Monthly Archives: April 2018

Trump will delay the start of possible trade war with some of the US’s closest allies

President Donald Trump

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President Donald Trump
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Pool/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump announced extensions to steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for six key US allies on Monday.
  • The move will allow the US and the allies, including the European Union and Canada, more time to work out ways to reduce trade imbalances.
  • Trump’s extensions also likely delay the start of a trade war with those countries granted exemptions.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced Monday that it would extend exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs for some of the US’s closest allies, avoiding the start of a possible trade war.

Trump decided to postpone imposing the tariffs and extend exemptions that will allow the countries to continue exporting metals to the US without being subject to a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum.

The exemptions will now last until June 1, a move that gives the US and the exempted nations more time to work out deals to help reduce trade imbalances.

Trump originally did not plan to exempt any countries when the tariffs were first announced. But similar to his other moves on trade, Trump backed down on the threat. A half-dozen allies were eventually granted a temporary exemption: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Canada, and Mexico.

According to a statement from the administration, the exemptions for Canada, Mexico, and the EU will be extended for a “final 30 days” as negotiations continue with those countries. The US is seeking quotas, or a set limit on the amount of imports, in exchange for a permanent exemption.

“In all of these negotiations, the Administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security,” the administration said in a statement.

The administration also said that “agreements in principle” to permanently exempt Argentina, Australia, and Brazil were reached, but additional time was needed to hash out the details.

As part of the agreement, South Korea secured a permanent exemption from the tariffs in exchange for an annual quota on Korean metal exports to the US.

The exemptions are significant because the countries represent a large percentage of imported steel and aluminum. Five of the top 10 steel exporters to the US were provided exemptions and two exempted countries, Canada and Argentina, make up 55% of all aluminum imported by the US.

In addition to the direct economic consequence of the exemptions, the move also prevents those countries from taking retaliatory action against the US.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were in Washington, DC, to meet with Trump last week, and both stressed the need to keep open the trade channels between the EU and the US. But, in the event that Trump did not grant extensions, the EU threatened to impose tariffs on the US.

In a statement to Business Insider, a UK government spokesperson said the country was encouraged by the exemption extension but was concerned about possible economic distortions caused by the tariffs.

“It is positive that the UK has been granted a further exemption to these tariffs. We will continue to work closely with our EU partners and the US government to achieve a permanent exemption, ensuring our important steel and aluminum industries are safeguarded,” the spokesperson said.

“We remain concerned about the impact of these tariffs on global trade and will continue to work with the EU on a multilateral solution to the global problem of overcapacity, as well as to manage the impact on domestic markets.”

For now, these actions, and a probable trade war, are likely to be delayed by Trump’s extension.

Billionaires, costume designers, and beer: I spent a day at the Space Symposium and learned about how the tech elite will conquer the final frontier

  • The 34th annual Space Symposium recently took place in Colorado.
  • It was full of excitement and included a visit from Vice President Mike Pence and rockets being built by tech billionaires such as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

There were four themes at this year’s Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

1. The rising influence of tech billionaires such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, SpaceX’s Elon Musk, and Virgin Group’s Richard Branson.

2. The fact that between trade shows and the space industry, augmented reality and virtual reality have found their business use case – especially both together.

3. Everyone is working on putting humans on Mars.

4. Space-based businesses are booming, with billions of dollars of venture funding pouring in annually.

Here’s a look at my trip to the Space Symposium, and what I learned:


The annual Space Symposium took place in April in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

Colorado Springs is the home of the Air Force Academy and the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD Complex, an underground nuclear bunker.


While Colorado is famous for its high country (in more ways than one), it has become the nation’s second-largest space economy after California. Colorado is home to more than 400 aerospace companies, which employ 25,000 private aerospace workers, according to the Colorado Space Coalition.

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Colorado Space Coalition

The industry group the Colorado Space Coalition has the cute tagline “One mile closer to space.”


In fact, a small airport in Colorado is expected to achieve FAA approval in August to become a space-launch port. There are only 10 other space ports in the US.

