Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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Dear Republicans, Your Dark Money Days Are About To Hit A Roadblock

In 2010, with the Citizens United decision that removed limits on how much money corporations could contribute to political campaigns, we saw the beginning of an era whereby wealthy corporations are pretty much able to buy elections. The ruling was the beginning of the end of election integrity. But this week, a small step was taken that may be a start toward returning a bit of integrity to the U.S. elections, and our friend Gronda has written an excellent, informative piece explaining it. Thank you, Gronda, for keeping us informed!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of americans for prosperity

Could the Republican Party be in receipt for even more negative news? Yes, as many donors of dark monies, (monies they can donate for political purposes anonymously), will have the cloak of anonymity taken away. Again, the courts have stepped in to rule that many of these donors will have to reveal their names to the public, even before the November 2018 elections.

Here is the rest of the story… 

On September 18, 2018, Paul Blumenthal of HuffPost penned the following report, “Dark Money Groups Will Have To Disclose Their Donors In Time For The Midterms” (“A court order invalidating a rule that kept some election spending secret is going into effect.”)

Excerpts:

“There may be a whole lot less dark money in federal elections after the Supreme Court allowed a lower court decision to go into effect on Tuesday invalidating a key regulation that created a loophole for…

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♫ Someday We’ll Be Together ♫

Where were you and what were you doing in 1969?  I had just graduated from high school, was debating what to do with my life.  My dad wanted me to be the son he never had and follow in his footsteps, but I already knew that wasn’t what I wanted.  That summer I spent working, saving money for … whatever … and tootling about in an old VW Beetle with my best friend Nidia Zamora, and none other than the Supremes blasting from the radio while I tried to ignore the future!

Someday We’ll Be Together
Diana Ross, The Supremes

Someday we’ll be together
Say, say, say it again
Someday we’ll be together
Oh, yeah, oh yeah

You’re far away
From me my love
And just as sure my, my baby
As there are stars above
I wanna say, I wanna say, I wanna say

Someday we’ll be together
Yes we will, yes we will
Say, someday (some sweet day) we’ll be together
I know, I know, I know, I know

My love is yours, baby
Oh, right from the stars
You, you, you posses my soul now honey
And I know, I know you own my heart
And I wanna say:

Someday we’ll be together
Some sweet day we’ll be together
Yes we will, yes we will
Someday (tell everybody) we’ll be together
Yes we will, yes we will

Long time ago
My, my sweet thing
I made a big mistake, honey
I said, I said goodbye
Oh, oh baby
Ever, ever, ever since that day
Now, now all I wanna do is cry, cry

Hey, hey, hey
I long for you every night
Just to kiss your sweet, sweet lips
Hold you ever, ever so tight
And I wanna say

Someday we’ll be together

Songwriters: Russell Glyn Ballard
Someday We’ll Be Together lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

More Head-Shaking Moments …

I considered not writing a post for this morning.  My mother used to caution me: “Si no puedes decir algo bueno, entonces no digas nada.”  Translation:  If you cannot say something nice, then say nothing at all.  And thus, I considered skipping my morning post, for I knew I could not say anything nice.  But, sigh, I then remembered something else my mother used to say: “Siempre comparte con tus amigos.”  Translation:  Always share with your friends.  So, grab a stick (to bite on to keep from screaming and scaring the neighbors), a box of tissues and sit down while I regale you with the latest …


Say WHAT???

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries.  I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy.” – Donald Trump, interview with John Solomon and Buck Sexton of The Hill, Tuesday 18 September 2018

Excuse me, but last I knew, a candidate … which is all Trump was after winning the primaries, after winning the nomination … does not have any more right to fire the Director of the FBI than you or I!!!  Is his ego truly so bloated that he thinks he had that ability?  And if so, then what else does he believe he can do, that he cannot … or can he?

And then there was this, from the same interview …

“You know, I took that test when I got my last physical, and the doctor said that’s one of the highest scores we’ve ever seen. I did that not because I wanted but I did it, I was always good at testing. But if there’s anything great about me it’s stability, and I’m a good manager. Always been a good manager, but you know, I have a vision.”

When I read that, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, so instead I choked on a bite of celery. Fortunately, daughter Chris is a nurse and certified in the Heimlich maneuver.

