The Empty Bubble- Administration Doesn’t Matter

This was posted to Medium on 10/9/19.

The Oil Crisis of the 70’s. The Iranian Oil Embargo of the 80’s. The S&L Crisis of the 80’s. The Dot Com Bubble. The Housing Bubble.

Are you seeing a trend here?

Every 7–10 years the US experiences a recession. Each time it has been a habit to name the recession by the alleged cause of the recession. Though the name is typically only applied retroactively. “Experts” during the Housing Crisis never said that the country was in a housing bubble until after the bubble burst. Same is true with the dot com bubble.

This time is different in several ways.

Longer period preceding a recession. At this point the last recession was 11 years ago and independent economists all agree that we are overdue for a recession. The longer we wait before it comes, the worse it will be when it gets here.

This bubble has no actual source which can be applied as a label. Where previous recessions had labels, this one truly cannot have an accurate label. The truth is that previous recessions may have had labels named after the trigger events but each recession was far more complex than any single trigger. Prior to the Oil Crisis of the 70’s, the auto manufacturing business had been in decline in the US, caused by a slowing economy leading to fewer vehicle sales. Prior to the Dot Com crash, employment in the non-tech sector was sluggish, partly (but not exclusively) caused by the Clinton welfare reform. The coming recession may ultimately be labeled as caused by the China Trade War Bubble or something similar, yet that will in no way be accurate because this recession would be coming even if no trade war were occurring now.

We never actually recovered from the last recession. With the 2008–2009 recession, we saw a dramatic decrease in wages across the country. Wages have never recovered since that time. People learning to adapt to lower incomes is not economic recovery. Jobs offer fewer benefits than prior to the recession, more jobs are part-time than ever. The combination has led many to working temporary (“gig”) positions or multiple part-time jobs. This results in workers paying more to replace benefits like health and life insurance than if they were subsidized by a full time employer. Even if subsidized, deductibles have increased along with premiums while wages have stagnated or declined. Once again, this is not recovery.

The stock market is not a reflection of the economy. I’ve pointed this out many times. The stock market is frequently a negative image of the health of the economy. When wages go up, stocks decline. Your wages are viewed by investors as a cost, a debt, a liability. Thus, an improved wage report will often be followed by mass layoffs to reduce costs. While in previous recessions the stock market did rise, it was typically accompanied by some events in the general economy which could be pointed to as causing that rise. Increased oil prices, home prices rising, expansive investment in internet startups. This time, none of that exists. The only justification for stock prices increasing at this time is stock buybacks by corporations, which is stock manipulation. By definition this is insider trading due to the fact that corporate executives profit from stock repurchases. Stock market rises do not improve the general economy at all. When most of the population is living paycheck to paycheck, stocks have no relation to the real world.

Personal and corporate debt and default are at record levels. One way Americans have been surviving since the last recession has been through incurring more debt than ever. This has been in the face of weak wages, often with the hopes of improving their condition through taking on student loans. It has not worked. Student loan defaults are at the highest rate in US history. We see mass layoffs of people with college/university degrees happening. The average vehicle payment exceeds $500 per month. Bankruptcy rates are rising, both personal and corporate. Corporate debt is at the highest rate in history, while consumer spending is down. Consumer confidence is down. Corporate confidence is down, as indicated by CEO polls and capital expenditures. Capital expenditures have been buoyed up to now by expenditures on contracts which have run their course.

The Fed is bailing out the banks, not the economy. Following the 2008 crash, the federal government bailed out the big banks. However, even that was a response after the crash had recurred. This time around, the Federal Reserve is pumping literally trillions of dollars into the banking and financial services industries to save them before the crash occurs.. Maybe. I’ll get to that. After the 2008 crash, Obama did do one of the few truly valid steps to stimulate the economy he performed during his administration. He increased funding for food stamps, which helped the economy slightly. We may see some similar steps after this crash occurs but only afterward and it is highly questionable it will happen at all with a GOP Senate in place.

Other countries cannot help. The economic contraction being seen in the US is not just here, it is global. Global manufacturing is down. Freight shipping is down. These lead to lower gas and oil requirements, bringing down oil production. It also drags down vehicle manufacturing and sales, fewer freight/shipping jobs, etc. More countries are investing in renewable energy, also impacting oil demand negatively. Numerous countries now have more debt than GDP earnings. Major banks are laying off tens of thousands of workers in all countries. Sociopolitical pressures are forcing more central banks to invest domestically in their home nations, rather than in US assets. US foreign policies are causing independent foreign investors to decrease funding for new US projects. Other countries are selling off US Treasuries, unsure if the US can or even will honor the debts.

Highly questionable rationale. I have been saying for quite some time that as the economy deteriorates, corporate profits based on sales will decline yet stocks will remain high. That is, until all liquidity has been squeezed out of each corporation and stocks are incapable of climbing higher. That is the point we are at right now. The highest valued stocks are for companies that produce nothing for trade. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google lead, with financial services firms following. Now that liquidity is gone, what will follow will be the rich selling off stocks in massive amounts. That is happening now but will accelerate rapidly. They invest in stocks for the purpose of gaining a profit. Now that no more profit is possible, it’s time to sell.