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Spaceport Colorado

Virgin Galactic, the space company owned by billionaire Richard Branson, is expected to use it as a launch point.


One of the stars of the show was the Dream Chaser spacecraft, built by Sierra Nevada. It is a reusable shuttle that can carry stuff to and from the International Space Station.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

It won a contract to do six trips between 2019 and 2024. In other words, some new competition for SpaceX. Another shuttle, built by Orbital ATK, also won part of the shuttle contract.


Another star of the show was the latest Blue Origin rocket engine. This company was founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is trying to make space travel more affordable.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

Blue Origin is building reusable rockets for traveling to and from space.


The Blue Origin rocket on display was the latest model, the BE-4.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

The CEO of Blue Origins spoke at the conference but under a top-secret track that required government clearance to hear the talk.


Gwynne Shotwell, the COO of SpaceX, was also at the show. She spoke at a dinner for new Space Technology Hall of Fame inductees. Everyone was talking about the billionaires making big moves in space, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

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YouTube/TED 2018

Space activist Rick Tumlinson called them the “Billionaire Calvary,” and credited them for the exploding venture investment into space companies. Those investments amounted to $3.9 billion last year alone.


This show attracted participation from international space agencies, such as Germany’s DLR program.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

At the show, the DLR was inducted into the Space Hall of Fame for its lasers that can beam data around space, giving internet connectivity to airplanes, satellites, internet balloons, and other airborne devices.


Unlike casual dress tech industry conferences, the Space Symposium, composed mostly of military and military contractors, was strictly business dress.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

One person told us a story of how a company’s technician tried to get on to the show floor to fix something, but were denied entry because they were wearing jeans.


When Vice President Mike Pence spoke, the show organizers told journalists that they would be kicked out if they wore jeans or tennis shoes. They wanted dress slacks, shirt and tie for men, and skirts/blouse, dresses for women, although dress slacks were considered OK, too.

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Business Insider/Space Symposium

They sent this out in an email. The email also said the vice president was going to deliver his speech, but would not take questions or do interviews.

The White House published his speech here. In addition to praising the military, NASA and the Trump administration, Pence also mentioned that NASA would be constructing a Lunar Orbital Platform.

NASA later said it would be looking to award contracts for construction of the platform in 2019.


NASA’s booth was a highlight too. It featured a contest called the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, where NASA is asking people to try to design items astronauts need to live in space. NASA will be giving out a total of $3 million in prize money for winners.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

One of the things NASA wants is “sustainable housing solutions” that will use advanced materials and whatever dirt, rocks and the like available on Earth, the moon and Mars.


NASA representative Janet Sudnik told us the story of Ted Southern. He was a Victoria’s Secret costume designer. He designed some comfortable gloves for astronauts that won second place and $100,000. He used the money to start up a company, and just won a contract for full space suits.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

The company is called Final Frontier Designs. By the way, the winner that year,Peter Homer, who won $200,000 and went on to win another design contest, and also founded a space-suit company. He also works for SpaceX.


Two things were everywhere: References to going to Mars, which all the big aerospace companies are working on. Elon Musk even wants to colonize Mars. And virtual-reality and augmented-reality headsets, which had a presence in many booths.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

Lockheed Martin, for instance, let showgoers try out this VR demo of what it might be like to go to Mars.


At Boeing, it was the Oculus Rift.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

I demoed a training simulation that flew me to the International Space Station.


Microsoft’s HoloLens was everywhere, too.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

Here I am at the Raytheon booth, along with a group of appropriately dressed businessmen, using software developed by Charles River Analytics.

The software shows how space-management control operators would use the device to track various aircraft on a 3D map.


There were so many HoloLens demos at the show that Microsoft even had a small booth.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

It used the booth to show off the HoloLens goggles.


Of course, the show also had objects from space you could touch, like this meteorite.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

It was heavier than it looked, composed mostly of iron ore. I was told that because this particular iron rock came from space, it cost as much as a car: at least $35,000.


