11/16/18

Jim Acosta — Exclusive Interview

So, the Big Red Car scored an exclusive interview with Jim Acosta of CNN. You will recall that he recently was put in timeout by the Trump administration for misbehaving at a Presidential press conference.

In case you don’t know who he is, here is a picture of Jim at the White House before a press conference.

“Dear Diary, look it’s me and President Trump. Wow, look at me. Great hair, huh? Had it styled for today. That son-of-a-bitch Sam Donaldson had a bald noggin and a fake toupee. I have real hair and I’m real news. Real hair. Real news. Jimmy the Reporter Acosta. Yeah!”

As we are headed to print, a Federal Judge has ruled that too many people are being mean to Jim and that he should get his press pass back because he’s nice enough.

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10/24/18

Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff Revisited

Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff — what ever happened?

Big Red Car here on a drippy and rainy gray ATX day. It has been raining for almost a month.

Today, we talk about what really happened by the imposition of the Canadian Softwood Lumber 20.8% tariff back in May 2017.

Of course, the Canadians and the Americans – National Association of Home Builders – immediately began to cry foul predicting that the price of a US home would go up by $9000.

The business press said “Trump is an idiot. This will cause a huge trade war.”

Now, of course, we have some firm evidence as to what did happen. In fact, after hitting a peak of $653 per thousand board feet, the current price of lumber is $313.40/thousand board feet.

That’s right lumber has gone DOWN after the imposition of the tariff. Here is the price of a thousand board feet of lumber from the inception of the tariff until today.

Chart

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07/22/18

Dealing With Despots – USA Russia Summit Meetings

Big Red Car in the ATX, which is headed to 105F today – it looks like 112F on Monday. Hello, Texas summer! It hit 102F yesterday.

So, the entire kerfuffle of Putin – a despot – meeting with our president got me interested in the history of US-Russia summits. Turns out there is a lot of history which is pertinent to the subject.

What is particularly interesting to me is the first such summits.

The players were Stalin, Nikita Krushchev, Vice President Nixon, President Eisenhower, and President Kennedy.

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06/21/18

China, Tariffs, Trade War

China, tariffs, trade war – hello, America!

Big Red Car here on a gloriously sunny Thursday contemplating recent developments in regard to China, tariffs, and a trade war.

China is a bad actor and has been for years. They have been stealing American technology – both from an espionage perspective and an industrial/commercial perspective – for half a century.

But, it is not just the “big stuff” like software, hardware and military gear.

If you are going to be the King of the Jungle, you have to act like a lion.

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05/16/18

Sanctions Work – ZTE

Sanctions, Big Red Car? How dreary for such a sunny, lovely day in the ATX, yawn! OK, Big Red Car tell me about how sanctions work. Maybe a real world example?

Dear reader, let us take up the case of Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment, known as ZTE. They are a maker of inexpensive smartphones and other telecom equipment in more than 160 countries and employ 75,000 workers.

ZTE is no small fry on the international scene. When the Chinese government wants to wiggle into bed with a country, they often provide loans as an economic development tool.  Those loans? What are they used for? To set up a nationwide cellular network built by … wait for it … ZTE!

ZTE is an important element of Chinese international policy.

The Chinese also see that a large company like ZTE can break the stranglehold that American tech companies have on China. It is a nationalistic undertaking.

But, ZTE ran afoul of American sanctions. How?

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04/30/18

North Korea – the Libya Solution

The Libya Solution? Really, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here going North Korea on y’all. You know I served in the Republic of Korea in the Army back in the 1970s, so I have always been interested in all things Korea.

I used to spend time on the DMZ on my belly studying the goings on in North Korea. Plus, I used to build artillery positions and GSR (ground surveillance radar) sites on the top of mountains to shoot or spook into NK.

The Boss back in the day, freezing while overseeing the building of a road to the top of a mountain to build an artillery firing position. That’s North Korea in the background. My favorite thing about the Army — a constant supply of Jeeps. The radio on that Jeep could reach to Saturn.

So, when it began to appear like we were headed to war in Korea, I followed it closely.

Now, it looks like Kim Jung Ping Pong is going to come to President Trump’s table with some peace offerings in hand.

I give President Trump the credit for his bellicose approach to the nuclearization of the Hermit Kingdom because he scrapped “strategic patience” and substituted “fire and fury” in its place.

Who dreamed up “strategic patience” and how does it differ from not doing anything while Kim and his buddies figured out to make nukes and rockets capable of reaching Dallas?

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04/29/18

Brilliant Political Messaging

Today we talk brilliant political messaging, y’all.

Big Red Car here on a brilliant, sunny Sunday morning. Ahh, on Earth as it is in Texas — Austin By God Texas, y’all.

So, the President gave a cold shoulder to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night, electing instead to fly out to Washington County, Michigan and give a campaign style speech about the accomplishments of his administration and the upcoming mid-term elections.

For those keeping score at home, President Obama carried Washington County twice, while President Trump won it by 11%. One might say that that transformation was symptomatic of President Trump’s victory. He flipped a county which twice elected Barack Obama.

For a few minutes, jettison your own “NeverTrump or “TrumpisGod sentiments and step back. Abandon your biases. Let’s discuss messaging, political messaging, in particular.

OK, it’s a long speech and I don’t expect you to listen to the whole damn thing. Just get the flavor of it. It’s a red meat speech.

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04/20/18

Trump on Oil

Trump on oil, Big Red Car?

We woke this morning to a Tweet from our Tweeter-in-Chief picking a long overdue fight with OPEC. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was formed in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Currently, it is composed of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emerates, and Venezuela. Sudan has applied to join. Indonesia was once a member.

[See what odd bedfellows a bit of oil and money creates?]

There is an “observer” class consisting of Egypt, Mexico, Norway, Oman, and Russia.

OPEC produces about 44% of the world’s oil while holding 73% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

OPEC exists to manipulate the price of oil by controlling the level of production thereby driving prices up through artificial scarcity.

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04/18/18

McDonalds & President Trump

McDonalds? Yes. There is nothing like hearty Scottish food, eh?

So, it is a cloudy, but brilliantly sunny day in the ATX wherein we consider the eating habits of our President to which the Big Red Car protests: “Fake news!”

The Big Red Car does not believe that President Trump actually eats what he is reputed to eat. You be the judge.

The MAGA President Trump reported diet: two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish, and a chocolate shake. But is it true or a myth?

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