Once they sell in large enough amounts, they will literally CAUSE the next crash, yet walk away with huge profits. (Smaller investors will lose everything, being last to know the sell off is even happening. The media will only report on it after the fact.) They will deposit those profits in offshore accounts, board their private jets and fly to their private islands or tax havens while the US economy collapses in their wake, causing double and triple digit inflation. The Federal Reserve is helping this process because they have no connection or commitment to anything but money. They will not be held to account because we have no laws holding them to account, no system to hold them to account. Remember the Federal Reserve is NOT a government entity, it is a private capitalist entity and functions in and of itself for profit.

This has all been planned for a very long time and most of it is highly intentional.

None of this means we are without hope. However, it will take some of the most radical steps ever taken by American society to rectify it. I’ll cover the options some other time.

So, Foreign Interference In An Election Is Illegal? I Have Two Words..

In June, Ellen Weintraub, chair of the Federal Election Commission wrote, “ Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election, this is not a novel concept.”

I find it amusing (sic) that the media is now jumping all over these words. I have two words to offer in response-

Steele Dossier.

Remember the Steele Dossier? That was the report compiled by former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele in 2016 and included numerous accusations against Trump. One of those accusations was the infamous “pee tape”. The video never materialized and absolutely none of the accusations included in the report were ever verified.

All of the information in the Steele Dossier allegedly came from Russian government sources. However, doubts have arisen which make it far more likely that the sources were from Ukraine, who is an adversary to Russia. This makes far more sense, as Steele himself is rabidly anti-Russia.

The contents of the Steele Dossier were conveniently “leaked” to the media, though numerous copies had been passed around DC for months prior to the publication.

The Steele Dossier was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website. The investigative firm was Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm who employed Christopher Steele for the purpose. In the Beacon stage of funding, the dossier included only information available from public sources.

The Beacon then stopped funding the dossier after Trump was named the GOP nominee. At that time, Fusion GPS approached the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign with the offer to continue opposition research on Trump. The offer was accepted and Fusion GPS was funded by the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s law firm, Perkins Coie until November 2016, paying Fusion GPS a reported $1.6 million.

Aspects of the dossier were handed over by John McCain to the FBI, seemingly in bits and pieces. The FBI has admitted to paying Fusion GPS and Steele at least $100,000 directly.

Keep in mind that the Steele Dossier was conducted covertly. There is much debate about how much the FBI used the dossier in their investigation of Trump/Russia “collusion”, which culminated in the Mueller Report. Which, if you have noticed, has disappeared from the radar. The FBI has admitted to using the dossier to obtain multiple FISA warrants, in spite of the fact that none of the allegations had been confirmed at the time. As of this time, the FBI and Adam Schiff have made public claims that “most of the allegations” have been confirmed, yet not one single specific example has been offered.

The Mueller report made vague reference to the dossier, yet never offered any verification of any of it, save the dates and times of certain meetings, which were basically public record and not denied by participants as having occurred.

Now, compare this to Trump’s phone call and public statements. There have been no overt or implied threats issued regarding monetary aid to Ukraine. Any reading of the transcript which says such a threat was issued is inserting words which were not spoken.

Compare this to the fact that the DNC and Hillary campaign were clearly documented to have paid for opposition research, allegedly aided by agents of a foreign government. Then that information being used by a US government agency, then the allegations being released to the public.

There is no defense of Biden openly bragging about blackmailing the Ukrainian president using $1 billion of US taxpayer money so that an investigation would be canceled involving corruption by the company his son worked for.

In no way is this a defense of Trump’s behavior or claiming his behavior was legal. It is one thing if a separate sovereign country conducts an investigation which confirms corruption by US officials/candidates or their family members. It is another thing entirely to request other countries to conduct such investigations. If this is not illegal it should be.

This involves corruption on all sides. Trump, Biden, Obama and Hillary. Each and every one of them should be indicted and help to account, to include criminal charges.

However, it is the height of cognitive dissonance to insist Trump’s behavior should be considered criminal while ignoring the Steele Dossier and Biden’s blackmail of a foreign elected president. If you oppose corruption, you must oppose ALL corruption. Not just when it involves “the other guys”.

Where Would The US Be If Foreign Investors Pulled Out?

There has been a rising nationalistic negative attitude against foreign companies investing in and owning property in the US. I’m not going to make a final judgment on whether this is good or bad, just examine what would happen if those countries pulled their investments out or sold/abandoned their properties.

The nationalistic attitude toward foreign investors owning manufacturing locations in the US is pure folly. The negativity comes from those who make the false assumption that if foreign investors moved out, that domestic investors would increase production.

First thing to note is that in recent years, foreign investors have probably been more aggressive in investing in capital investments in the US than domestic investors have been. Toyota, Hyundai, mining companies have been building factories here. Chinese investors, as well. Have you noticed these companies have not been announcing mass layoffs while Ford, GM, GE, etc have been?

While US corporations took the bipartisan tax break handed to them and used that money to buy back their own stock and fatten the wallets of corporate executives and major investors, it has been left to foreign investors to expand manufacturing and create jobs.

This also means that if and when the stock market crashes, domestic companies will be laying off and closing factories. The only jobs with a chance of stability are going to be the ones owned primarily by foreign investors.