In the afternoon, I left the conference and drove a few minutes to the Space Foundation, where they have a museum, open to the public, filled with artifacts from space missions.

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Space Foundation
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Space Foundation

This is a must-see for any science and space lover visiting Colorado Springs.


There are space suits.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

This is, alas, only a replica, of the suit worn in 2007.


But this is the actual space lab used in training astronauts in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

My guide, Rachel English, is the curator of the museum, and she’s particularly proud of this exhibit.

But there are dozens of really special pieces on display and lots of educational content for kids and adults to enjoy.


In the back, I found this showcase of all the surprising businesses that have been founded using technology from space.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

It includes everything from helmets to footwear to toys.


Space technology has led to engine lubricants for Earth-bound engines.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

This lubricant was created in conjunction with teams at NASA, and it is said to last longer than traditional varieties. And it’s biodegradable, to boot.


This beer drinker’s guide to Colorado (there are a lot of micro-breweries in the state) used NASA technology too.

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

The guide includes a map that was created using technologies developed for space. Because once you come back from space, the first order of business will be drinking a beer with your buddies.

Trump reportedly considered withdrawing all US troops from South Korea before the Winter Olympics — but John Kelly stepped in

White House chief of staff John Kelly and President Donald Trump.

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White House chief of staff John Kelly and President Donald Trump.
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Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump reportedly considered withdrawing US troops from the Korean Peninsula.
  • White House chief of staff John Kelly strongly opposed the idea and successfully changed Trump’s mind.
  • Trump later floated the idea of withdrawing US troops during a public speech, citing a “very big trade deficit.”

President Donald Trump reportedly considered withdrawing all US troops from the Korean Peninsula – around 28,000 of them – before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, according to an NBC News report published on Monday.

White House chief of staff John Kelly strongly opposed the plan and managed to convince Trump to reconsider, according to two officials cited in the report.

The proposed withdrawal would most likely have been met with opposition from lawmakers in both the US and South Korea, as the US’s presence in the country is largely seen as a deterrent against an historically hostile North Korea.

Trump has previously floated the idea of withdrawing US troops from South Korea in March, one month after the Winter Olympics. During a fundraising speech, Trump justified his position by pointing to “a very big trade deficit” with South Korea, and claiming “our allies care about themselves.”

“We lost money on trade, and we lose money on the military,” Trump said.

“We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea,” Trump continued. “Let’s see what happens.”

South Korean finance minister Kim Dong-yeon addressed Trump’s comments and said it was not “ideal to link an economic issue with such an issue [the withdrawal of US troops].”

News of Trump’s consideration to withdraw US troops comes amid a report that Kelly has soured on Trump and the White House. Kelly reportedly referred to Trump as an “idiot,” and viewed his own role as one in which he must save Trump from himself, the NBC News report claimed.

In a statement on Monday, Kelly denied the claims made in the report and reaffirmed his “incredibly candid and strong relationship” with Trump.

“He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS,” Kelly said. “I am committed to the President, his agenda, and our country.”

“This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes,” Kelly continued.

Apple deleted a revealing job listing that hints at plans to cut Qualcomm and Intel chips from future phones

  • Wireless networks are looking towards 5G, a new network technology that promises faster, higher bandwidth cellular internet.
  • So is Apple, according to a new job listing.

Apple is embroiled in a bitter legal battle over patents and royalties with Qualcomm, the chip maker that previously supplied all the modems that let iPhones connect to high-speed networks.

But the iPhone company is already looking forward towards a next-generation wireless technology – one that would reduce its dependence on companies like Qualcomm and let it control a key next-generation technology.

A job posting for a “mmWave IC design engineer” was recently taken down off Apple’s site, Cult of Mac noted on Monday.

The listing seems to be all about Apple creating a new chip in-house specially designed next-generation 5G networks, specifically millimeter wave networks, which promise much higher bandwidth than the current LTE networks iPhones connect to.

“In this highly visible role, you will be at the center of a silicon design group with a critical impact on getting functional products to hundreds of millions of customers quickly,” according to the listing.

