05/28/20

Hong Kong — Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

Hong Kong is in its last days as an “autonomous” region and part of the “One China, Two Systems” promise. Dust off your funeral suit and dress.

China has cracked the whip and made obvious its intentions to slap the snot out of Hong Kong, to terminate its faux autonomous region nonsense, and to quell any nascent thoughts of freedom.

Let’s examine the time line.

 1. In 1997, the British lease for Hong Kong terminated. The Brits returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty based on the promise that Hong Kong would be an autonomous region, though part of China.

 2. As part of that transfer, the Chinese solemnly promised to govern Hong Kong by allowing its own legislature and leadership to continue part of a plan they called “One China, Two Systems.”

 3. This system was to prevail until 2047 — fifty years.

 4. Based on this arrangement, this promise, countries agreed to treat Hong Kong in a manner similar to how they had when the Brits ran the place.

 5. In current terms that means that when the US imposed tariffs on China, these same tariffs did not fall on Hong Kong.

 6. The relationship with Hong Kong was so tight, that almost 100,000 American citizens reside full time in Hong Kong.

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04/29/20

Japan Abandons China

Relations between Japan and China have always been dicey since before World War II, so a new development between them is not a huge surprise.

The nature of the development in this instance is.

Japan has funded a program — as part of its COVID19 economic stimulus package — to financially support companies who move their manufacturing from China back to Japan.

In addition, the program also supports companies who move their manufacturing from China to another Asian country whose main qualification is — Not Made In China.

This comes on the heels of a very simple impetus — the realization of how much Japanese manufacturing had moved from Japan to China.

Why did they move in the first place you ask? Cheap labor. Cheap cost of finished goods because of the cheap labor, prison labor, child labor, lower environmental standards (if any at all), and cheaper materials.

Japan acted pretty damn quick. No wasted time.

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04/28/20

Unmasking China

The world wants to know what exactly China knew about its most recent gift to the world — the virus that creates COVID19.

What did China know and when did they know it; and, why didn’t they  tell us?

China is bristling at all the attention. President Trump recently indicated his unhappiness with China for their failure to be forthcoming on the subject and said there would be consequences, but not until COVID19 has run its course.

Since before President Trump announced his candidacy in 2016, Donald J Trump has been a skeptic and a critic when it comes to China. It appears he was correct on all things pertinent to China.

We have a clear indication of the Chinese attitude when delving into their recent dialogue with Australia.

Australia and China are keen trading partners with more than 25% of Australian exports going to China. Australia annually sells China $235,000,000,000 of coal, iron ore, wine, beef, tourism and tertiary education.

Chinese tourists love Australia with more than 772,000 Chinese visiting Australia, staying on average 43 nights, and spending more than $12,000,000,000.

The second highest number of travelers come from New Zealand. These 534,000 New Zealanders spent on average 10 days and $2,600,000,000.

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03/13/20

China — The Danger of Medical Dependence

Back in December 2019, there was an article written around the findings of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that focused on China’s efforts to become the world’s largest producer of pharmaceutical products. It was not given much play time.

Rosemary Gibson, an author and adviser on health care issues at the Hastings Center, was the co-author of a book: “China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine.”

In that book, she said three interesting things:

“Medicines can be used as a weapon of war against the United States.”

“Supplies can be withheld. Medicines can be made with lethal contaminants or sold without any real medicine in them, rendering them ineffective.”

“If China shut the door on exports of medicines and their key ingredients and raw material, US hospitals and military hospitals and clinics would case to function within months, if not days.”

Now, the United States finds itself in exactly the vulnerable position that both of these writings suggested might happen.

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12/16/19

Understanding US Trade

The last two weeks have been monumental in the arena of trade, but the country was too enmired in the shallow grave of impeachment to really focus on it.

Three things happened:

 1. The USMCA (United States Mexico Canada Agreement) was passed by the United States House of Representatives.

This deal replaces NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and does great things for agriculture with Canada and US product content in goods (cars) whose final assembly is done in Mexico as well as prevailing wages.

 2. The US and China had a first date on trade — nobody is renting reception halls for the marriage, but it was a first step on the crawl, walk, run continuum.

 3. The US neutered the World Trade Organization by refusing to nominate members thereby destroying the quorum and preventing the WTO from taking any action against the US, a brilliant move. This is one that is completely overlooked.

The guy who did this is the man on the right, Robert Lighthizer.

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11/4/19

Tariffs, China — How They Work

Everybody I know keeps telling me that tariffs won’t work, while I continue to stumble on instance after instance in which they work just fine.

Let me define what “work” means.

In my definition, the USA imposes a tariff on goods made in China, thereby making US-made products more attractive, and the company who makes the Chinese manufactured goods takes some action that somehow improves the US economy. That sound fair?

In this instance, we have the Stanley Black & Decker tool manufacturing company that bought the Craftsman brand from the failing Sears company moving production back to the United States.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

“When we purchased Craftsman in 2017 we were determined to revitalize this iconic U.S. brand and bring back its American manufacturing heritage,” Stanley Black & Decker President and CEO Jim Loree said in a statement. “From the launch of Craftsman’s refreshed brand identity last year to our announcement of the first new manufacturing facility in many years, we’re demonstrating our continued commitment to grow the brand and bring even more production of these great products back to the United States.”

When Jim Loree says he wants to refresh the brand identity, he is also planning on a $1B impact on sales by 2021.

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10/23/19

A Fable of Freedom and Hong Kong

There are men who have never known freedom. It is not their fault, but nonetheless they have never seen it in its naked splendor or glory, never tasted its intoxicating headiness, never smelled its exhilarating scent, never felt it settle joyfully upon their expanding minds, never felt its bubbles tickling their their nose telling them whatever they want and work for can be theirs, or felt it enliven and embolden their hearts. Because they are not free men, their dreams are smaller more timid, their ambitions less lofty. When they make love, they are poorly equipped to enjoy its wonder, for they have never been free and thus they have never known boundless love.

They live in a cage and have surrendered their life force to the evil men who imprison them. Make no mistake, men who deny other men their freedom are in league with the Devil. They are evil. The idea that the enslaved might contest their condition or wrest their lives back from their gaolers is a thought that cannot form and survive in their minds. They do not have the nutrients to sustain it. They believe they are entitled to nothing more, because they know nothing of this “more.” They are not even men.

At the other extreme, there are men who have manufactured freedom, who have made it with their own hands, who have fought for it, bled for it, suffered for it. They have looked the price tag in the eye and said, “For freedom, I will pay that price, consider it cheap in the bargain at ten times that price. Show me to the fight, clear out, and let me get about what I am here to do.” These are the dangerous men who dream with their eyes open and do not wake to think it was all just a dream. They saw it and will have it.

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10/15/19

China — The Pinnacle Of Subtlety

President-for-Life Xi Jinping issued a clear warning about the state of affairs in Hong Kong while being the first Chinese President to visit India in more than two decades.

The fact that he made these comments while on such a monumental foreign visit adds emphasis to their content.

In a statement at a press availability that incorporates all the subtlety of professional wrestling, Pres Xi said that any attempts to divide China will end in “crushed bodies and shattered bones.”

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