But wait … it gets even better … or worse, actually.  When speaking of his decision earlier this week to release to the public certain classified materials relating to the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election despite serious national security concerns, Trump credited …

“I have been asked by so many people that I respect, please — the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanie Pirro.”

Donald Trump … the leader of the United States of America … responsible and accountable to some 328 million people … is jeopardizing national security … based on the advice of … three radical, right-wing, conspiracy-theorist, television talk show hosts?!?!?!?!

I don’t care if you are a democrat, republican or independent, if this doesn’t make you see red, then you seriously need an education.

If you have the stomach for it, and have somebody with you who knows the Heimlich, feel free to read or watch the entire 1:32 long interview.


Ethics, Schmethics …

The September 3-9 Gallup poll asked how Trump’s ethical standards compare with those of seven of his eight predecessors.  Take a look at the results …ethics poll.pngTrump’s ethics were considered to be even lower than Richard I-am-not-a-crook Nixon!!!  Nixon, who was charged with obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress as a result of his involvement in the Watergate scandal, is the only U.S. president to resign from office, which he did in 1974, before his near-certain impeachment.

Yet more than eight in ten Republicans still approve of the job he is doing.  Shoot me now!


He should’a stayed home …

It is generally appropriate and expected for the president to visit and tour areas of the nation after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.  So, it was no surprise that Trump visited New Bern, North Carolina, hard-hit from floods as a result of Hurricane Florence last week. Trump-Florence.jpgLooking at the remains of a yacht that had washed up against the back of a brick home, Trump asked the homeowner …  “Is this your boat?” The man shook his head and said “No”. Trump turned with a grin and replied, “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.”

gaspWas there a more inappropriate remark he could have made?  Other presidents have treated natural disaster tours as dignified, solemn affairs.  After all, people have lost homes, possessions, cars, family pets, and in some cases even the lives of loved ones. They need both practical help and compassion, understanding.  With Trump, they get off-key attempts at humour, and as the New York Times states it, “pep-rally enthusiasm”.  Frankly, had I been that homeowner I would have spit in his face.  What an embarrassment he is to us all, only some 36% of the nation cannot see it.  Perhaps if he mocked their own misfortune they would begin to understand.


sad-turltleOkay, folks … that’s all I’ve got … well, actually I’ve got lots more, but that’s likely enough to start your day off on the wrong foot, so I’ll leave off here.  Have a great day, my friends … try to step away from the train wreck for a bit and go outside, enjoy nature, remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’.  I think that’s my new motto.

Signs of the Times — The Great Divide

The ludicrous-ness of the polarized political climate came to the fore multiple times yesterday and today, but a few things stand out as being beyond belief.  These are the signs of the times we are now living in, folks.


I received a “BREAKING NEWS!!!” update yesterday afternoon from no less than three media outlets.  I thought that surely somebody must have dropped a nuke as I was folding towels and listening to my phone urgently squawking  “bzzzzt … bzzzzt … bzzzzt”.  What, you ask, was the big crisis?

“Trump feels ‘terribly’ for Kavanaugh”

That’s right, folks … Trump spoke at a news conference …

“I feel so badly for him that he is going through this, to be honest with you. This is not a man who deserves this. Honestly I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman and for his beautiful young daughters. I feel terribly for them.”

… and it was BREAKING NEWS!!!  It was so damn important that I was dragged away from my clean towels and damn near given heart failure just to hear Trump empathize with a fellow pervert!  Surely there was something more important going on in the world than this?  And today, it is on the front page of every outlet, Trump’s disparagement of Christine Ford and his empathy for poor little Brett K.  The press’ credibility wears thin when they cannot prioritize any better than this.


And then there was this one that hit my inbox no less than four times:

Ted Cruz claims Beto O’Rourke is ‘going to ban barbecue across the state of Texas’

What … did some brain-eating bacteria invade the confines of Ted Cruz’ skull cavity?  It turns out to be a tweet that Cruz apparently thought humorous …Cruz tweetI don’t find it particularly funny, but neither do I find it worthy of top billing in an email.