“Work with platform architects, system group, and digital design group to define the requirements for mmWave phased-array front-end and baseband blocks based on the product requirements,” it continued. “Work with technology team and foundries on process evaluation/selection for the target device.”

Mirrors of the listing are still available on sites like Glassdoor, which said the job listing was posted on April 27. A Ph.D. is preferred for this job, according to the listing.

The listing is the closest thing to official confirmation that Apple plans to build its own 5G modem, instead of buying off-the-shelf components from Qualcomm or Intel. Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Testing 5G

Apple applied for

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Apple applied for “innovation zones” surrounding both of its headquarters to experiment with emerging wireless technology like 5G.
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FCC

Apple has been testing millimeter wave technology in Cupertino, California since last May.

It received an experimental license to test millimeter wave technology last May, Business Insider first reported.

“Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum,” the 2017 application read.

“These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks,” it continued.

Apple also joined an industry group for 5G technology last year as well.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Apple’s 5G plans will be revealed in new FCC documents. Last week, the FCC published applications in which Apple was seeking permission to conduct new radio frequency tests inside “innovation zones” at both its Apple Park headquarters and 1 Infinite Loop campus.

The applications were tied to a new FCC regulation that allows companies like Apple greater ability to experiment with wireless technologies without as much regulatory paperwork. The 2018 applications do mention a “gigahertz” band – the millimeter wave bands Apple previously applied for permission to test were 28 GHz and 39 GHz.

The future of wireless

INFINITE LOOP INNOVATION ZONE

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FCC

Even if Apple weren’t at legal war with Qualcomm, Apple might want its own 5G modem technology. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that Apple wants to own all of its core technologies – and that includes silicon like the chips Qualcomm makes.

5G is certainly an exciting technology. Sprint and T-Mobile have said their plan to build a 5G network is one of the reasons the two companies are merging, and the two carriers expect their network to be ready for devices as soon as 2019.

Experts have said that millimeter wave is only one technology that will make up the 5G standard, which is still being finalized. The big advantage to millimeter wave is that it can achieve very high data rates, with much more bandwidth than current cellular networks.

However, there are drawbacks to millimeter wave technology as well. One issue is a “propagation” problem, which means that its waves can’t travel very far before they start losing information. Another problem with millimeter waves is often it requires a clear line-of-sight between the device and the transmitter.

Of course, Apple’s scientists and researchers are probably well aware of these drawbacks – but if it can develop a critical next-generation technology and cut out a legal foe at the same time, why wouldn’t it?

The full text of the job listing is below:

mmWave IC Design Engineer Job Number: 113681632 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 27, 2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary

In this highly visible role, you will be at the center of a silicon design group with a critical impact on getting functional products to hundreds of millions of customers quickly.

As a millimeter-wave IC design engineer, you will be responsible for providing circuit and system solutions for multi-gigabit wireless chips. Key Qualifications The ideal candidate will have 8+ years of mmWave, RF, and analog integrated circuit design experience, with 3+ years in mmWave CMOS or SiGe circuit design. Extensive knowledge of all or many of the following fields: •Deep understanding in system specification and able to work with system architects to translate system requirement into circuit requirement at IC level. Familiar with various RF transceiver architectures and their trade-offs. •Deep understanding of fundamental microwave theories and concepts; such as transmission-lines concepts, power waves and scattering parameters, power gain expressions, gain, noise, and VSWR design trade offs. •Extensive experience in simulation and design of lumped and distributed passive structures; such CPW lines, coupled lines, directional couplers, dividers/combiners, phase shifters, inductors, and capacitors. •Extensive experience in analysis, design, and implementation of mmWave low-noise, broadband, and/or high-power amplifiers •Extensive experience in analysis, design, and implementation of mmWave frequency converting blocks and oscillators •Understanding of mmWave device modeling. Insights into packaging effects, integrated antenna arrays, supply isolations, high frequency ESD structures, and circuit layout for optimum performance. •Extensive experience in high frequency silicon characterization and debug.

