MADE IN AMERICA

Fair Trade vs. Free Trade

One of the things you can say about Donald J. Trump is that he’s consistent, but he’s hardly ever right. For example, he thinks he knows a lot about money. The logic runs something like this: “I made a billion dollars, so I know how to fix things.”

It would be different if the stock market wasn’t at all-time highs. It would be different if the unemployment rate was in the toilet. But as the administration rolled out fire trucks and back hoes on the front lawn of the White House to promote their America First dogma, the headline in the Washington Post was “Trump’s ‘Made in America’ week is a hypocritical joke.” None of Donald and Ivanka Trump products are made in America. Ivanka’s shoes, handbags, blouses, dresses, jeans and shirts are made in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and China and Donald’s ties and suits are made in China, Bangladesh and Mexico. When confronted with this fact, the two moguls say, “Everybody else does it.” Really?

Why does the press keep slapping this man? It seems like everything our President touches turns into a controversy at least and a bag of flaming crap at worst. Our very own Don “Quixote” Trump is not only fighting windmills, he is attempting to stop Niagara Falls with his bare hands. Our brave hero.

One of the lessons of war that escapes Donald Trump is what happened after the World Wars. The first war led to the losers to disastrous economic plights that turned people inward and voted for people like Hitler and Mussolini.

The nations of victors in WWII knew that they had to help the economies of many countries to make sure that peace would last. The United States basically took Japan on as a special project. We airlifted in experts and technologies to teach the Japanese how to make many products.

The hard-working Japanese culture and South Korean’s post conflict manufacturing produced some of the finest electronics for the world, and still does. The Donald must have been busy being rich in the 1950s and doesn’t remember how America was flooded with cheap products, like transistor radios, that were labeled Made in Japan.

As more and more American companies realized that they could get cheap parts for their products, the flood gates opened. Many of our automotive offerings needed more and more computer technologies, thus the need to import more parts from other countries. We also created giant discount box-stores that sold everything from TVs to T-Shirts at rock bottom prices. How did they do it? They bought products from other countries that were made by low wage workers.

While the United States knew that workers and factories here were being phased out, we kept thinking we could move those workforces to other industries. That only happened when the worker saw the writing on the wall early and had the capabilities to serve the needs of another field.

Training was essential to complete the migration from the agricultural age to the manufacturing age. Did we forget about this? Logic follows that it would take the re-education of millions of workers to pull off the conversion this time. Some people just don’t want to change.

Now, our great Orange Leader wants us to brand all our products with ‘Made in America.’ I get that, but it’s just a Band-Aid. In fact, the Band-Aid was invented in 1920 by Thomas Anderson and Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson in Highland Park, New Jersey. Not all bandages are made in America, but they are a great example of an American invention that the world now uses. And the examples are countless. We design things, we just cannot make them at reasonable prices because Americans demand a wage to match our prosperous economy. Double-edged sword.

When NAFTA (North American Free-Trade Agreement) was signed, products moved from Canada and Mexico into the US without tariff. We also sold tons of stuff to those two countries.

According to the United States of America Trade Representative (an office of the President): The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Mexico was $55.6 billion in 2016. Mexico is currently our 3rd largest goods trading partner with $525.1 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $231.0 billion; goods imports totaled $294.2 billion.

And their figures on Canada are similar: U.S. goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $627.8 billion in 2016. Exports were $320.1 billion; imports were $307.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016. Canada is currently our 2nd largest goods trading partner with $544.0 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016.

As you can see, this cry-baby tantrum about “fair trade” is foolish rhetoric by the President on the NAFTA deal. As far as China and other Pacific Rim countries are concerned it’s a different question, but best not to ask too loudly. With the amount of U.S. debt that Chinese banks hold, and our need for China to control North Korea, we might want to carefully plan what we say. Best not to Tweet.

Why does Trump keep complaining about trade? He skillfully convinced those workers who have been displaced by global trade to vote for him. He has to keep them in the hypnotic trance where he promises to magically take them back to a “better time.”

The mantra of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” only means something if the great one can actually create more jobs. Focusing on coal mining is convoluted logic. Coal has been displaced by natural gas and the good news, the US is pumps lots of that resource. The symbolism might be rich, but Trump is regressive in his thinking. Why did China just take the lead on producing solar energy products? Did we miss that?

Trump actually thinks that getting rid of regulations will magically grow plants and jobs. Rules don’t keep people from being successful, global markets do. Even if we got rid of every regulation, we would still have to produce steel at a price that competes. ‘Globals’ will always be able to make things cheaper and we could tax the imports but that would increase the price here. Why make the America consumer pay for your trade myopia?