Under Trump, we stand the extreme chance that foreign investors whom he welcomed with open arms will either be forced out or will voluntarily pull up stakes as soon as they recoup their investments. If that happens, we have problems.

Some may believe that American investors would step in and simply take over the existing factories. It’s not that simple. First, there is the problem of establishing entirely new supply lines. Then there is the even bigger problem of intellectual property. An American company could not simply take over and produce the exact same products. They would have to come up with entirely new product designs. Then the factories would have to be retooled. Employees may have to be retrained. If they tried producing the same product, there would be legal challenges and the likelihood that other countries would boycott or ban the products due to those challenges.

Then there would be the problem of having a market to sell to. Depending on the product, like vehicles, with employment and wages taking a large hit, that would mean the market would not be open to new products enough to warrant that much of an outlay. In addition to whether consumers would spend money on major purchases on entirely new product lines meant to replace established product lines. There is a reason that you see vehicle models bearing the same name which have existed for decades. Those are product names that consumers are loyal to.

Last but not least this brings new problems and dimensions to how well American manufacturers and possibly even retailers are welcomed in other countries. One can say all they like about China’s trade policies but their policies are extremely well defined, so US corporations have not done business there and been caught off guard. They knew exactly what they were getting into before they got into it.

Personally, I’m not against each country doing their own manufacturing in their own country. I think that’s the way it should be. However, with the way things have been conducted for so many years, changing suddenly, unilaterally, in mid course will absolutely do damage to our trade agreements globally. Some will say it doesn’t matter because we can produce everything we need. Maybe you’re right, maybe not but that is not the point. If other countries choose to reduce or end trade with us, that does damage to the value of the dollar against other currencies, which will result in runaway inflation. Restoring trade deals under such circumstances would take decades because trade is built primarily on trust. Considering how many agricultural producers, retailers and manufacturers rely heavily on international trade, no small number would go out of business entirely. Don’t forget there are some items we can only get through international trade. Like rare earth minerals, most coffee and all chocolate.

Of the top 500 most profitable companies globally, 129 are in China, 121 in the US. Of the top 10 largest banks by deposits, 4 are in China, 3 in the US, 1 each in the UK, Japan and France.

Too many Americans think the rest of the world cannot survive without us. We comprise only 5% of the world’s population. We account for over 1/3 of all national debt globally. Some sources state that our private debt equals 150% of GDP. In all honesty, if other countries, especially China, decided they wanted to obliterate us economically, it would not be that hard to do at this point. They are not far from getting angry enough at us to do exactly that. With other countries deeply in debt as well, they would not be able to support us in that level of a trade war, even if they wanted to. It’s doubtful they would want to by now. So it is time to rethink this isolationist, nationalistic, arrogant attitude. Put the steroids down and start thinking rationally.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is athttps://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Flooding In Midwest, Huawei, China, EU Tariffs.. It’s Not Looking Good

It was announced this week that Trump will ease sanctions on Huawei following an 80 minute discussion at the G20 Summit. While some may find this a good thing, many others say not so fast. Huawei is not expecting that this means they will be allowed further access to the US market.

In any case, easing of such sanctions tends to negate the claims that banning Huawei had anything to do with national security.

Trump claimed some weeks ago that China had agreed to purchase more agricultural products from the US. There were no specifics given in that statement, true to form for Trump. This must be called into question with recent flooding in the Midwestern US, which has caused late planting of millions of acres of crops.

The fact is, many crops will simply not be planted at all this year. Most strains of corn take too long to reach harvest to bother planting at all at this date. Farmers may be able to plant other crops in some limited cases. Though much of that will be determined by whether weather permits, availability of seed, if their equipment is compatible with other crops, time to harvest for the alternative crops and other factors.

No matter what, with sanctions on goods from other countries, including agricultural products combined with extensive flooding, you can expect grocery prices to increase in the near future on top of the price of other products imported from China, Mexico, Canada and the EU.

It was also announced this week that Trump will be imposing tariffs on multiple EU products, allegedly due to subsidizing of aircraft parts. Never mind US subsidizing of oil, coal, agricultural products and other industries. The EU is expected to respond with tariffs of their own on US products.

Translation- You pay more.

OPEC has chosen to limit oil production until next April. Which will drive the price of oil and gas higher in this country. They made this decision at the same time that the US has an embargo on oil from Russia, Iran and Venezuela, three top oil producing countries, coupled with sanctions on countries that still trade with these countries.

Keep in mind that if the price of oil and gas increase, the price of all consumer products increase along with it due to increased price of manufacturing, processing and shipping at every level.

With the way things are shaping up, not only will we be paying more but there is the distinct possibility that availability of many items could be in shorter supply. Of course, that means capitalists will take advantage of that situation and increase prices on those items, even when the cost has not increased for them. This will result in some items only being available to ever-higher income levels.

Increasing prices, especially in relation to income level, are something this country has become accustomed to over many decades. However, we have not been subjected to limited availability of consumer goods or food. This may be the straw that breaks the social camel’s back.

To make it clear, I do not think that what is coming in the near future will cause large numbers of deaths, perhaps not even illnesses. However it will cause enough inconvenience to those in the middle class who view themselves as “privileged” that it can change their stance. No question the media will blame Trump, China, Russia, Iran and anyone else they can blame. We know the truth, that while nobody controls the weather, corporations dictate trade and both parties have the power to reduce Trump’s power.

