China Parades Closer Ties in Moscow

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On display: an upgraded military relationship that could complicate U.S. strategy

BEIJINGJeremy Page reports: When a Chinese honor guard joins a military parade in Russia’s capital this weekend, watched by China’s President Xi Jinping, it will mark more than just a symbolic recognition of the two countries’ contributions to the Allied victory in 1945.

China’s participation also reflects an upgrade of its military ties with Russia, including joint naval exercises and a revival of arms purchases, that could complicate U.S.-led efforts to counter both nations’ expanding military activities, analysts and diplomats say.

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“They’ve basically come to a consensus that despite their differences over some national interests, they really face the same common enemy.”

The 102 Chinese troops who will join the Victory Day parade in Moscow on Saturday were seen during a rehearsal this week marching through streets near Red Square singing the Russian wartime ballad “Katyusha”, according to video footage posted online.

The only other foreign countries with troops in the parade are India, Mongolia, Serbia and six former Soviet states.

Three Chinese navy ships also made a rare foray into the Black Sea on their way to join commemorations in Russia’s southern port of Novorossiysk on Saturday.

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“I think they’re both sending a message that their relationship is stronger than outsiders generally expect and if others put pressure on either in their own arenas, the two will stand together.”

— Gilbert Rozman,an expert on China-Russia relations at Princeton University

The Chinese ships—two missile destroyers and a supply vessel — will then take part in joint exercises with the Russian navy in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, according to Chinese and Russian authorities.Xi-tall-Jinping-HT

Both sides say the drills aren’t directed at other countries, but the timing, after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and the location, on NATO’s southern flank, have compounded Western concerns about an emerging Moscow-Beijing axis.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

“The main significance is that the two countries’ navies are learning how to jointly project power into the other regions of the world,” said Vasily Kashin, an expert on China’s military at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

The Chinese ships’ visit to Novorossiysk could be seen as a response to NATO ships holding exercises in the Black Sea in March, he said, the message being: “Russia has allies too.”

On Wednesday, Russia’s government unveiled a draft cybersecurity deal with China under which both countries agree not to conduct cyberattacks against each other and to counteract technology that might disrupt their internal politics.

The rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing has been driven in large part by Western sanctions which have forced Russia to seek new markets for its oil and gas and new sources of investment.

Mr. Xi also appears to share a personal affinity with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is seen by many in China as a strong, patriotic leader.

The relationship, though well short of a formal alliance, is now developing a more substantial military dimension as Russia ramps up air and naval patrols around Europe and China seeks to challenge U.S. military dominance in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


Obamanomics: Typical U.S. Family Makes Less Than Typical family 15 Years Ago, for First Time Since Depression


Net Jobs Growth Since ’07 Have Gone to Immigrants

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“Native employment has still not returned to pre-recession levels, while immigrant employment already exceeds pre-recession levels.”

(read more at NRO) [more detailed report]

“Furthermore, even with recent job growth, the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to increase.”

National Review Online


U.S. Economy Shrinks by Most in Five Years

For WSJ, Jonathon House reports: Weather disruptions at home and weak demand abroad caused a contraction of rare severity in the U.S. economy in the first quarter, renewing doubts about the strength of the nation’s five-year-old recovery.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, fell at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said in its third reading of the data Wednesday.

That was a sharp downward revision from the previous estimate that output fell at an annual rate of 1%. It also represented the fastest rate of decline since the recession, and was the largest drop recorded since the end of World War II that wasn’t part of a recession. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: U.S. Economy Shrank at 2.9 Percent Annual Rate in First Quarter, Worst Showing Since Recession


U.S. Economy Shifts into Reverse

The US economy shifted into reverse in the first three months of 2014 shrinking by an annualized rate of 1%, official estimates have shown.

Grasping for rationalizations to explain the economic slowdown, "Ummm...unusually bad winter weather?" the US Commerce Department said.

Grasping for rationalizations to explain the economic slowdown, “Ummm…unusually bad winter weather? It snowed a lot? It was rainy and windy, too”, the US Commerce Department said. (Photo: Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce)

Worst economic performance since the first quarter of 2011.

It is also a big fall on the 2.6% rise in economic output in the final quarter of last year. The US Commerce Department’s first reading of gross domestic product (GDP) showed the economy grew at an annualised rate of just 0.1%.

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“Severe weather, just say that. Really bad weather…”

The fall in output was blamed on an unusually cold and disruptive winter – one of the coldest in the US for 20 years – and a plunge in business investment.

“The White House said the GDP revision was subject to a number of notable influences, including the severe winter weather, which temporarily lowered growth.”

Economists estimate the weather could have cost up to 1.5 percentage points of GDP.

However, the Commerce’s Department’s report did not estimate the effect of the winter weather.

The fall was also twice as big as economists expected. Read the rest of this entry »


The American Decline May Wind Up Doing What Republican Political Agitation Could Not: Arrest the Growth of the Government

Ace writes: Hey, let me start you weekend with a huge downer.

It is beginning to appear that the “New Normal” of very slow growth — almost indistinguishable from a recession — is going to be with us for a long time to come.

Previous generations of politicians could reach agreements on taxing and spending by punting their differences to the next generation — that is to say, where they could not agree, they could agree to borrow the difference, and expect the next generation to pick up the tab.

This was never moral nor responsible but it was workable so long as each generation was wealthier than the last, so that the next generation would have the money to pay for the previous one’s profligacy and irresponsibility.

What happens when that is no longer true?

Read the rest of this entry »


Inside Job: Obama and Congress Are Choosing to Cause a Recession

President Obama recently said, “The most important lesson I’ve learned is you can’t change Washington from the inside.” That’s demoralizing to hear when a recession is bearing down on the economy—and it’s an inside job.

The Congressional Budget Office has forecasted a fresh recession to hit next year if Taxmageddon, a nearly $500 billion tax increase, hits the nation and Congress and the President drive us off the “fiscal cliff.” President Obama has done nothing but ignore this warning.

In a new report, Heritage’s J.D. Foster explains that the very fact that we can see a recession coming is shocking. “Economic forecasters almost never forecast recessions,” he says. “Those few who do forecast recessions do so with great frequency and belong to the doom-and-gloom school of economics.” Yet we can see this one a mile away…

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