What Donald Trump really doesn’t understand is that he’s a President for 1959, not a president for 2017. It’s too late to stop the windmills of the world from turning. If they don’t sell to America, they will sell to someone else. The water will keep coming over the falls, because that is what nature does.

Trump’s one man fight against globalization might make him look like Captain America, but in reality he’s just another America businessman taking advantage of Free Trade for his own benefit. Buy one of his ties, you’ll see where it was made.


“NOBODY REALLY KNOWS”

Trump Sows the Seed of Doubt

Donald Trump is an interesting speaker. After saying that “Nobody really knows” who hacked our 2016 national election, he says, “And there’s nothing wrong with that statement.” Much like salting his verbiage with the plea “Believe me,” it serves to block or deny the interviewer the next question, “What is the truth, Mr. President.” Clearly to him, the truth is what he says it is and one thing for sure, he doesn’t want anyone to question him.

When Trump says in his legal documents, which we call tweets: “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years.” We see that he is irritated at how the US has handled that country in the past. There are times when I feel sorry for President Trump. He lives in a world where everybody that came before him is stupid, or incompetent. In his little, inexperienced mind, everybody else is not smart and surely the solution is simple. He asks, “Why didn’t they do something?”

The reason I feel sorry for him is because as he gets closer to any real problem, he finally realizes it’s complicated, like healthcare. Because he believes only he knows a better solution, he fails to comprehend the reasons things haven’t been achieved before is because global problems are multifaceted. He does understand that three out of the five things you could do would be a total disaster. The two good ideas are only good for us. And for how long?

When asked earlier about what he would do if North Korea launched an ICBM (A rocket that could make it from Asia to US soil) Trump tweeted, “It won’t happen!” Well, I guess that was “Fake News” because in fact, Kim Jong Un carried out a test of what most experts agree was an ICBM capable of at least reaching to Alaska and Sarah Palin’s back porch.

In his unrelenting desire to denigrate the previous president, Trump cares not where he is or what audience is listening. He will do everything he can to put-down Obama. Does Trump realize that from Truman to Obama there were eleven presidents who had to deal with North Korea and nothing has changed? There have been eleven presidents before Trump since Israel was created and we still don’t have peace in the Middle East. Nobody really knows if Trump knows this.

Back to North Korea, Trump was very critical about previous administrations declaring “red lines,” whether they were in the sand, or in the snow or on poorly drawn maps, but now that President Trump is confronted with less than adoring support from many of the other nations of the world, he will have to make his due with the devil. And who is the devil? The very man who many think helped him get elected. Putin will want more than he gives.

Nobody really knows if Donald Trump is smart enough to be President, but we do know that the people around him have little sway on what he thinks, what he does or what a new world order should be. His ping-ponging between sword rattling and attempting to outsource his problems to Russia or China have failed. Both world powers have no intention of carrying out any plan that would weaken their economies or stature on the world stage. Both Russia and China like selling things to North Korea. Russia loves to sell things to Cuba, Iran and Syria. Most likely, Japan and Germany will craft a trade deal that will hurt Detroit and there is nothing Trump can do nothing about it.  If only Trump was open to some free trade that would help America.

Trump could use some strong counseling on the fact that his sowing doubt makes him sound unsure of himself. Why wouldn’t you want the leader of the free world to know things? He claims he knows more than everyone else, but on certain things he  is passive, clueless and uninvolved, perhaps posturing so that someone else can take the blame. A blamer always needs someone to blame.

Now, after saying he would be able to stop North Korean’s leader from testing rockets and nukes, he has thrown out increasingly stern warnings. According to the Washington Post (7-6-2017), In Warsaw, Trump said the United States was considering “some pretty severe things” in response to what he called “very, very bad behavior” from the North, although he did not mention any specific plans. “Something will have to be done about it.”

Nobody really knows what “something” could be. Perhaps, our great Donald is still formulating those ideas. It’s pretty clear to the world that if you want to stop someone from doing something you either talk to them or punch them. Trump sure does a lot of talking, but he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is. Perhaps he wants to use someone else’s money to solve problems that won’t go away.

With trade, climate and immigration on the table, with the EU and Syria, North Korea and ISIS being important to Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, our President should be prepared to listen as much as he talks.

Trump should work on knowing the issues and proper answers and stop watering down his speeches with anti-press, anti-Obama and anti-trade tirades. Nobody knows why he does it, and nobody outside of the US cares about his fake fight with CNN. Focus, Donald, Focus!