This may be enough to start a real Revolution. Let’s do what we can to keep it a peaceful but effective one.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

US Militarism And TDS

Some people still have some concept that I am in some way a Trump supporter or apologist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more of my writing and that becomes very evident.

Want to attack him for his economic policies? I’m right there with you. Immigration? Yes, he is monstrous. Sexism? I’ve referred to him having “tiny hand syndrome”. Racism? Absolutely.

Where international relations are concerned I will say he is an idiot with not the faintest clue what he is doing. He is the kind of person that personifies how many people in other countries view the US. Yes, he is what they think of when they think of Americans and how they have viewed us for decades. He is bellicose, arrogant and nothing short of a bully.

In other words, he illustrates what our government really is.

On the other hand, for all his threats and boasting, he is not as militaristic as his predecessors and opponents. Note that this in no way excuses the harm done by US sanctions, which I have explained in detail numerous times.

Consider the claims and criticisms of the corporate media and the “Resistance”.

With North Korea, they described the current administration as “gangsters”, as in mafia, organized crime. Yet still Trump has not used military force against them. When he temporarily suspended war games on the Korean border, instead of being praised, he was attacked. Ask yourself why? How well does intimidation work on other countries? How well does it work on you?

When he bombed Syria, he was praised. Brian Williams talked about the “beauty of our weapons”, citing it as a quote. Ask yourself, who pulls a quote like that out of their ass? I am a veteran and had never heard that quote in my life before that. Had you? I hope to never hear it again.

That attack happened with no investigation on the ground to verify facts and evidence. The following year almost the exact same thing happened, almost to the smallest detail.

In the first case, there was no investigation ever completed on the ground. Numerous sources stated what evidence was available did not fit. In the second case it was proven by the OPCW that no chemical weapon residue was found. The closest thing found were microscopic traces of chlorine in the soil, which was likely from destroyed PVC pipes or household chemicals, considering the concentration. Guess what? If you water your yard with municipally treated water, your soil has chlorine residue.

Yet Trump did warn Syria of the coming attacks and their locations.

When Trump made threats to invade Venezuela, the corporate media and the “Resistance” were largely silent. There was absolutely no sign of opposition. In fact, they almost daily portrayed false images of the conditions in Venezuela. Where hardships and even deaths have been occurring by the thousands, they never mention that this is due to the effects of US sanctions. They do not mention that the US and UK governments have seized assets that belong to the Venezuelan government and hence Venezuelan people. That’s as if I stole everything in your bank account and then portrayed you as a bad parent for not providing for your family. US sanctions have seized shipments already paid for of medications and medical supplies, then blocked further transactions of those items. How would you like it if that happened to your family?

Since Trump has backed away from any military threats against Venezuela, how much have you been hearing of the conditions in that country? Did you think they suddenly got better? Then why aren’t you hearing about it any more?

He has met with Vladimir Putin, talked with Putin on the phone and initially tried making peaceful overtures with Russia. For which he was viciously attacked and accused of treason. BTW, treason according to the US Constitution means giving aid to an enemy, which requires a formal Congressional declaration of war. So no, the claims of treason hold no water.

Yet the “Resistance” found no reason to call it treason when Hillary, with Mueller’s “intelligence” approval, sold 20% of uranium processing to a Russian company, Uranium One. They had no desire to call it treason when Bill made hundreds of thousands giving speeches to sell investments in Uranium One while Hillary was US Secretary of State. They did not choose to hold her to account when Uranium One resulted in lost uranium shipments, bribes, coercion and threats.

The media focuses on the trade war between the US and China, reports on near-confrontations between naval vessels yet conveniently fails to mention the largest buildup in history of US forces along the Russian border, Russian maritime routes and the South China Sea. There has been no military threat against any nation by Russia or China. So, one should be asking what our forces are doing there at all. The average American will not ask that question, even if they are aware of the situation. If the media reports on it, it portrays it as aggression by other countries, yet cannot explain what aggression.

The latest in this chain of events is Iran. Notice that while there were minor grumblings about him withdrawing from the JCPOA, there was no actual outcry. Why? There was no profit to be made. Then he threatened to attack Iran after an attack on ships that did not belong to the US and were not associated to the US in any way. They were both connected to Japan. Did Japan ask for US intervention? No, they did not. On the threats, there was not a single word of dissent spoken. Then he reversed course and chose to not attack. Suddenly, the media and the “Resistance” erupted like a volcano.

This is where I will once again, for the millionth time it seems, point out that the US media is deeply in bed with the Military Industrial Complex. Corporate media hosts advertising by military contractors like Boeing, Raytheon and Northrup. Know who pays for that advertising? You do, through your taxes. They have “experts” who work for military weapons contractors telling you why we need to invade, bomb, sell weapons (at a loss to the US taxpayer) to other countries. Why every country who succeeds at trade is a military threat. Why any country with a different, more Socialist, economic model is monstrous and also a threat to US national security. How we need to engage in “humanitarian intervention”. Because that has worked out so well in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Let’s do more of that, they say.