Andy Kim-1

Andy Kim

In New Jersey, Andy Kim is running on the democratic ticket for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, against incumbent Tom MacArthur.  MacArthur is a Trump boot-licker and the people of New Jersey may be getting tired of it, for the race is tight, with Kim having a 2% lead at present.  Oh … did I mention that Andy Kim is Asian-American?  No, I didn’t, because it shouldn’t be of any importance.  But alas, this is the year 2018 when evidently ‘race matters’.

The New Jersey Republican State Committee thought it would be cute to target Kim in an ad that can only be considered racist …

Andy KimNeed I say more?  Hopefully this perfidy will only serve to increase Kim’s lead.


I have long believed that those who have never struggled to pay the rent, put food on the table or be able to afford to take their children to the doctor cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be poor.  Unfortunately, throughout history, our lawmakers have never done without anything a day in their lives, but never has this been truer than it is today, with the wealthiest Congress and the richest administration in the history of the nation.  So, it should come as no surprise that Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce whose net worth is estimated at $2.9 billion, said this …

Confirmation Hearing Held For Trump's Pick To Become Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

Somebody slap that stupid grin off his face!

“If you have a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion, that’s $20 billion a year. That’s a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of 1 percent total inflation in the U.S. Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody’s gonna actually notice it at the end of the day.”

Christmas is around the corner.  Were you planning to buy your kid a new bike, or a new kitchen gadget for your mom?  Be sure to let ol’ Wilbur know how much more you paid for it than you would have last year.  Or … more likely for most of us … send him a picture of your son’s face on Christmas morning when he finds some t-shirts and underwear in lieu of the bike he asked Santa for.


Just as I finished writing this piece, an email from political analyst Larry Sabato dropped into my inbox, a portion of which I thought might interest you.

A series of new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics polls found close races in the key Senate battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

The polls, conducted online in English from Sept. 5 to 17 with roughly 2,000 respondents per state (narrowed down to about 1,000 likely voters per state), found the following results for the Senate and gubernatorial races among likely voters in the five states surveyed:

Arizona Senate: Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47%, Martha McSally (R) 44%

Arizona Governor: Doug Ducey (R) 51%, David Garcia (D) 39%

California Senate: Dianne Feinstein (D) 44%, Kevin de León (D) 24%

California Governor: Gavin Newsom (D) 52%, John Cox (R) 40%

Florida Senate: Rick Scott (R) 46%, Bill Nelson (D) 45%

Florida Governor: Andrew Gillum (D) 50%, Ron DeSantis (R) 44%

Nevada Senate: Dean Heller (R) 46%, Jacky Rosen (D) 43%

Nevada Governor: Adam Laxalt (R) 43%, Steve Sisolak (D) 40%

Texas Senate: Beto O’Rourke (D) 47%, Ted Cruz (R) 45%

Texas Governor: Greg Abbott (R) 50%, Lupe Valdez (D) 41%

I found some of these numbers encouraging, especially the Florida governor’s race.


Okay, I could go on and on, but I have ranted enough that I’m feeling the angst and need to get up and do something physical, like punch a wall, or wash some dishes since my landlord still hasn’t fixed my bloomin’ dishwasher!  Have a great afternoon, my friends … and remember, this too shall pass … maybe.light at the end of the tunnel

Good People Doing Good Things — Luke Mickelson

I had to flip a coin tonight, for I was hard-pressed to decide between two good people, both of whom are dedicating their lives to helping children.  I didn’t want to leave either one behind, but there was only so much time, so after the coin flip, I promise to bring you the other next week.

Mickelson-2Luke Mickelson’s life changed back in 2012 when he was asked by his church to build a bed for a little girl who had none.  It was Christmas time, a cold and blustery winter in Twin Falls, Idaho where a little girl was sleeping on the floor on naught but a pile of clothes.

“This little girl had a nest of clothes, it looked like a little bird’s nest. And that’s what she slept on, that’s what her bed was. When we delivered the bed, she hugged it and just couldn’t let go. It was such an eye-opener to me. I sat there in silence thinking, ‘Is that really what’s going on?’ I had no clue about what the need was. There’s kids next door whose parents are struggling just to put food on the table, clothes on their back, a roof over their head. A bed was just a luxury. “

Using his daughter’s bunk bed as a template, Mickelson started buying wood and supplies to build beds with his own money. He recruited friends and family members to help around the holidays.  As word spread, interest and involvement from his and other communities surged — along with Mickelson’s bunk bed output.