 

 

 


PLAYING THE TRUMP CARD

The Jester at the World Leader Table

If you play a trump card during a game of Spades, you take the whole trick, or in non-card terms, you get to pick up every card on the table. That makes you the winner. The trump card sounds like the strong member of the deck, but the name has slightly different roots. From old English(1500s), trump meant to “deceive, cheat” and then from Middle English trumpen. The old French tromper also meant “to deceive.”

We should remind our readers that Trump’s last name is not the original version of his name. His family were Drumpf’s in Germany and they changed their name to Trump. Another deception in play here, but either way, the word Trump doesn’t always have positive connotations.

The leaders of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union will gather at the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The meetings will begin on Friday, July 7, 2017.

In an interview in the German weekly, Die Zeit, Angela Merkel said, “While we are looking at the possibilities of cooperation to benefit everyone, globalization is seen by the American administration more as a process that is not about a win-win situation but about winners and losers.”  It was clear that she was taking the first shot across the bow of the USS Donald Trump.

This is a great lesson in the destructive power of over-statement. In the hours and hours of titillating campaign tirades and over-modulated microphones, the Donald made it very clear that it was going to be “America First!” In his bombast, he belittled the whole notion of globalization.

His raspy bleating convinced many voters that the rest of the world was ripping America off and they were the reason for the torment of our middle class. Guiltless, in Trump’s accusations, were the rich Wall Street oligarchy, who Trump relates to more than the common man.

The President’s conundrum was produced by his own reckless mouth. He talks about how it would be good to befriend Russia so that they can help us beat ISIS, without any apparent regard that Russia is an ally of Iran and will only go so far in the Middle East quagmire. Can Donald Trump not comprehend that Putin likes Assad and wants him to stay on top of Syria? You know, the guy who gassed the kids.

Trump probably forgot that Russia (Then, the USSR) spent nine years of direct involvement and occupation in Afghanistan. They may fly some sorties and drop some bombs, but they certainly aren’t going to bomb Damascus. They don’t even believe that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. What Trump wants from them, they have no intention giving him. It’s what THEY WANT that should make us nervous.

As far as China goes, why would they want to thwart Kim Jong Un now? Trump tweeted this morning (7-5-2017): “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” This tweet comes right before the dealer is ready to split the deck, so Trump farts at the table.

Why would the G20 nations think that Trump can be trusted after not even restating the commitment to Article 5 at the NATO meetings? Yes, he finally said he would, but what a dud not uniting the NATO group when they were all face-to-face.

When the bully is being attacked by another bigger bully from another playground, why does the home bully think that he can rally the tormented to help him thump the invader? Merkel wants to make sure the EU is protected and that means keeping Russia in its own borders and off line. Russia wants only to disrupt America. China wants to make sure Trump thinks he’s in charge. And the other kids on the playground just want to make sure that a global unity helps them maintain stability in their own homes.

What Donald Trump thought he needed to say to get elected has isolated him from those who really listen and want America to be successful. Trump sacrificed his credibility with all the players around the table with lies, exaggerations and ludicrous statements about how things work.

When everyone else shows their strong face cards, Trump will be left with the cards he pilfered from the deck before the other people arrived. Trump has continually played the isolation card and sadly, he’s been showing the Joker more than any other card at the world table. Someone needs to tell our great “Orange Leader” that the Joker has no value at this table.

 


IMPATIENT AND “UN” AWARE

Trump’s Challenge: North Korea

That great term, “sword rattling” takes us back to simpler times, which were just as complicated as they are today. As a country, we don’t get to pick the leaders of the nations of the world. Leaders move to the top of a government sometimes because of birthright, while others kill their way to the top. And in democratic places, some run, campaign and get elected. Their viewpoints will either light the way, or cast a shadow over the land they rule.

Donald Trump ran his campaign on hardened opinions based on his consumption of extremely skewed media outlets and conspiracy theories. He railed against China by mentioning their currency manipulation and trade advantage over the US in almost every rally. He said few negative things about Russia. Trump also claimed he knew more about things like ISIS than his generals, but now that he is President it’s important that he actually listens to his generals.

On the day before the 4th of July, this nation’s 241st birthday, Kim Jong Un ordered the launch of what his press described as an ICBM that could reach the United States. Trump is now becoming aware that Little Kim is taunting the leader of the free world. In fact, the missile traveled 578 miles and made it two-thirds of the way to Japan.

In the Rose Garden (6-30-2017) Trump made a big announcement about the Asian country when he said, “The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. And, frankly, that patience is over.” Okay, not quite a red line, but in a communist country, red is not such a bad color.