It does not even stop with overt militarism. When Trump blocked the release of the unredacted Mueller report, he was called a fascist, a tyrant, that he was hiding something. Then he did a complete 180 degree turn and directed Barr to release the entire report and all supporting evidence to the public. What did the media and the “Resistance” have to say? That he was a tyrant, that he was putting national security at risk.

So, the ultimate question here is really, what do YOU want? Do you WANT war with Russia? China? North Korea? Venezuela? Iran? Do you WANT the Mueller findings declassified and published for all to see? Do you WANT to keep increasing military spending? Or do you simply want every single thing that Trump does to be wrong, no matter what the cost?

If you merely want everything he does to be wrong and “Resistance” means risking or the actuality of global warfare, starving and killing people in other countries, all to vindicate your hatred of him, then you must ask yourself one last question.

Who is the REAL monster here?

DHL Starts Drone Delivery Service.. In China

DHL, a German courier service, has started a delivery service via drone in China.

The US likes to portray China as being behind us technologically. However, China is rapidly expanding the development and utilization of new technologies far ahead of the US. From expansion of green energy to drone technology to 5G.

They are doing much of this in partnership with other Asian countries and European countries. Such as, in this case, a German company.

Any American should ask why DHL, which operates in the US as well, made the business decision to first utilize dron etechnology in China.

Amazon and other American companies have discussed the use of drones for local deliveries for several years now. However, as yet we have not seen any wide scale use of drones for that purpose.

One big reason for this is fear. Good old American paranoia. We are sold terror by our media on minute to minute basis. I’ve written about this a LOT of times. If Americans started seeing drones in our neighborhoods, they would be so scared some would have cardiac events. Others would reach for firearms. Others would be posting that the government is coming for them while still others would be certain we had just been invaded by a foreign power.

That fear is what has allowed other countries to be pushing ahead of us in technology. Genetic engineering being a good example. All major developments in genetic engineering since GWB have taken place in other countries, with the US bringing up the rear. A vaccine for lung cancer? Developed in Cuba.

This is a natural result of chronic paranoia. A person/people who are continuously afraid close their doors, windows and minds, don’t answer the phone, don’t listen to anyone that isn’t telling them to be terrified. Here, buy another gun, take another pill, don’t look out the window, keep the house locked, don’t talk to strangers.. and stay tuned to this channel so we can tell you what else to be terrified of.

In some cases, there is absolutely something to be afraid of. In this case, what you should fear is how many jobs would be eliminated by drone delivery services. Because that number reaches tens or hundreds of thousands. The advantage China has is that they already have a much more extensive social support structure in place, along with a far more stable and expanding economy.

Though it is not just fear which limits our adoption of new technologies. It is domestic competition of competing, less efficient technologies. Such as the fact that Ford is developing a robot to deal with the “last 50 feet” problem with atonomous vehicle deliveries. So if you have a delivery which comes by self-driving vehicle, the item would be delivered to your door by a robot. The robot has a weight capacity of 40 lbs, so most items it would deliver could also be delivered by drone. Mail, pizza, small packages and such.

However, the development of autonomous vehicles also allows for the elimination of millions of jobs in other industries. Cabs, buses, trucks, etc.

To eliminate that many jobs as an actual goal in a country whose government is actively working to destroy the social support net should give the most fervent right-wingers pause to question.

What are you afraid of? Because if it’s not the loss of millions of jobs and our country falling even further behind other countries in all ways, you’re afraid of the wrong thing.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

China Just Shut Down Any Possibility Of War With the US

This is the good news. China just shut down any possibility of war with the US.

In the ongoing trade war between the US and China, President Xi stood in front of a rare earth mineral mine a few days ago to give a speech. He did not say it but the location and timing are widely taken as an implication that should the US continue the trade war as it is going, China could well restrict or cease shipping rare earth minerals to the US.

What are rare earth minerals? What makes them important? Rare earth minerals are not all that rare as far as usage is concerned. They are vital components in modern electronics. From earbuds and headphones to cell phones, wind turbines, telecommunications equipment and satellite communications. They are also vital to modern military equipment such as targeting and guidance systems.

China holds the greatest reserve of rare earth minerals at 44 million tons. The next highest reserve equals half that amount at 22 million tons each, held by Brazil and Vietnam. Russia comes in third at 12 million tons. The US comes in seventh, at roughly 1.4 million tons.

Some claim that the US can develop our mining and refinement of rare earth minerals. Yet they are so valuable by weight that it would seem to me that capitalist investors would have been doing that already, should it be a realistic option. Which means that if that industry is developed, US taxpayers will be subsidizing corporate profits on yet another industry. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for we, the taxpayers.

Some sources claim we can develop equipment which doesn’t use rare earth minerals. Hmm. Once again, I’m guessing this is not a first best option or we would have been doing so. Why pay additional expenses for elements which are not necessary? It would be a definite possibility but also possible that would place the US at tremendous technological disadvantage. Our electronics could be less efficient, less accurate and slower. Cost could be either lower or higher, depending on the materials and technology used.

Obviously gold could replace some mineral components but not all. Using gold could increase cost of electronics higher, making US consumer electronics less competitive unless built for durability, which most modern electronics are not designed for.