Description

•Work with platform architects, system group, and digital design group to define the requirements for mmWave phased-array front-end and baseband blocks based on the product requirements. Work with technology team and foundries on process evaluation/selection for the target device. Design various transceiver blocks in TX, RX, and LX chains. Work with the design, layout, and chip integration teams to integrate the IP’s and verify the top level functionality and performance Work with mmWave test engineers to bring up and characterize chips

Education

MSEE is required. Ph.D is preferred

Deadly day in Afghanistan: 10 journalists, 1 US soldier, and multiple civilians killed in 4 separate incidents

Afghan security forces stand guard near the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.

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Afghan security forces stand guard near the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
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REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

  • Monday was a deadly day in Afghanistan, as 10 journalists, one US soldier, and multiple civilians were killed in four separate incidents across the country.
  • One US soldier was killed and another wounded in an incident in eastern Afghanistan.
  • A BBC journalist was also shot dead in an incident in Khost province.
  • Eight Romanian soldiers, as well as multiple Afghan police officers and civilians, were killed and wounded in a car bombing in Kandahar province.

Monday was a deadly day in Afghanistan, as 10 journalists, one US soldier, Romanian soldiers, Afghan soldiers, and multiple civilians were killed in four separate incidents across the country.

Two suicide bombers detonated their devices near Afghan intelligence headquarters in Kabul in the first incident, killing at least 25 people and wounding 49, according to the Associated Press.

The first suicide bomber blew himself up while on a motorbike, and the second one was on foot, blending in with a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene after the first explosion. He set off his device while mixed in with the journalists, the Associated Press reported.

Among the journalists killed was a veteran AFP photographer, Shah Marai, and three RFE/RL journalists.

Journalists from TV 1 and Mashal TV were also killed, and Reuters and Al Jazeera reporters were wounded, according to Reporters Without Borders, adding that it was the deadliest attack on journalists since 2001.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack online, the Associated Press reported.

NATO soldiers take cover from dust and debris from a Chinook helicopter landing after Afghan police special forces took part in a military exercise in Logar province, Afghanistan November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

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NATO soldiers take cover from dust and debris from a Chinook helicopter landing after Afghan police special forces took part in a military exercise in Logar province, Afghanistan November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
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REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Later, a US soldier was killed and another was wounded in combat in eastern Afghanistan, according to a CENTCOM statement. Multiple Afghan soldiers were also killed and wounded during the operation.

The wounded US soldier was taken to Bagram Airfield’s hospital, where his condition was stabilized, the statement said.

“My thoughts and those of US Forces-Afghanistan are with the families and friends of our fallen and wounded service members,” Gen. John Nicholson said in the CENTCOM statement. “Their valiancy in battle, and that of the brave Afghan partners they fought alongside, will endure in our hearts and history.”

In another separate incident, a car bomb detonated in Kandahar province, killing and wounding Romanian soldiers, multiple Afghan police officers and civilians, according to Al Jazeera. The attack killed 16 people – 11 students and five Romanian soldiers.

In yet another attack on a journalist, Ahmad Shah, who worked for the BBC and contributed to Reuters, was shot dead while driving home in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

Tributes have since poured in online for Marai, the AFP photographer killed in Kabul, who joined the wire service in 1996 and left behind six children. In 2016, he penned a heavyhearted essay describing how all hope in the wartorn country had faded since the US invasion in 2001.

“But there is no more hope. Life seems to be even more difficult than under the Taliban because of the insecurity,” Marai wrote. “I don’t dare to take my children for a walk. I have five and they spend their time cooped up inside the house. Every morning as I go to the office and every evening when I return home, all I think of are cars that can be booby-trapped, or of suicide bombers coming out of a crowd. I can’t take the risk. So we don’t go out.”

“I have never felt life to have so little prospects and I don’t see a way out. It’s a time of anxiety,” he wrote at the end.

You can see more of Marai’s work here.

