Bethlehem Steel

 

What you see above you is the great Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Or at least it was.

It can be again.

But now it sits vacant.

Just to the side of it, out of the camera’s sight, sits the Sands Casino.

That’s the story of America in the latter half of the 20th century.

Replacing meat with cotton candy was what our leaders gave us.

Replacing muscle with flab is what happened to America.

Free trade was the philosophical  bullshit that was sold to us.

With free trade and open markets everyone would prosper.

That’s what they said.

Sure.

The people who prospered were the people at the top.

They shut down the factories in America and transferred their operations to China.

Why?

Cheap labor, baby.

As one executive told me many years ago, one US worker was equal to 10 Mexican workers or 25 Chinese workers when it came to cost overhead.

Cheap labor boosts profits, and increased profits boosts stock share value.

Viola!

Do the math.

Free trade is a winner if you’re a CEO.

If you’re a worker at Bethlehem Steel, well, look at the picture above you.

Now, of course it wasn’t just free trade that did in Bethlehem Steel.

It’s a nice narrative to believe such, but Bethlehem Steel went a long way to doing itself in.

In a nutshell what also contributed to the demise of Bethlehem Steel was its own failure to adopt new technologies that were introduced into steelmaking.

One such technology was continuous casting which made steel production cheaper and more efficient.

But who ultimately is responsible for failure to adapt?

Is it the 9 to 5 worker?

Or is it the CEO?

It was failed leadership that doomed Bethlehem Steel and not just at the company level.

The blame must be shared by the leadership in Washington, who are entrusted to protect the general welfare of the people of the United States.

It’s the captain who runs the ship.

It’s the captain who goes down with the ship – except in this case.

In this case the captain made a secret deal with his lieutenants and abandoned a debilitated ship in the middle of the night when no one was looking.

He and his buddies took a sweet, shiny new yacht to safety while the passengers took a one-way trip to the bottom of the sea.

Why fix an old ship when a new one with a luxury cabin suits the captain just fine?

Maybe the captain wasn’t all that motivated to fix the old ship, do you think?

Ironically, after Bethlehem Steel closed and was sold to make way for the new casino, a problem arose.

When building the new casino, steel was difficult to find due to a global shortage of steel.

It figures.

Now the rationale for closing these plants is that they can’t compete on price.  Well, of course, they can’t compete.  Why would they be able to compete when Chinese workers get paid a few dollars a day?

Free traders argue as if the American worker is somehow inefficient or being a cheat by demanding a fair wage.  But even if we accept that flawed conclusion for the purpose of this argument, the cost of Chinese steel far exceeds the cost of manufacturing steel here in America when we add in the costs of unemployment and the social ills – increased crime and drug addiction – that functional unemployment yields.  Further factor in the absent ripple effect to the local economy that ensues when well-paid steel workers purchase goods from strong local retailers rather than multinational big box retailers who siphon money out of the local economy into their one-way piggy bank in New York, and you will see that Chinese steel is not cheap at all.

 

www.the jfklie.com

Let Them Eat Cake

Take notice of what passes for utopia in France, young socialists.

Paris is burning as the Yellow Vests hold France and its leader, Macron, accountable for the imposition of a fuel tax.

As Paris burns, Macron, feasts on pheasant at Versailles.

Yet why should this be?

Why should the French people be so angry?

It isn’t as if the country and its people are living the through the plague.

They are not Fantine from Les Miserables.

No, the French have it pretty good.

Actually they enjoy benefits out the derrière.

They have national health care in which everyone is covered, good pension plans, guaranteed vacation and sick days that would make Americans drool, and a 35 hour work week.

Not bad.

Sure, the unemployment rate is 9 to 10 per cent,  but that is hardly staggering.

France has had these levels of unemployment before without riots.

So why now?

Economists, true to form, have stepped up their eco-babble; they mumble incoherently about dual labor markets whereby many citizens can not get jobs in the first place because of the difficulty in firing an employee once hired.  Thus employers are unwilling to hire.

With growth rates in the economy low, it seems unlikely that employers will step up their hiring.

Demand, as elsewhere in the world, seems to be low in France.  In other words people have less money to buy things.

Duh, I wonder why.  Could it be because the stupid leadership of the world put everyone under austerity to pay for the mistakes of the dumbasses who led them?

In France this problem is more acute because France extracts so much money in taxes to pay for social services.

But this is not new in France. The government has long extracted money from the people to do things for people.

