considering” restricting rare-earth exports to the United States, the editor in chief of the Chinese tabloid Global Times said on Tuesday.

Rising tensions have led to concern that Beijing will use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for leverage in the trade war between the United States and China.

“Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the U.S. China may also take other countermeasures in the future,” Hu Xijin wrote on his Twitter account.

A senior official from China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said China will give priority to domestic demand but is also willing to meet reasonable demand from other countries for rare-earth resources.

How exactly would this affect Americans?

China accounted for 80% of the rare earths — a group of 17 chemical elements used in high-technology consumer electronics and military equipment — the United States imported from 2014 to 2017.

The restriction would certainly put a premium on these elements, and could grind American technological advancement to a halt if prices for these materials were to skyrocket.

 

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Amazon Rolls Out Creepy ‘Pay By Palm’ Hardware at Whole Foods

Is this one of the harbingers of a cashless society?

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Throughout much of modern history, Americans and their cash were two separate things.  One was a human being, breathing and walking about, earning money.  The money was an inanimate commodity of varying value that we used to keep the organism alive, fat, and happy. But in the future, it seems as though we may find ourselves intrinsically, and anatomically indistinguishable from our bank account.  In fact, it appears as though Amazon is banking on it. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said it is rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle starting on Wednesday, letting shoppers pay for items with a scan of their palm. The move shows how Amazon is bringing some of the technology already in use at its namesake brick-and-mortar Go and Books stores to the grocery chain it acquired in 2017. The system, called Amazon One, lets customers associate a credit card with their palm print. It offers a contact-less alternative to cash and card payments, Amazon said. Of course, the move is being regarded as a terrifying leap into Orwellian territory by privacy experts, as it appears to push us ever closer to a cashless society where hackers and power failures could doom us all to poverty in the blink of an eye.

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Fraternal Order of Police Responds to LeBron James’ Tweet Fiasco

And they were NOT happy.

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The politicization of American sports has been ongoing for some time, perhaps decades, but the most recent acceleration of this melding has come thanks to the power of social media and the blurring of the line between celebrity and athlete. At the forefront of this movement has been the NBA, and, more specifically, superstar LeBron James. This week, James came under fire for a tweet in which he referenced the Derek Chauvin trial’s guilty verdicts, with a photo of another officer who was involved in the shooting of a young black girl and text stating “you’re next”. The tweet was seen as a threat by many, including the Fraternal Order of Police who responded harshly. On Wednesday, James tweeted a photo of the officer involved in the shooting with a caption reading “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” The tweet has since been deleted. James was reacting to the deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Hours later, the National Fraternal Order of Police tweeted a photo of James’ original tweet, saying: “[email protected], with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in. This is disgraceful & extremely reckless. The officer saved a young girl’s life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact.” James attempted to walk back the tweet after deleting it, by issuing an explanation that garnered only a lukewarm response online.

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