In November, the US began quietly ramping up the war in Afghanistan, initiating a new strategy that targets Taliban drug labs with airstrikes. The strategy has been criticized by some as a game of “whack-a-mole” since the Taliban can reportedly rebuild the labs in just a matter of days.

The US is spending about $45 billion per year in Afghanistan, where it has been at war for nearly 17 years, making it the longest in American history.

‘Total BS’: John Kelly fires back after report says he calls Trump an ‘idiot’ in private

President Donald Trump (R) speaks to the press after the new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) was sworn in, in the Oval Office of the White House, July 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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President Donald Trump (R) speaks to the press after the new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) was sworn in, in the Oval Office of the White House, July 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Mike Theiler/Getty

  • White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly denigrated President Donald Trump in private on multiple occasions, NBC News reported Monday.
  • Kelly, who reportedly casts himself as a savior of the administration, has reportedly called Trump an “idiot.”
  • “He says stuff you can’t believe,” a senior White House official told NBC.
  • Kelly dismissed the claims as “total BS” in a statement on Monday.

White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly denigrated President Donald Trump in private on multiple occasions, questioning the president’s intelligence and casting himself as the country’s savior, according to a Monday NBC News report.

Kelly has referred to Trump as an “idiot” multiple times, four officials who say they’ve witnessed the remarks told NBC. And the former department of homeland security chief is particularly critical of what he reportedly sees as Trump’s weak understanding of policy, particularly immigration-related.

“He doesn’t even understand what DACA is. He’s an idiot,” Kelly said in a meeting about the program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children, according to two officials in attendance. “We’ve got to save him from himself.”

Kelly has made public comments about what he called Trump’s evolution on immigration issues, telling Fox News in January that the president was not “fully informed” about the border wall and other policy proposals during his presidential bid.

“He says stuff you can’t believe,” a senior White House official told NBC of Kelly. “He’ll say it and you think, ‘That is not what you should be saying.'”

Kelly denied the claims on Monday, calling them a “pathetic attempt to smear” him.

“I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS,” Kelly said in a statement. “I am committed to the president, his agenda, and our country.”

He went on, “This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”

In perhaps the most controversial moment of his tenure as chief of staff, Kelly was heavily criticized for his role in a scandal surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned from his post after his two former wives publicly accused him of physical and verbal abuse.

Kelly, who reportedly knew of issues with Porter’s security clearance for months, released a statement praising the top staffer as “a man of true integrity and honor,” even after the abuse allegations were published in the media. In another statement more than 24 hours later, Kelly said he was “shocked by the new allegations,” but continued to defend Porter, who called the claims “a coordinated smear campaign.”

The president, who lavished praise on Porter after the staffer’s resignation, was reportedly privately furious with Kelly’s response to the situation. Kelly later said he mishandled his response to the allegations.

Current and former White House officials told NBC that Kelly wondered aloud how much more Porter would have to go through before his reputation could be restored.

Kelly has also reportedly made occasional remarks that disturbed female staffers, including asserting that women are more emotional than men – a claim he made in front of the president, four sources said.

And Trump has reportedly grown frustrated with Kelly over the last several months, sidelining him in important personnel and policy discussions and increasingly making decisions without his input.

Current and former White House officials told NBC they don’t think Kelly will last past July – his one-year mark in the White House.

How Amazon’s decision to spend billions on video is paying off

For $99 a year, Amazon Prime subscribers get exclusive access to all of its original video content and two-day shipping. The goal is to draw Amazon Prime subscribers in with content and then use the perks to turn those subscribers into consistent shoppers. “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes,” Bezos said at a 2016 technology conference.

In order to determine the entire cost of each in-house production to the company, Amazon considers the total amount spent on marketing and production for a show, and compares it to the number of new Prime subscribers who opted to watch that show first, according to internal company documents revealed by Reuters. The assumption is that these subscribers signed up for Amazon Prime primarily to access that show.

As this chart from Statista shows, the result is a breakdown of the cost per first stream. Even though Amazon spent almost the same amount on production and marketing on the first seasons of “Grand Tour” and “Good Girls Revolt,” the graph shows that the difference in cost per subscriber is vastly different.