Obviously it would be possible to purchase rare earth minerals from other countries that hold greater reserves than we do. However, if China chose to not sell to us, it would be well known by those countries, causing prices to skyrocket. Law of supply and demand. We won’t be buying them from Russia, even if we wanted to at this point.

Thus, should China choose to make such a decision it would leave the US at a distinct disadvantage militarily, technologically and possibly economically.

The only other option would be if all rare earth minerals were diverted to military use. That would leave us at even more disadvantage regarding technological trade, which is one of the most profitable trade items by weight and volume.

As far as blocking China’s access to the Android operating system and partnerships, the result is likely to be the same as sanctions on Russia had. They will accelerate development of their own technologies, spreading new operating systems to Asia and Europe, the largest foreign markets whom we trade with. Leaving Google in the dust. That would mean Google trading partners would no longer be paying Google for advertising to markets Android no longer had access to.

Like I said above, this is only accelerating the development of technologies which China has already been working on. They may contract with experts from other countries, including Europe, other Asian countries, India, Russia and American freelancers. Hey, capitalism is capitalism, right? Other countries pulling away from us and advancing beyond us is only a matter of time. Asia and Europe are already expanding 5G and green energy years ahead of the US. In teh case of China, you can blame Trump all you like but they began accelerating their technological development toward more independence from the US ever since Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” which continued on with the Hillary Clinton campaign (“We could rename the Pacific Ocean the American Sea.”) and the Trump campaign. No matter which one took office, they knew what was coming.

The ultimate fact is that any military confrontation with China will leave us at a disadvantage, first in the short term and possibly in the long term. It’s about time we started playing nice with the other kids on the playground.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

No, Tariffs Will Not Bring Jobs Back

Talk among the right wing and some corporate media claims the opinion that tariffs will bring jobs back. That’s not going to happen. Of course, some other sources claim that tariffs are destroying jobs. That may come closer to the truth but also not entirely accurate.

China did not come first. First, let’s consider the fact that corporations have historically exported manufacturing jobs to low income countries. At varying times, jobs have been exported to Japan, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mexico, South American countries, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the list goes on.

What you can surmise from this is that corporations will continue exporting jobs to lower wage countries that offer tax breaks. Even if the wages were the same, corporations would export jobs to avoid environmental restrictions in the US.

No, US manufacturing is not on the rise. Of course, some sources claim that manufacturing in the US is back on the rise. Ask them for specifics and they cannot reply exactly what manufacturing jobs they are referring to. No, US Steel is not building new plants. Auto manufacturers have added a few jobs but far more have been laid off in the last few months by a negative balance of tens of thousands.

Bailing out corporate farms. Agriculture in the US is suffering because of lost trade with China thanks to trade conflict. Thing to notice most about that is that this caused an oversupply in the US market yet it did not result in decreased grocery prices. Mostly because the farmers got bailed out by the US taxpayer, so they had no need to offer their crops at lower prices to diminish their losses. They dumped many of their crops rather than selling at lower prices.

China refuses our oil sales. China stopped buying US oil back in Oct or Nov of 2018, resulting in an oversupply in the oil market. That was the reason gas and oil prices dropped for a time, as there was no way to store that much oil and no way to dispose of it. It had to be sold. Even if they could have stored it, that would impact trade with OPEC. Relations with OPEC nations, especially Saudi Arabia, are already contentious at the moment.

Where next? One question is where they will be exporting those jobs to. Workers in Mexico are rising up, demanding better pay, benefits and working conditions. No doubt US corporations were counting on further exploiting South African workers but China has beat them to the punch. China is investing billions in South Africa, to include infrastructure which benefits the communities and low interest loans. Things that the US and IMF do not offer. Meanwhile China issues no threats to the countries they work with.

Eastern Bloc? So, the most likely nations that US corporations may target for low wage labor are some former Eastern Bloc nations like Poland. Countries that have few resources of their own and have suffered since the fall of the USSR. One big problem with those countries is that the population is aging because the younger generations have left due to lack of opportunities. Other problems include social unrest and the rise of white supremacists (literal Nazis), so that may well impact the willingness of American consumers to purchase goods produced in those countries. No doubt we will see continued propaganda claiming these countries are standing up to big, evil Russia.

US consumer market. Yet even with low cost labor, that will not bring back stability to the US consumer market. That is where the conflict lies. To bring back the consumer market means the need for living wage jobs. Wages the corporations do not want to pay. Without decent wages, American consumers cannot afford to buy the items produced.

Chinese consumer market. That is why corporations are trying to make inroads to the Chinese consumer market. The Chinese consumer market is now the largest in the world. US corporations have no loyalty to the US. They are loyal only to their own profit margin. If they can make money convincing you how evil China, Russia, North Korea or any other country is, yet conduct profitable sales in those same countries, they will do exactly that.

US impact on China’s GDP. Threats and tariffs are not going to budge China. Our politicians and media try and make it seem as though the Chinese economy relies solely on US trade. Nothing could be further from the truth. US trade accounts for only 4% of China’s GDP. That number is from before China stopped buying US oil around Oct of 2018. So our trade accounts for even less of their GDP now. Basically, China could survive without any trade with the US at all.