Mickelson-3That first year, Luke and his team of volunteers built 11 bunk beds in his garage, and the next year it was 15. As their project became known around the community, the demand rose and before long, Luke had a dilemma … he had a lucrative job, with a six-figure income, but building beds was becoming more and more time-consuming.  What to do?  Luke did what few would likely have done … he quit his job to make beds!  He took a significantly lesser-paying part-time job to support his family and turned his attention toward the needs of his community.SHP-2Mickelson set up a non-profit called Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) and their motto is “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town”.  With the help of volunteers and donations for materials, SHP in Twin Falls built and delivered 612 beds to children in 2017.

But the organization is no longer just in Twin Falls, Idaho. Mickelson began a training center where people interested in starting a chapter in their own community can come and learn how to make beds and how to organize their own chapter.  In February, Mickelson and SHP were featured in a Facebook video feature titled Returning the Favor and the response was so overwhelming that they increased their chapters from 14 in February to 100 today.  And per their website, they have more than 900 pending requests for new chapters.  This is an idea that is taking off like wildfire, and for such a good cause. mapIn September 2017, a storage unit used by SHP to store materials, mattresses, etc., was burglarized and over $2,000 worth of materials stolen.  From the Idaho State Journal …

CHUBBUCK — A local charity wants those who burglarized the storage unit that contained several mattresses and bedding supplies to know that their actions have kept eight children sleeping on the floor at night.

“It’s very heart-wrenching,” said Luke Mickelson, the founder of the non-profit Sleep in Heavenly Peace, or SHP, which builds and donates bunk beds to children and families who don’t have anywhere to sleep. “Anytime you have something stolen you feel very stripped. But in this case, when you think about it, those people just robbed eight children of a place to sleep.”

First reported to the Chubbuck Police Department on Sept. 1, Mickelson said the thieves stole eight Malouf Lucid twin-size mattresses, along with several boxes of sheets, pillows, pillowcases and custom handmade quilts from a storage unit located in Chubbuck.

Mickelson continued, “If someone is so desperate they have to steal bedding, I hope they were in dire need and they can put it to good use because the quilts were really priceless and were donated from these awesome elderly ladies that put a lot of time into making them. How do you put a price to their time?”

In June, Luke Mickelson and SHP were featured on CNN Heroes. From the SHP website:

We have grown a lot in just the last year. As you can imagine, we are still working out all our processes and bugs. We are currently a 100% volunteer board and staff. No one currently receives a dime from any of the donations.  

Where we didn’t expect such a torrent was in requests to start a new chapter. It was such a flood of requests to start up that we had to better define our processes. As of the writing of this post, we have have a total of 521 requests to start new chapters in 47 states, in 4 provinces of Canada, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Kenya and 1 in Mexico.

Perhaps the most important thing we can give to others is our time.  Luke Mickelson gave up a lucrative job and countless hours of his time to do something for children.  He and his team of volunteers from coast-to-coast are bringing smiles to kids’ faces every day.  People like this, my friends, are the ‘real’ people in this world, the ones that restore our faith in humanity.

On Being Found Wanting

Today, our friend Roger wrote a post that I have to share with you all. In the politically divided world we find ourselves in today, it is altogether too easy to wake up one morning and find that ‘we’ have become ‘they’, that our own voices are just as toxic as those with whom we disagree. Several times in the past year I have written a post, then scrapped it after a 2nd reading, realizing that it was more vitriolic than informative. Roger’s post speaks of his own struggles to remain above the fray, and his words, spoken from his heart, have value for us all. Many thanks, Roger, for sharing your thoughts and for your kind permission to re-blog.

Raging from the Lectern

Citizen present yourself before the tribunal….. 

Back in the good (that’s irony for all you humourless folk out there, of whatever political stripe) old days of Communist Rule, the powers in charge were very big on Critical Self-Examination. This meant some hapless person who had fallen out of favour got hauled up before a tribunal to confess whatever they’d been told to confess to if they really cared for their family or hoped they might get out in one piece. Having said they had been very, very wrong for whatever it was they had been told they had done wrong they would be shunted out to a firing squad, prison camp in the back of beyond, or if it was being blamed for the demise of the Committee’s potted plants simply sent to clean sewers with their bare hands for a while. No one considered ‘Not Guilty’ as an option.

