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The BIG Uncertainties — Kim and Trade Wars. Reasons for optimism.

I know what I don’t want to own too much of:  Companies that own factories and make things.

On Sunday, I wolfed down  a bunch of delicious grapes from Mexico. Maybe my last?

We just bought an E400 Mercedes wagon to replace the one we put in the creek. Maybe next month, it will be much pricier?

There’s sense and purpose to what’s happening in Washington? Long live uncertainty!

There are people who believe Nirvana is here, or about to be. We’ll have a deal with Kim to give up his nukes and our trading partners will buy more of our stuff. Like magic from one day to the next.

This morning markets are going up.

Joel Ross writes The Ross Rant. He’s a really good explainer of why things are going well. From his latest Ross Rant:

One thing that is already apparent about the N Korea summit is that the commentating is either bash Trump, or just establishment types who do not get what is going on, but either way they are clueless, and so ingrained in their hatred of Trump, and in their lifetime of failed diplomacy methods, that they cannot understand how Trump can succeed, nor do they want him to.

+ The Dems claim Trump is unprepared- Pompeo says he and Trump have been hard at work on this for over a year, and he has had numerous sessions with Trump over the past few weeks to prepare.

+ They say the normal diplomatic prep has not occurred. Pompeo went to meet with Kim twice, and at length, and with Kim’s number two for two straight days. Trump had a long meeting with the number two guy. In addition, there have been two teams of US senior staff meeting with N Korea staff for well over a week to work through all the issues. Moon has had direct meetings with Kim.

+ They claim Kim won by Trump agreeing to meet and doing a photo op of the two shaking hands- they claim big win for Kim- nothing for Trump. How do they think there is to be a summit unless they meet and start with a public handshake. Kim gave up the hostages and got zip. Kim loses it all if he does not accept the basics of a deal. He runs a real risk of getting killed. What do the Dems and press think Pompeo was doing talking to Kim and his number two all these times- talking about how to play canasta???

+ Dems and press say Trump will agree to let Kim keep some nukes. Pompeo has said he has been completely clear to Kim, no nukes-period.

+ And now the chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, a very establishment group, said that by hitting back at Trudeau over the G7, Trump now has to give in to Kim or he will look like he has no understanding of how to act diplomatically. It is the opposite. Trump made it clear to all that a leader cannot try to play cute, and insult the US, and get away with it. Big message to Xi and Kim. They really do not understand Trump. What is the EU going to do- refuse to go along with a denuclearization of N Korea over tariffs??? Xi tried to play Trump by getting Kim to act badly two weeks ago, hoping Trump would then crawl to Xi for help with Kim in exchange for concessions on trade. Instead Trump called his bluff, and called off the summit. Heavy message to Xi and Kim that Trump really will walk away. And that was topped off by Trump suddenly saying there will be another $50 billion of tariffs even after Mnuchin said the trade war was on hold. This was a clear message to Xi that he should not think he can use N Korea to get better terms for trade. Xi had his bluff called twice now. The Dems are demanding Trump bring any deal to Congress, even though he already said he planned to, and the same Dems did not demand that of Obama on Iran.

The point of all of this is everyone thinks they know what is going on, when none of us do. Pompeo and his staff have prepared the meeting and Trump well. Moon has been deeply involved. You can be sure Trump is not going to meet if there is any doubt that Kim understands what the expectation is — Total denuclearization. You can be sure Pompeo was clear. Moon was likely clear to Kim, and put on added pressure of a peaceful and prosperous co-existence on the peninsula. I am sure Trump has been clear to Xi. Kim, I am sure, has been told by Pompeo this is not Obama and Iran. There will be no reward before there is verifiable proof of compliance. Trump walking away sent a loud message that this is not a game, and the choice is agree or die, literally.