US military empire. Trade is not the actual issue concerning China. Their concern is our militarism. We already have considerable military forces in the South China Sea. There is much made in the US media about China building up military forces yet they never mention that the only reason China is doing so is because of the threat posed to them by the US.Think about it and you realize that nobody else poses any risk or potential for risk against China. Nobody else is trying to pose a threat to them.

Weapons sales. Essentially, the only US industry that can compete with China at this point is weapons production and sales. Something the US seems to excel at above and beyond any other country. For now. Meanwhile China is advancing their military technology and offering sales of military drones at prices lower than the US. While Russia has developed aircraft and missile defense systems that are more advanced than our own, also offered at lower prices and with fewer diplomatic demands or threats. I’m sure they would each refuse to sell to nations that pose a threat to themselves or their direct interests. That’s understandable.

Chinese technology. China is building artificial islands, dams, bridges and railways spanning not just their own country but reaching into other countries , other continents as well. Their projects tend to be completed far faster and at lower cost than US corporate contractors have managed projects for decades. They built 18,000 km of high speed rail in under 11 years. Can you even imagine that happening here? They now have the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam, which incorporates the second largest hydroelectric power plant on earth and a ship lift. It took 18 years to complete but considering the scale that time frame is still a huge accomplishment. While some try to portray China as some backward country where technology is concerned, I’d say they are quite capable. China has a long history of being technologically competent. Rockets and gunpowder originated there. Take a look at the history of China and gunpowder is only one accomplishment of many.

Competition should not be war. The trade war between the US and China should not be a war. It should be nothing more than competition. I’ve written before that growth is toxic. If our economy does actually need to grow larger, it needs to be redirected toward industries and efforts that help our own people. Stop building weapons, stop creating wars, stop building bombs, start building and repairing bridges. When you create an entire segment of your economy to be dependent on war machines, you must create wars to sustain that industry. That means you must create enemies where none existed before. you must destroy things in order to build something and call that growth. That means destroying ecological environments and entire civilizations much older than our own, killing people and call it business.

They are more experienced than we are. China has survived thousands of years in spite of numerous enemies, both economic and military. They are more experienced at trade than we are, having built the original Silk Road and are now building what is dubbed the New Silk Road. Our economy is barely planned 6 months in advance, while they plan 50 years and further ahead. The Belt and Road Initiative is an indication of this. It’s highly unlikely they did not take possible US responses into account when planning. When they refuse to negotiate, that is negotiating. It’s just saying they will not bow down to US tantrums.

They hold far more, far better cards than we do. We are playing their game, they’re not playing ours. So we can play by the rules or take our ball and go home. Because if we try cheating against them, we already lost. Tariffs may bring jobs back.. just not to America.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

High Speed Rail, China Vs US

It is well known that the US is resistant to high speed rail (HSR), which is a mistake placing us behind other industrialized nations on many continents.

As of this moment, the highest speed rail service available in the US is 79 mph. By comparison, France has HSR which has a top speed of 357 mph. China introduced HSR in 2007 and since that time has built out 18,000 miles of HSR, with another 7000 miles to be completed by 2025.

Uzbekistan has HSR with a top speed of 160 mph!

HSR has advantages of requiring less fuel than jets, less time to departure, less infrastructure needed for individual terminals and less passenger cost.

Japan, South Korea, China, India and most of Europe make extensive use of rail service. If you’ve ever visited any of these countries, there is no denying this fact. The US is one of few countries that considers rail travel a thing of the past.

One of the biggest reasons for this is because of competition between rail service, vehicle manufacturers and airlines. Size of the country has nothing to do with it. China is proof of that. Europe is proof of that. The fact that we had many thousands of miles of rail in this country at one time which could have been largely adapted to HSR is proof of that. Airlines, vehicle manufacturers and oil companies have been resistant to HSR because of the profits involved which they would stand to lose if it were adopted on any scale.

Make no mistake, the poor state of all forms of public transportation in the US is also another form of oppression of the poor. Where the US once had extensive public transportation services in major cities including subways, railways, trolleys, buses and streetcars, over time cars and jets took their place, spurred on by corporate interests which made public transportation of other means nothing short of shameful in many cases. Public funding for public transportation has been hard fought for many decades. Even now in a time of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions, cities refuse to fund construction and maintenance of existing forms of public transportation. They oppose even more any transportation system which does not utilize fossil fuel. Corporate profits take precedence over transportation needs or environmental concerns.

Even taxi services in major cities have a hand in this situation. Cities would rather have hundreds of taxis, each paying licensing fees, each spewing exhaust, costing far more cumulatively than public transportation which could service more people at lower cost and with less pollution than the taxis do.

I have ridden public transportation many times in my life. In multiple cities, multiple states, multiple countries. In the 80’s I was astounded at the difference in public transportation in Europe compared to the US. In US cities, I have lived where public transportation ceased, only ran twice a day or I had to walk miles to get to a bus stop. On weekends, the nearest service was much further away. In some cases, I actually took a taxi to get to the nearest bus stop and hoped to get there before the last bus left.