Chart of the Day COTD

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Trump’s ‘Art of the Squeal’ could really screw up US trade

BRING ME TARIFFS LITTLE BOY!

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BRING ME TARIFFS LITTLE BOY!
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Reuters

  • The President has become known for making outrageous demands to start a negotiation and then moderating them as is closes.
  • At this point, this tactic won’t solve some of our looming trade issues as Trump has taken the more moderate paradigm off the table. The default now is hostility.
  • To avoid a trade war we have to negotiate new deals. So far we don’t know if this administration can do that.

It works like this.

First President Trump makes some bold (or terrifying) policy goal – like leaving NAFTA, or withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan. He tweets about it, he yells at his aids to get it done, starts throwing out nicknames etc.

Then everyone freaks out, and ultimately a very middle of the road solution is reached. Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that people in Trump’s orbit and on the side of the table from him are starting to recognize that this is basically his only negotiating tactic.

I call it The Art of the Squeal.

The result, ultimately, is a bunch of really tense interactions and chaffed relationships for nothing because the Trump administration does nothing. It’s just a bunch of noise. Most situations end up status quo antebellum. The whole process is embarrassing (remember when Trump threatened not to sign off on the budget?) but so far this has worked out fine for the United States of America.

The problem now is that, at least with trade, we may be entering uncharted territory – one where it’s not okay for the administration to just do nothing.

Tuesday at 12:01 am

By Tuesday at 12:01 am the Trump administration has to decide whether or not to slap our allies (the EU, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina) with steel and aluminum tariffs. The tariffs were announced weeks ago but our allies were given an exemption until May 1.

In that time we were all supposed to come together and work out a deal – and by we I mean our allies the Commerce Department helmed by Wilbur Ross. Up to the time of this article’s publication that effort has failed. Ross failed.

As a result, we may be in a trade war with our allies this week – a trade war they do not want but are prepared to fight by putting duties on American goods like whiskey and Harley Davidson motorbikes.

“This is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this. But we have to do it,” EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said back in March. “We can also do stupid.”

This is a scary situation in part because the Trump administration backed itself into a corner where The Art of the Squeal no longer serves. There is no status quo antebellum here. There is no Congress or Joint Chiefs to come up with a plan (Think: Syria) or cajole Trump into doing the right thing or lose face (Think: signing Russia sanctions into law). Trump has removed the default setting and replaced it with a default to trade hostility.

This was a situation where the Trump administration actually had to do something – to negotiate a new set of rules and come to a consensus. Trade is complicated, and even the strongest man has to give a little. This is not a smash-and-grab job, which is what The Art of the Squeal is intended for (Bing bang bong!).

This is a job that requires delicate, experienced hands. Where do you see those in this White House?

Never go full ‘stupid’

In this case, part of the squeal was using the looming threat of tariffs to try to negotiate other deals for US goods. Instead of handling that issue delicately, the Commerce Department tacked a bunch more grievances onto its steel and aluminum deal, which couldn’t have helped negotiators trust the US delegates. Trade, unfortunately for our purposes, is built on trust.

So it didn’t work. Part of that could be general incompetence on Ross’ part. It could also be that the ratcheting up of tensions only served to make our allies stop thinking and embrace the stupidity. Finally, it could be that the biggest flaw in The Art of the Squeal is that it’s really good at destroying things (relationships, norms, Twitter feeds), but it really bad at creating things.

Down in Washington, the trade wonks are calling this new paradigm “deals-based trade” rather than “rules-based trade.”

Ostensibly this is a good thing if you’re good at doing trade deals. Unfortunately, it seems, we are not.

It’s a bit worrisome to know that Ross & Co., who fumbled a deal with our allies, are now heading to China to figure out a way to stop a trade war with China, our most sophisticated frenemy. According to the WSJ, the White House has not sent an advance team sent to Beijing to prepare.