And therein lies the problem: the people must wait for the government to do things for them rather than they doing it for themselves.

And so what has arisen in France over generations is increasing helplessness which would not have arisen had the leaders acted responsibly.

But, of course, they didn’t.

What changed in the world in 2007 was that the leaders of the world made their unprecedented charge to hog the wealth of the world.  They gave themselves bailouts instead of jail time.

The leaders helped themselves out at the expense of the people.

Moreover the leaders who created this economic catastrophe did nothing for the people.

This did not go unnoticed by the peoples of the world.

In France, the leaders not only enriched themselves they added insult to injury by adding a fuel tax.

Thus the riots.

It’s not the money.

It’s the disrespect that the leaders show their citizens.

Citizens want to be respected. They want to have a say in their own affairs. They want their leaders to listen to them.

People need to contribute as surely as they need to breathe.

Any system that fails to recognize this – and this applies particularly to top-down driven socialist “democracies” – will feel the wrath of the people.

France is no different.

One day Parisian mobs – are there any other kind – will again parade their leaders through the streets in a wooden cart on their way to a thirsty guillotine.

It’s their national sport.

The leaders will cry out, “How did I offend thee, loyal subjects?  My heart will always lie with France.”

The citizens, from their earthen hovels, will silently point to Versailles.

 

www.thejfklie.com

GM and Gall

GM is eliminating 14,000 jobs in Ohio, Detroit and elsewhere in the United States.

What should Trump do?

Words won’t cut it.

Nor will worrying about the legal ramifications if action is taken.

If?

We don’t need if.

Leaders lead.

If Trump had guts, he would immediately suspend all sales of GM cars, trucks and parts in the United States.

If he had guts, he would stand in front of the dealerships himself brandishing a weapon.

If he had guts, he would immediately place under house arrest all GM executives and board members.

If he had guts, he would confiscate their wealth to be placed in the public trust.

If he had guts, he would break the back of General Motors on the basis of national security.

But this would take guts, something in short supply in both Washington and Trump.

The gall and nerve of General Motors to eliminate jobs in the United States is staggering given the bailouts that this giant corporate baby received only ten years ago.

For your information these bailouts weren’t exactly a winner for us,

This company is begging for a spanking.

And Trump should deliver it.

Post haste.

If that is not forthcoming, then the people themselves should boycott General Motors.

An adequate slogan might be:  “You don’t make here, you don’t sell here.

It sounds reasonable to me.

This is the only way to take down these global titans.

The leaders of these international corporations have become unhinged from the people they are supposed to serve.

They don’t give two flips about the people.

Hence, the people should reciprocate.

Trump, the candidate who said, “I will be your voice,” should reciprocate.

It’s time to man up, Mr. President.

www.thejfklie.com

California Fires

The big story coming out of California is of course the Woolsey fire which is destroying Malibu.

Our President, true to form, has injected himself into the issue and not in the most positive way.

Instead of displaying compassion, the President focused on the mismanagement of the California forests.

Hollywood activists are enraged.

Well, they should be enraged about the President’s seeming lack of compassion, although I think he does care in his own way.

What they should not be enraged about is the President’s accuracy in pointing out that the California forests are mismanaged.

We shouldn’t be surprised. California is the most poorly managed state in the union.

It is so because of the antiquated  and unfair way in which California represents its citizens.

It’s called taxation without representation.

There are currently one-hundred assemblymen for roughly 46 to 50,000,000 Californians. And that does not include illegal immigrants.

That translates to a ratio of one for every 500,000 Californians.

When the representation is that poor, quality government is impossible.

What soon transpires is what has transpired in the state of California. Government is now run by plebiscite (propositions), activist loudmouths, corporate big whigs, Hollywood celebrities, and the whims of conventional wisdom.

Who is not represented in California are the regular people who have local knowledge and local expertise. These people are not listened to it all.

And there are people who do know.  Here is another link.

Whether we are talking about forests, fisheries, farming or oil the problem is the same. California is badly mismanaged.

It couldn’t be otherwise with its current form of government.

If you read my earlier post you will see my feelings about direct election of Senators.

The same feelings can be applied to the election of assemblymen in California.

What has to happen in California is the division of each assemblyman‘s district into nine subdistricts of 50,000 people who will elect one sub-assemblyman from their subdistrict.

Those nine sub-assemblymen would  then select one assemblyman to represent them.