Of course, states want more vehicles on the roads because of increased taxes and fees collected for them. They are apathetic to the fact that many of those paying the taxes, fees, fuel costs, fuel taxes, insurance and vehicle payments are at the low end of the income spectrum. They are apathetic to what else those people are unable to afford just to have a means of transport. Leaving some with a choice between needed medications or utilities versus a way to get to their low paying jobs, sometimes working multiple jobs and risking their health further to afford the vehicle in a never ending cycle. Just as long as the corporations make a profit which they can “donate” to future campaigns.

Just call it “freedom” and the general public sucks it up. Talk about creating jobs and you’re a hero. Just don’t talk about high speed rail or expanding public transportation.

Human Rights Records Do Not Stop At The Border

Lots of people try and claim moral superiority for the US in relation to Russia and China regarding human rights records. In each case, they attempt to use histories dating back at least 27 years, typically far more.

Do these countries have distant histories of human rights abuses? Yes, they do. However, they fail to look at the human rights records of the US even from that time frame. If one wants to look at old human rights records, then we have to look at the US history of genocide of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, Japanese internment camps, women’s rights and the abuses they suffered, forced sterilization, frontal lobotomies, electroshock therapy, involuntary imprisonment of women in asylums based on their husband’s word, seizure of private property for corporate interests (DAPL), the civil rights movement…

Getting the point here?

Yet ancient history is not the point of this article. The point of this article is the apparent belief by many people that when you discuss the human rights records of a country, that such record should be limited to inside a country’s borders. Nothing could be further from the truth. Human rights are humanrights.The term has no geographical boundaries attached to the meaning.

Nor are human rights records limited to governmental actions. That record can be even more related to government inaction in the face of known abuse or suffering at the hands of non-government entities. From the Pinkerton massacre at Homestead to Dow Chemical poisoning the Ohio River and thousands of abuses in between and happening now.

The US government has a long, storied history and present of direct and indirect involvement in the abuse and outright murder of millions of people around the globe. From our entry into WWI under false pretenses to the decimation of North Korea to the blatantly false circumstances that took us into Vietnam and Iraq, regime change operations by our military and CIA in dozens of countries dating back at least as far as the early 50’s. Even earlier when we look at the Panama Canal and invasion of Hawaii, the Hidalgo Treaty and who knows what else? Talk to a real historian who is not a propagandist.

Right now we are actively bombing 8 countries and selling weapons to Saudi Arabia who is conducting outright genocide in Yemen in the worst human rights situation globally since Cambodia. We have actively supported the Saudi regime for decades while in full knowledge of their abuse of human rights, with imprisonment and mass public decapitations of dissident journalists, oppression of women’s rights which continues with US corporate created cell phone apps which track women’s movements so they can be reported to authorities if they attempt to escape abuse with a single button. Do our politicians and corporate media scream to the heads of the Saudi royals? Or make weak, failed attempts at ineffective sanctions? Is anyone (and I mean anyone) calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia?

Those claiming American moral superiority over other countries fail to consider any of this or the fact that most of this history has been for the sake of capitalist interests. They will point to Stalin or Mao but never remotely realize that the US has killed multiple times more people than Stalin and Mao combined. There is no way to accurately count the death toll of the United States because the numbers will always be hidden, distorted, diverted, blamed elsewhere and that moral imperative always claimed.

It is always telling that our corporate media never opposes any military action. They attempt to whip up support for the next war and the next and the next. They don’t bother mentioning our current military actions as a comprehensive statement. The bombing of 8 countries mentioned above, the military forces in 50 African nations, the millions starved by our typically sanctions. Yet we hear endlessly how we need to intervene in Venezuela because Maduro is a tyrant.

Corporate media does not broadcast the reports coming back with video from Progressive journalists on the ground in Venezuela at this moment. Aaron Mate, Max Blumenthal, Abby Martin. Their video evidence shows the lack of violence, the store shelves full of items corporate media claims do not exist in the country, the rallies in protest against US intervention. They don’t mention the humanitarian support being provided by less affluent countries who are not trying to seize rights to Venezuelan oil. European countries, Mexico, Russia, China are all providing support without any suspicion of them attempting to sneak in weapons for the opposition to enact a coup. An opposition which is known to have used violence against civilians, including burning people alive. Corporate media does not mention that Venezuela has the lowest rate of homelessness in the western hemisphere. Can’t talk about that, can we?

The US truly has no right at all to dictate ethics or morality to other countries. Americans have no right to believe we are the “good guys” or that the governments that oppose us are worse than our own. Especially when many of those countries have universal healthcare and adult education while we do not. To include Russia and China. Countries that spend more money on their own citizens than on warfare by magnitudes of ten. Countries that have lower rates of homelessness and lower prison populations than ourselves. Countries that often have US sanctions limiting the options available to them to provide for their citizens.

It’s time to define the human rights records of all countries by how they treat not only their citizens but how they treat human beings in general. Define human rights by each country’s actions as a whole. Define human rights by the divide between rich and poor, free and incarcerated, treatment of the ill, housed and homeless, diplomacy versus war, free versus oppressed, freedom of speech and press to include corporate censorship. Because human rights should include life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, medical care, shelter, security, freedom of dissension, food security, political freedom of affiliation even if that includes Conservatism or Communism. Human rights records do not stop counting at your border and you cannot treat citizens of other countries as you see fit for your own greed.