Once again, our federally paid tweet teenager took to the internet even before he knew the nature of the missile to weigh in on this crisis, “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”

When I read that tweet, I LOL’d. The line that stuck out was, Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? And I thought, yeah, that little monster, lucky-sperm leader is launching missiles and our great orange hope is launching tweets. Why isn’t he just talking to Japan and South Korea? It sounds like he is pitching a movie idea to China. What does he mean by “heavy move.” Isn’t that what Trump said he did with women he thought attractive?

According to the New York Times (6-26-2017): “South Korea’s foreign minister indicated strongly on Monday that her government would honor an agreement to deploy an American missile-defense system despite protests and economic retaliation from China.” That seems a bit far from what you want China to do, Mr. Trump.

The Donald might be impatient with North Korea, but he has to understand that country’s complexities. If General MacArthur in the 1950s would have been allowed to continue his march beyond the 38th parallel, who knows what Korea would be as a unified country, today. China wanted a buffer between a working democracy, albeit corruptible, in South Korea and what they want to believe is modern communism in China. Remember, it was China that convinced Truman to “stand down” and fire MacArthur to avoid another world war.

Trump showed his feelings about China’s lack of involvement in his tweet (June 20, 2017), “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Why is our President attempting to shame leaders of major countries into action? It’s almost more important for him to have a running commentary on his feelings. O.M.G. Our president is like a teenage girl writing in her diary every night: Dear Diary…

While China and South Korea would like more discourse between countries, Trump is doing his best at making this about the cult of personality rather than real political diplomacy. Well, to be truthful, Trump is not a diplomatic person. Why is he President again?

Trump toys with people on tweeter and screams about his big bad enemy, the press, at his politically motivated rallies, while Kim Jong Un toys with nations with missiles. The frightening reality is that Un would sacrifice his country’s 25 million people just to prove that he is the boss. What are Trump’s priorities?

Trump may say he is impatient, but what is next? If the President of the United States cannot rally nations and the strong characters who care about the world, he is wasting his time with those 140 characters on Twitter. Those leaders want to know what is the plan and that includes, what happens after Kim Jong Un is gone. Unfortunately, most of those same leaders are looking forward to the time Trump is gone.

 

 


TRUMP INVADES GERMANY

Attacks Fake News on Twitter

Donald Trump once again has shown the world exactly who he is and it’s embarrassing. This morning (5-30-2017) he proclaimed that Germany is somehow hurting the US economy. This is a funny tweet coming just days after the man was face to face with the Chancellor of Germany. Angela Merkel is surely thinking, “What just happened?”

I’m sure many of Trump’s rich friends drive Mercedes Benz and BMW cars, so why the post G-7 attack on the country that makes these quality automobiles? Mr. Know-It-All President says his trip was such a success, while the leaders in Europe are wondering what this guy is on.

Let’s just take a look at the concept of cars. Sales people at Mercedes dealerships are some of the highest paid people in automotive sales. The technicians at dealerships are also highly paid specialists. They are American workers who benefit from the products that Germany makes.

Mercedes claims that more than 350,000 Mercedes cars are sold in the US every year, while Media Monitors says there are 360 Mercedes dealerships in this country. Lots of jobs there.

We also built Mercedes Benz vehicles here. The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Sport Utility and the full-sized GL-Class Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle are built at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International production facility near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the home state of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

It’s simple. When a news story is negative, it is fake news. When he tweets, we are asked to assume the position of, “this tweet speaks for itself.” Really? What does it mean to say that we have a “Massive Trade Deficit” with Germany?

According to the CNN Money web site: in 2016, the U.S. trade gap with Germany was $67.8 billion, the second largest in the world. America’s trade deficit with China, at $310 billion, was the only one larger.

But Germany also bought $80.4 billion worth of American goods and services last year, more than was purchased by any other European country except the United Kingdom.

Does Donald Trump really understand how trade works? We are starting to see that his priorities on policy are based on how things make him look, rather than what is the most important aspects for America. Rather than putting America First, it appears that putting Donald Trump first is more important.

His rants and tweet storms may be fun for him and his 30% devout followers they call his “base” but what about the 70% of America who just want him to do a good job? Every decision he makes is driven by the penchant to disrupt rather than lead.

You can’t keep attacking friends, like Germany and expect every news story to be bright and positive. Sean Spicer can pronounce that the 9-day trip was a success, but in reality, the damage that Trump left behind will hurt us for years to come.

Who is the real enemy here? Russia seems to be winning. Why is that?