When this model is followed, regular people will be able to communicate with their assemblyman.  Good ideas will rise to the top. There will no longer be the need to hold plebiscites in California.

Horrible fires such as the Woolsey fire can be prevented.

And yes the Woolsey fire could have been prevented or limited in extent. Sure, nobody can prevent every single fire.

However, prudent culling of the trees could have limited the extent of this fire. Most likely this was not done because loud mouthed activists and their wealthy Hollywood celebrities  pitched a temper tantrum every time a tree was cut down.

Now, there are no trees.

 

www.thejfklie.com

Our Phony Media

Why is the media liberal?

The oligarchs who control the media are greedy capitalists who are consumed with making money.  So why do they support a socialist agenda?

They do so because they’re not true capitalists but socialists posing as capitalists.

True capitalists take risks with their own money.

These oligarchs do nothing of the sort.

They are phonies.

These oligarchs don’t take risks at all. They play with government money – your money.

They are better termed crony capitalists.

They support a liberal media to keep their true enemy at bay.

The true enemy of the oligarch is the middle class below them.

It is the middle class who are the true capitalists in American society.

These true capitalists in the middle class are fundamentally conservative.  They have to be; they gamble with their own money.

The middle class is the driving force behind the conservative movement in the United States of America. The so-called wealthy leaders are interlopers, parasites, deceivers. They suck the life blood out of the conservative movement.

This conservative movement, the  drive towards true capitalism is a threat to the oligarch.  He has no desire to compete with anyone. What he wants is a free ride in life. He feels he is entitled to that free ride having gone to an elite school.

To combat the middle class conservative, the elite oligarch must enlist the support of the poor.

To do so the elite oligarch finances  and supports a liberal media that lies to the poor who are not as well read.

Bogus issues such as Russia-gate are regularly advanced.  Buzz words such as trickle down economics are bandied about.  Arguments are continually reframed to skirt the issue.  Long term solutions are routinely dismissed as long term and impractical.  The threat of cutting social security is a given.

The end result is a maintaining of the status quo which means bigger and bigger government  – which is what the oligarch wants because it helps him and kills the middle class.

And so a symbiotic codependent relationship develops between the rich and the poor – the rich who agree to rule; and the poor who agreed to be ruled.

The loser is the conservative middle class.

Ironically, It is the liberal middle class who loses also. They lose because small and regional businesses dissolve.  Well paying jobs now controlled by corporations evaporate

This is the way things are.

The true goal of the oligarch is to destroy the middle class and transform it into a sea of paupers at which point there will be two classes of people – the oligarchs and the poor.

The media controlled by the oligarch fights to the death to ensure that you never realize this.

My Land of Lakes, Sweet Land of Liberty

Just the other day Land of Lakes butter decided to rescind support for Representative Steve King of Iowa.

I suppose they think he is some sort of racist or bigot.

Well, maybe he is.  I don’t know.  He sure sounds extreme.  There are many, many of his views I disagree with.

My question is this:  Why does Land of Lakes butter think at all about what kind of views Steve King, or anyone else, has toward anyone?

The only thing Land of Lakes butter should think about in our current system is making better butter here in America.

That’s what Land of Lakes butter should be concerned about.  

Now, if you’re a social activist and believe that Land of Lakes butter should be concerned about what Steve King thinks, then you should ask how much money Land of Lakes butter makes by selling butter to the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How much money does Land of Lakes butter make off our global killing machine?

Does Land of Lakes butter benefit by supporting war?

War and subsequent exploitation of peoples is the ultimate form of bigotry.

Maybe Land of Lakes butter is the ultimate bigot here.

Maybe Land of Lakes butter ought to shut its big, fat mouth.

Maybe Land of Lakes butter along with other corporations shouldn’t be allowed to lobby at all.

Maybe Land of Lakes butter along with the other corporations shouldn’t be allowed to contribute to political campaigns.

People who sit on a high horse get knocked off.

At any rate, the job of a business is to add value to society, and the best way for Land of Lakes butter to do that is to make better butter.

That’s why Land of Lakes butter exists.

Land of Lakes butter is not a person regardless of what the Supreme Court may think or dictate.

As a non-person, Land of Lakes butter has no soul, no sense of shame, and no country.  Given the time, they will prove just that in spades.

Of course this is the modern trend:  using global corporations to decide who your representatives will be via campaign contributions.

If this is what you are for, welcome to  Corporate America, your new feudal overlord.

