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.

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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.

Russiagate Is Not Benign

With the 2020 Democratic campaign ramping up, many voters and the media make it seem as though Russiagate is merely an electoral issue.

For years, the media has portrayed Russia as an aggressive threat while also portraying Russia as a weak power easily contained. Meanwhile, we are now in our 18th year in Afghanistan against the relatively poorly armed Taliban and 17th year in Iraq against terrorist factions with resources dwarfed by our own.

One thing to understand up front is that Russia and China are military alliesin an arrangement similar to NATO. If one is attacked, they will both respond. Something else our media does not make clear, so most Americans do not grasp.

The US currently has military bases and ships encircling both Russia and China in threatening postures, invading their territorial waters, in some cases attempting to block their shipping lanes. Meanwhile we are engaging in trade sanctions and tariffs meant to limit their trade options, even though our allies largely oppose US actions due to the increased cost and negative effects on their outgoing trade with Russia and China. Europe was trading with Russia, China and Iran before the US ever existed as proven through the archaeology and historical record.

At this point, the House already closed their Russia investigation last year, citing no evidence. The Senate investigation remains open but not for long, as they released a report also stating no evidence of Russian “collusion” regarding the election. Just don’t ask certain neoliberal sources who continue fabricating stories. Mueller is expected by all sources to close his investigation soon with no convictions related to the sole purpose he was granted special counsel authority. The indictments he has issued to that effect have been all theater which resulted in either no defendants (Russian Intelligence officials) ever expected to be in court or defendants having representation in court, which was hilarious! The 13 Russian internet trolls were not expected to have lawyers arrive for court but did. To which Mueller’s team attempted to deny discovery of evidence based on classification of evidence. The judge said that won’t work, discovery is mandatory. Nobody can be litigated without the right to see the evidence being used against them. That was the last I heard of that case.

If Saint Mueller issues his report with nothing directly against trump, the very people who have been screaming, “Just wait for Mueller!!” for two years will crucify the Saint. His investigation is not supposed to be about findingevidence, it is supposed to be about fabricating evidence. Though if that was what he were doing, he would have been finished long ago. Trust me, he’s done the best he could and not get busted.

Still, the worst things about Russiagate are the very real consequences which we have only begun to see the effects of. So far, those results have been non-violent compared to what they could have been.

We have seen confrontations between US and Russian military forces in Syria. Those would have wound up with a hot war if not for Russia’s restraint on the matters. We also saw Israel shoot down a Russian bomber, to which they did not respond militarily. Some claim this is a sign of cowardice. Since when is not wanting WWIII cowardice instead of sanity?

We have seen our very own independent media being censored with “Russia” being stated as a rationale. Much of the media censored was Progressive and anti-war media, such as Antiwar.com, Police The Police, the Ron Paul Liberty Report (Because we all know Ron Paul is a Russian stooge, right?), Reasonable People Unite, Counterpunch among others and temporary bans on Caitlyn Johnstone, Venezuelanalysis, Telesur and more. Do you really believe that neoliberal corporate media that works hand in hand with CONgress would not continue their censorship? Just wait until 2020, Mueller or no Mueller.

Immediately after the midterm elections, when the Democrats gained a House majority, they announced no less than 85 additional investigations regarding Trump. Investigations which did not exist before the election. Those “investigations” divert time, attention and resources which should be spent on governing this country. Between “investigations”, fundraising, campaigning, caucuses, primaries and conventions, how much governing do you expect to see before at least 2021? It’s already sounding like half the Democrats in CONgress eligible to run for president will be running.

Russiagate has resulted in the “defense” budget being increased by over $100 billion per year over the last two years. With another increase already planned for next year. To “defend” against a country that spends only 6% or less of our military budget for their military.

Since this debacle began, NATO has expanded further and further eastward to Russia’s doorstep. Then our government blew a gasket, calling it “Russian aggression” when they conducted their annual military war games without crossing outside their borders. Yet we are arming the Ukrainian military.

In addition, Colombia was offered membership in NATO. As a reminder, NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Tell me, what part of the North Atlantic does Colombia occupy?

Of course, the reason for that is that Russia and China have over $80 billion in trade investments in Venezuela, next door to Colombia. This is an attempt to bring all of NATO into the conflict if the US invades Venezuela to illegally seize that country’s oil, resulting in a direct confrontation with Russia and China, who would be defending Venezuelan sovereignty along with their own investments.

Now the US has withdrawn from the INF Treaty. You know, because that’s what Putin wanted. Sure. Now Russia has stated that if the US places intermediate range nuclear missiles on their border, they will place their own in international waters off our own borders. Only theirs are hypersonic and would have a flight time of merely seconds once launched to reach our shores. plus they are mobile, mounted on submarines and ships. Have fun targeting that.

So, keep considering Russiagate to be a harmless or inconvenient electoral issue that poses no threat, has no consequences. Go ahead and encourage the candidates who push this narrative. By no means should you hold them accountable for their words and actions. Donate money to show you approve of these risks.

What’s the worst that can happen?