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Why God Is Laughing At Brett Kavanaugh And His Fellow Republicans

Much has been said and written about Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation hearings in the past few weeks, much debate about his fitness (or lack thereof) for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. I have purposely avoided writing about Kavanaugh because I knew I did not have all the information needed to make an informed opinion, although I instinctively felt he was not a good candidate for the position. Friend Gronda has summed up nicely the many reasons that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for the seat on the Court, and today I share her highly informative post. Gronda presents much information about Kavanaugh’s judicial history that I was not aware of, so please take a minute to read. Many thanks, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos bill clinton in impeachment daysRemember the gentlemen who went after President Bill Clinton tooth and nail for his sexual misdeeds when he presided in the White House. Well Judge Brett Kavanaugh was one of those players who relished pontificating on President Clinton’s lack of moral character. It was Mr. Kavanaugh who recommended to the Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr that he ask President Clinton questions about his sexual peccadilloes in the most salacious way possible.

Just read what the republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley stated for the record (below), as to why they voted to impeach President Clinton in 1996, and they are the same ones who are fast -tracking the confirmation process through the US Senate Judiciary Committee, for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become the next US Supreme Court Justice. Today, they are crying foul as a 51 year old woman is bringing a 36 year old of attempted rape allegation against…

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♫ The Living Years ♫

Every now and again, I wax nostalgic and seek those songs that tend to bring tears near to the surface.  Tonight is one of those nights, and rather than be nostalgic and and teary-eyed all by myself, I thought to share the joy (?) with you, my friends.

This song is written from the perspective of a son who has a conflicted relationship with his father. After his father dies, he discovers that he and his dad had a much stronger bond than he ever realized, and the son regrets not saying more while his dad was alive.

It was written by group founder Mike Rutherford and the Scottish songwriter B.A. Robertson. Both Robertson and Rutherford had recently lost their fathers when they wrote this song, making it a very personal endeavor for both of them.

The song was written in stages. B.A. Robertson wrote the first verse before his father died in 1986, the same year Rutherford lost his dad. The pair composed the music based on this verse, and then a while later Robertson came up with the second verse. The final verse didn’t come to him until shortly before the song was recorded. Robertson was staying at a hotel in Los Angeles and was under pressure to finish the lyric before flying back to Europe. He recalls going outside to a garden at the hotel when the verse came to him.

Robertson was working with Rutherford when he got the call that his dad had died, which is reflected in the opening lines of this verse:

I wasn’t there that morning
When my father passed away

Three months before his father died, Robertson’s son was born, which we hear in this line:

I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears

The Living Years
Mike & The Mechanics

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Oh, crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud (say it loud), say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be okay

So say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
Because it’s too late, it’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (it’s too late when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So say it, say it, say it loud (say it loud)
Say it clear (come on say it clear)

Songwriters: B.A. Robertson / Mike Rutherford (gb)
The Living Years lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Concord Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

Ignoring The Lessons Of The Past …

hot stoveAs children, we learn by doing.  When we place our hand on the open flame of a gas burner, as I did at about age 4, we learn that it is hot, it hurts, and it gets us yelled at, so we don’t do it again.  Well, most of us don’t.  As adults, we have developed the ability to learn by not only our own past experiences, but also those of others, and at least in theory, we can use our ability to reason to determine likely outcomes for our actions.  So, when I read that cigarette smoking is responsible for certain diseases, then I can make the decision to not smoke, right?  Okay, bad example, for I am a 3-pack-a-day smoker, but you get the point.  We don’t need to drive our car over a cliff to know that it is not a good idea.

However, as you’ve often heard me say, it seems that we … the human race in general … fail to learn the lessons of history.  We keep making the same stupid mistakes, over and over.

Yesterday, Donald Trump imposed new tariffs on Chinese imports, to the tune of $200 billion, in addition to the $50 billion previously imposed.

“Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China. The tariffs will take effect on September 24, 2018, and be set at a level of 10 percent until the end of the year. On January 1, the tariffs will rise to 25 percent. Further, if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.

We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices. To counter China’s unfair practices, on June 15, I announced that the United States would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. China, however, still refuses to change its practices – and indeed recently imposed new tariffs in an effort to hurt the United States economy.

As President, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself. My Administration will not remain idle when those interests are under attack.”

Even on the surface to those of us who are not economists, there are some obvious flaws with his plan. Make no mistake … there is no “if” here … there isn’t much doubt that China will impose retaliatory tariffs. But let’s take a look at another case, one from which we might have learned a lesson.

tiresIn 2009, American tire makers persuaded the Obama administration to impose tariffs on Chinese tires, and imports of tires from China fell sharply. But Chinese companies did not stop making tires in response to the tariffs — they simply moved production to other places, including to the United States.

Chinese tire manufacturer Giti, built a factory in South Carolina to make low-cost tires for Walmart.  Did the move keep some jobs in the U.S.?  Sure, but a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) showed that consumers paid a hefty price: an extra $1.1 billion on tires as a result of a tariff that preserved, at most, 1,200 jobs. That is almost $1 million per job, for jobs paying an average of about $40,000.

The 2009 tire tariffs — and similar efforts by past administrations to tax everything from socks to solar panels — have generally failed to protect existing factories and jobs. The Chinese factory in South Carolina created new jobs for American workers but, in effect, the tariffs only moved jobs from one place to another … at a very high price.

Steel tariffs imposed in 2002 by President George W. Bush yielded similar results, penalizing not just consumers but companies that use steel to make other products, like construction companies and carmakers.  There are about 140,000 jobs in the U.S. steel-making industry, but by contrast, 6.5 million who work in industries that buy steel and will be hit hard by Trump’s steel tariffs.

GMDid you know that General Motors sells more cars in China than in the U.S.?  What do you suppose happens when China imposes tariffs on U.S. autos?  Or when the Chinese government calls for a boycott on U.S. goods?  As an authoritarian government, they do not operate under the same constraints as the U.S.

Trump claims that thus far his tariffs have not had much impact on the U.S. consumer, but if you are a savvy food shopper and pay attention to prices, you will have noticed that certain items have increased, some by quite a bit.  And … on 18 December 2017, the price per gallon for regular fuel was $2.16.  Today it is $2.84, a 31.5% increase.

Simply put, tariffs are taxes ultimately paid by American consumers, in the form of higher prices. In addition to the latest round of tariffs on China, there are the steel tariffs on nearly every nation, plus the retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S. by other nations.  Remember back when Trump said that trade wars are ‘easy to win’?  Guess what, folks … there are no winners.  Trump has not only failed to learn the many lessons of history but is seemingly unable or unwilling to apply reasoning and logic in his decision-making process.  And guess who’s going to pay the price, my friends.  Not Trump, not his rich cronies …

Sign Of The Apocalypse?

When I first began reading Hugh’s post, I inadvertently let out a primal scream, and after another paragraph, slammed the lid on my laptop, got up and reheated a small bowl of rice before I could finish reading the post. This may not sound like an endorsement for the post, but believe me, it is. Hugh has brought to light something that is happening today that has far longer reaching and outlasting consequences than any of the many abominations tied to Donald Trump. The subject? The re-writing of history, the replacing of facts with opinions. Please, please take a few minutes to read Hugh’s excellent post and think about what he is saying. Get your bowl of rice before you start, though. Thank you, dear Hugh, for bringing this to our attention, and for your generous permission to share.

hughcurtler

One of the more insidious movements in this country is that toward the rewriting of history– eliminating unpleasant facts from the history books. This movement is perhaps a part of the New History movement about which I have blogged in the past — the attempt to reduce history to a form of literature, giving special attention to minor historical figures that have been ignored in the past (probably with good reason!)

In any event, one does wonder why this sort of censorship is not only allowed, but encouraged — even by the Texas State Board of Education which has decided to erase any mention of Hillary Clinton from the history textbooks in order to “streamline” history. As a recent Yahoo news story tells us:

The Texas State Board of Education voted Friday to remove mentions of Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the state’s mandatory history curriculum . . .  The…

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