There is no need for you to think anymore, my friend.  Land of Lakes butter will take care of that for you.

In his own way, JFK foresaw the future we now live in and offered an alternative vision.  For that he was killed.

www.thejfklie.com

How to Fix The JFK Lie in 30 Seconds

The Bond Scam

What would happen if we got rid of the bond market

I’ve been looking at the bond market for over 35 years, and it’s as confusing today as it was 35 years ago.

It shouldn’t be confusing for a bond is just a loan.

Yet economists have gobbledygooked bonds into a state of incomprehensibility.

They hired a guy who sits in a basement in a building on Wall Street who runs a little machine.  He turns the crank and the machine spits out eco-babble faster than you can learn it.

This guy is good at what he does.

Go read any analysis of the bond market to see what I mean.  

They’re just making shit up.

Now, I understand that professional bond traders think they understand what they’re talking about, but the average Joe does not.  

Nor do I suspect the politicians who are being asked to supervise this mess when it comes to government debt.

When someone can’t explain what they’re selling, they’re probably taking you for a ride.

The bond market needs to go.  All of it.  The whole shebang, lingo too -coupon, maturity, face value, yield, secondary markets, credit markets, net present value, gross financial needs.

And these are the easy terms.

Go fuck yourself, Señor Huckster.  Take your act, you carnival barker, and bulldoze it off the White Cliffs of Dover.

What has the international bond market done for Greece?

Debt and lots of it.

Ten years after the financial crisis of 2008 Greece is still loaded down with incomprehensible debt.

At its peak the debt was $350 billion dollars; yet there are only 10 million people live in Greece.

This translates to $3,500 for each Greek citizen.

How did the bond market help Greece?

It didn’t.

The problem with bonds is that they gives the false illusion of wealth.  The bank gives you a lot of money, but if you don’t spend it wisely, you’re sunk.  On top of that you have to pay it back.

What did Greece spend the money on?

Pensions, social spending, defense.  Greece tried to fool itself that it was still pulling in money.

When the 2008 collapse hit revenue dropped, just as it did in Venezuela, but the debt continued all of which illustrates a problem.

Man is inherently stupid.

Man can not  borrow responsibly nor can he comprehend the scammer who is loaning him the money.

Even the professionals get scammed whether they are buying or selling. Just ask CalPERS.

All of which points out that the bond market needs to be reformed.  Indeed the entire concept of interest needs to be reformed.

Maybe we can learn something from Islam which figured out a long time ago that there was something not right about this loan game.

There exists no other field in which a seller extracts a pound of flesh on a percentage basis.

Suppose your surgeon takes out your appendix and decides to extract 5% of your wealth for the rest of your life. Would that be OK with you?

It would certainly be good for the surgeon who would become incredibly rich.

No other field save banking operates on a percentage basis.

What this has produced is an incredible, unwarranted accumulation of wealth within the banking profession.

There’s no justification for this.

Bankers are stewards of the public money supply and should be reimbursed for the hours they put in.

They should not be permitted to operate on a percentage basis.

Just because that’s the way it’s been done does it mean that’s the way it should be done.

Suppose bankers were only allowed to charge a flat fee for the loans that they made. There is no reason we could not have tiers of charges for larger loans.

On top of that suppose that banks were not permitted to be creditors at all.

Suppose that banks had to invest and become equity owners?

Oh, but they don’t want to be.

Who gives a fuck?

Citizens must no longer pay because of theft or poor decision making at the top.

One simple reform is needed.

Eliminate bonds in favor of equity.

Create a new type of non-voting, non-controlling equity vehicle with defined rights and privileges that forbid or mitigate payback in down times.

Nobody is paying back anything to anybody in times of stress.

Yes, the borrower is required to pay back the lender, but that is only if the funds are available.

If you’re JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs or the IMF, you have to take a real risk, not a phony risk.

Bonds are a coward’s risk.

If Goldman wants to invest in Venezuela let them be partners, not parasites.

If Rothschild wants to invest in Greece let them be partners, not parasites.

Let them take a real risk.

When these banks have to take real risks they will go to greater lengths to insure that the money they invest is more wisely spent.

Loans will be smaller, focused and more prudent.

Furthermore, if the borrower defaults and the lender decides to seize control of the asset, the borrower will still have equity that the lender can not negate.

Such a mechanism prevents lenders from gaining unfair wealth though default.

Wouldn’t this be a good thing?

Duh.