Kim knows he loses in a war and he dies. He has no real cards to play with a guy like Trump. His threat to attack the US right now is not credible. Trump and Mattis have made it very clear, the US is ready to obliterate Kim. Trump is making the kind of offer you cannot refuse. You have one great chance- don’t blow it. By attacking Syria when Xi was having dessert at Mara Lago, Trump sent a huge message to Xi- I am not Obama. I really will attack. Very likely Kim knows now he is risking it all if he does not do a deal. That is the meaning of Trump emphasizing this is it -one chance and no more. What Trump has demonstrated with the G7 meeting and tariffs, is he cannot be intimidated, and will stand firm no matter how many put immense pressure on him. Xi and Kim, I am sure has got the message.

Kim may still think he can game this, but I am sure Pompeo and the staff people have made it clear, that is not going to work. Kim may be smart and prepared, but he is 34, and never had any negotiation with any world leader other than Xi who did not negotiate- he instructed Kim. It is Kim who is at a big disadvantage. It matters not if he had a photo op, or got the meeting with Trump, if he gets blown up by a missile into his bunker. Trump being so unorthodox and unpredictable is a huge advantage. Kim has no playbook.

Nobody knows how this is going to play out, and maybe it all blows up, but my assumption is the ground has been well prepared by Pompeo and Moon, and Kim knows his personal life really is on the line now with a guy who really will pull the trigger. Kim has to know now, if he were to try to launch a nuke missile, all of N Korea gets obliterated. It is unlikely he really has a missile that can deliver a nuke to the US successfully. It is a very complex thing to achieve. I am sure Pompeo did not sugar coat how it is, and now that Trump successfully called Xi bluff with the walk away and added tariffs, Kim has to be concerned his mentor got it totally wrong.

Ignore all the talking heads and press. They know nothing of what is really happening. We will all know first thing Tuesday morning, but this is the biggest event of our era. If there really is a deal, everything in the world changes. Putin and Xi will realize they are in a very different situation. The Obama weakness and ignorance era is over. The US will achieve a position of strength not seen for ten years. Iran will be very worried. The EU will realize they are in no position to make demands.

Merkel already said Trump slamming Trudeau was “sobering”, and the German economy is slowing noticeably. The EU and Canada are in no position to get in a trade war now. The Republicans win big in November. If it fails, Trump will have severe criticism even if it is Kim who blows it. If it does lead to a follow on meeting and is positive, the stock market pops up. Everything is on the line here. One way or the other, all the chips are on this hand. At the same time we will see the IG report, and we will see where things go with tariffs and Canada and the EU. Will not be a boring week.

Detailed piece on what’s happening in Canada:


Click here.

Useful stuff

+ Looking for a house? Go on Zillow. Draw an area you want to live in. Zillow will send you houses as they appear for sale.

+ Take your son or daughter on a Backroads biking trip. This August, Michael and I are going on “The Dolomites — A Peak Experience in Italy and Austria.” It’s our fourth Backroads biking trip.


Click here: TravelDocs Dolomites

+ Bitcoin is tumbling as more and more countries wake up to just how dangerous cryptocurencies really are.

+ Buy your foreign car before tariffs go in and prices go up. Maybe.

+ Please change your AOL email to gmail. AOL is increasingly unreliable.

How to photograph an event

+ I use a Canon G5X — the best point and shoot camera.

+ Best to shoot weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, with a flash.

+ Photoshop all your photos with “auto levels” and then sharpen them. Takes a few seconds per photo. Makes a huge difference.

+ Take several charged batteries. The G5X has a small battery. Good for only about  50 flash photos.

+ Upload your finished photos to SmugMug. You can then provide every attendee with a link to your photos. They can buy prints. Simple and fast.

How technology changes

Yesterday: Susan and I shop the Amazon bookstore at New York City’s Time Warner Center. We’re looking for books (yet more) for the grandkids. I find this wonderful one:


An hour later, two grandkids call from Portland, Oregon. They’re on Apple Facetime to wish me Happy Birthday.  We did the birthday singing and the candle blowing. Then it was their bed time. Guess what? I read them “How to Babysit a Grandpa.” Cross country.  Two thousand miles apart. They loved it. So did I.