Meanwhile, the team itself divided. According to reports, Mnuchin has wanted to take a meeting with his counterpart since late March after speaking with China economic enjoy over the phone. He and Kudlow are more amenable to a solution to trade rhetoric. Trump added Lighthizer and Navarro to the mix to get a more hawkish view in the room.

None of this matters if they don’t have a deal beyond Trump’s rhetoric, which the Chinese have already said is a non-starter. Trump wants the country to stop manipulating its currency and make structural changes to its industrial economy that would stop the country’s theft of US intellectual property and slow its technological development.

Xi just made a speech about the importance of technological advance that underscores the impossibility of coming to an agreement with the US if this is the only thing on the table. Unfortunately, according to reports, it is the only thing this delegation is bringing to the table.

Heavy on threats, light on solutions. Such is The Art of the Squeal.

CEO of supermarket chain caught singing ‘We’re in the money’ after $10 billion deal with Walmart

Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe.

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Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe.
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Reuters/Mary Turner

  • Mike Coupe, CEO of the UK-based supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, was caught on tape singing “We’re in the money” before a live TV interview on Monday.
  • Sainsbury’s has announced a merger with Walmart-owned UK supermarket chain Asda. Walmart will have a 42% stake in the combined companies.
  • Coupe later apologized.

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe might’ve chosen a different song to sing between TV interviews if he wanted to avoid scrutiny.

The UK supermarket CEO was caught on camera by British broadcaster ITV singing a popular show tune, “We’re in the money,” from the musical “42nd Street.” The ensuing interview was about how his company had just entered into an agreement to merge with a competing grocery chain, the Walmart-owned Asda.

Walmart would get a 42% share of ownership in the combined company and a payment of over $4 billion in cash. Sainsbury’s said the $10 billion deal would save the company almost $700 million a year, and its shares rose after the news of the merger hit.

Coupe released a statement of apology for his song choice.

“This was an unguarded moment trying to compose myself before a TV interview,” he said to ITV. “It was an unfortunate choice of song, from the musical 42nd Street which I saw last year and I apologise if I have offended anyone.”

The song’s timing left some wondering whether it was chosen purposely. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told the Guardian that “to attach any wider meaning to this innocent, personal moment is preposterous.”

To watch the entire moment, see below.

Michelle Wolf’s routine was mean-spirited and nasty — but it was far from unusual

Comedian Michelle Wolf performs at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington on April 28, 2018.

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Comedian Michelle Wolf performs at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington on April 28, 2018.
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REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

  • Michelle Wolf said mean things, but she was hired to entertain.
  • Donald Trump doesn’t have the same excuse.
  • The comedian’s comments were cruel, but in the current political climate, they were far from unusual.

Since the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, pockets of people from all across the political spectrum have criticized Michelle Wolf – and the organization that invited her – insisting that the the comedian’s jokes were cruel and unusual.

She targeted, among others, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ivanka Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, the mainstream media, and President Donald Trump himself.

But while Wolf’s rhetorical barbs might have indeed been cruel, in our current political climate they are certainly not unusual.

After making a joke about her own genitals, Wolf warned that the correspondents’ association “should have done more research before you asked me to do this.”

That may be correct. Peter Baker of The New York Times was certainly right when he tweeted: “I don’t think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight.”

But the overwhelming condemnation that’s been heaped upon Wolf is a bit much. Sanders might not have personally spent the last few months making fun of poor countries, the disabled, or the media, but she works for a man and an administration that has made a regular habit out of being unnecessarily obnoxious.

I think the best take on the controversy came from Bill Kristol, the founder of the Weekly Standard, who tweeted that “both of these are true: the half hour performance of comedienne Michelle Wolf was vulgar, unseemly, & damaging to our civic discourse. The three-year performance of candidate and president Donald Trump has been vulgar, unseemly & infinitely more damaging to our civic discourse.”

We can all acknowledge that Wolf’s remarks were mean-spirited, but she was hired to be funny and she was that in spades. An administration that throws stone after stone shouldn’t garner any sympathy when its glass house shatters from return fire.