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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10/13/19

Agritech — The Technology We Don’t See

In the world of technology, there is a lot of technology we see, because we come into constant contact with it, because it impacts all of us. One we don’t see much about is agritech.

Cell phones is a good example of such a field of technology. Every time Apple bakes a little more tech into their offerings, you see it, and you either embrace or reject it, but you don’t fail to see it.

There is a great amount of technology that we do not bump into on a regular basis and yet it is being developed at lightning speed.

One of those areas is in what is called “agritech.”

Last year more than $16.9B was invested in agritech startups, a 43% increase from 2017.

Can you name a single agritech startup? Have you felt a single shock wave of the agritech explosion?

I have not and I am particularly woke to tech. [Haha, no I’m not.]

Let me tell you of a couple of interesting new developments.

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10/12/19

Founding Fathers – China v The United States

The other day China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the “modern” China meaning Communist China.

That made me think about the founding father of China — Mao Zedong.

It also made me think about the founding fathers of the United States. First amongst them was this guy:

Both of these guys were citizen-soldiers who had a hook into agriculture. Our two nations have a different character which I attribute to the difference in our founding stories and our founding fathers.

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10/6/19

The Confusing State of Crypto in China

There is a huge amount of confusion as to the status of cryptocurrency regulation in China. The other day I read a commentary that suggested that all was rosy in China, when I was of the opinion that it was not.

Read this and you can judge for yourself. This is not intended as a nudge in any direction. It is just simple facts.

I did some research. Nothing ruins a good conversation like facts.

So, let’s review some facts, shall we?

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