It's Friday, so that means its panel time.
Hiring cooled in May, the Labor Department reported today, as firms appeared more hesitant to bring on new employees amid uncertainty over President Trump escalating the trade war. The U.S. economy added 75,000 jobs in May, a significant pullback from 224,000 jobs added in April. Analysts had expected a gain of about 175,000 jobs, according to Bloomberg. Is this heightening fears the trade war is taking a greater toll? The unemployment rate remained at a five-decade low of 3.6 percent. Dr. Jack Rasmus, you have been talking for the past few months that a recession is looming on the horizon. Are jobs still a lagging indicator of the US economy?
The Justice Department has decided not to charge Julian Assange for his role in exposing some of the CIA's most secret spying tools. It's a move that has surprised national security experts and some former officials, given prosecutors' recent decision to aggressively go after the WikiLeaks founder on more controversial Espionage Act charges that some legal experts said would not hold up in court. The decision also means that Assange will not face punishment for publishing one of the CIA's most potent arsenals of digital code used to hack devices, dubbed Vault 7. So instead, the Justice Department will go after Assange on the one count for allegedly assisting Manning and the 17-count Espionage Act indictment. There are no plans to bring any additional indictments prior to his extradition.
During his press conference in London on Tuesday with outgoing British PM Teresa May, President Trump dismisses London protests, says he would have sued E.U. over Brexit and a bunch of other things. He said that he believed Brexit would eventually happen, adding that Britain is "a very, very special place and I think it deserves a special place." What are we to make of all of this?
The saga in Venezuela continues. During a closed-door meeting in New York last week with Jewish leaders, Secretary Pompeo spoke honestly about the challenges the Trump administration is facing in their attempts to overthrow the democratically elected president of VZ, Nicolas Maduro. The US narrative has been that the opposition is strong, united and legitimate. In this meeting Pompeo admits, "Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult…The moment Maduro leaves, everybody's going to raise their hands and [say], ‘Take me, I'm the next president of Venezuela.' It would be forty-plus people who believe they're the rightful heir to Maduro." What's going here?
Speaking ahead of his trip to Normandy, Trump said he had made clear to Mexico that he was prepared to follow through on his threat to levy 5 percent tariffs on Mexican exports from June 10, rising to 25 percent by October. But he added: "We're having a great talk with Mexico. . . something pretty dramatic could happen". This is a marked change of tone from Wednesday night when he tweeted that "not nearly enough" progress had been made. I've been asking is the threat of further tariffs a negotiating ploy? All of this while the NY Times today published analysis on Which States Will Be Hit Hardest by Trump's Tariffs on Mexico.
Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
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