Is this the death of print or the continued explosion of Apple’s fantastic Facetime technology?

Who cares?

The memorial stone

Moshe died. His Will provided $40,000 for an elaborate funeral.

As the last guests departed the affair, his wife Sarah turned to her oldest and dearest friend.

“Ah, well, Moshe would be pleased,” she said.

“You’re right,” replied Ruth, who lowered her voice and leaned in close. “So, go on, how much did this really cost?”

“All of it,” said Sarah. “Forty thousand dollars.”

“Aw, No!”, Ruth exclaimed, “I mean, it was a very grand affair, but $40,000?”

Sarah answered, “The funeral was $6,500. I donated $500 to the Synagogue. The whiskey, wine, and snacks were another $500. The rest went for the Memorial Stone.”

Ruth computed quickly. “For the love of God,  $32,500 for a Memorial Stone? How big is it?”;

“Three carats.”

Harry Newton, happy with the grandkids. And happy to be alive, now officially 76.

  • Omer Acikel

    Hey Harry, happy birthday man. Another Gemini? me too 🙂

  • bruuno

    “All liberals are garage”
    One car.. or two car?
    Personally, have not gotten past the carport Liberal stage..

    • Dman

      Hey bruuno—Debbie Wasserman Shultz will join Obama and Hillary at Guantanamo Bay to face a Military Tribunal. They will ALL be tried for TREASON and hung.

      I can’t wait to see the look on the faces of you fucking smug liberals when Trump replaces Kagan and Sotomayor.

      You’ve got BIG PROBLEMS motherfucker!!!


  • Chuck

    Happy Birthday Harry-not sure why anyone who hates you would read your blog and take the time to show your readers what an idiot there is in Missouri who can not even spell.

  • Jerry

    I hate Democrats. I live in Missouri. I hope all liberals end up in hell. Al fRanken is a piece of garbage. Trump is the best. Harry Newton is a piece of shit. All liberals are garage.

  • Omer Acikel

    Harry, it is always good to read opposing views yet I am not really seeing Trump’s virtues from Ross’s explanations. I was laughing hard when I read Kim gave up hostages and got zip if summit fails? I am sorry but since when a rouge regime capturing visitors at will and releasing -again- at will as a gesture of “good will” is “got zip”? His popularity, in terms of media coverage, is over the roof right now. I think Trump is thinking this as “rating war”. As for Trump and China trade talks, clearly N Korea is used as leverage but I personally believe Trump’s trade “war” will hurt everyone. The US is clearly flexing its muscles, the questions is at what cost and to whom? The funny thing about all this is, Trump supporters, in general, are from “old school” economy which does not have too much to put on table in terms of trade and are suffering with anger. What Trump, as in the case of ZTE, seems to get traction is all new technology which he lacks the support of.

    • Dman

      Omer—-you fool, ZTE tried to help Obama, Hillary, Huma and the rest of the evil dems with phones designed to evade NSA detection. Why did Hillary go to New Zealand? Is New Zealand part of 5EYES? Once Hillary found out that NSA Director Mike Rogers was already one step ahead of her she contacted Trump begging for a DEAL. Trump said NO DEALS!

      Who Killed Seth Rich and WHY?

      • Omer Acikel

        Dman, I don’t call anyone “fool” hiding behind a nick name. So as long as you keep civil your replies and stick to facts, we will be fine. Now, the last I read, Trump ALREADY made a deal with ZTE. I read enough about your type with all these conspiracy theories living in this fantasy world. Just because I criticize Trump does not make me Hillary or Obama supporter, does it Dman? But hey may be if you just open your eyes a little and read some real information, you may start seeing a different Trump too. If you want to argue, please keep Hillary, Obama, Guamtanamo and any other “flagship” subjects. I am here to discuss opinions and concepts not people and conspiracy theories.