America Just Can’t Make It Anymore.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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USA industrial economy

The statement in the title is not true, except that it is.

If you are a little confused stay with me and let me clarify.

The United States used to be the industrial power house of the world. Its industries generated unprecedented wealth for the country, creating the world’s first self-made billionaires and productive wealth creating jobs galore for everyone. The whole country prospered.

Today, however, the United States has become the world’s second biggest importer of goods. Worse than that, even though America still exports billions of dollars’ worth in oil, consumer goods and automotive products, it imports even more. This creates a trade deficit ($471 billion according to recent figures).

US Trade Deficit

So what are all these imports into the US?

Well, they include industrial machinery and equipment ($681 billion), automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($309 billion), miscellaneous private services, primarily financial services ($201 billion), cell phones ($90 billion), travel passenger services ($86 billion), pharmaceuticals ($84 billion), computers ($65 billion), chemicals ($61 billion), other transportation services ($59 billion), computer accessories ($57 billion), telecommunications equipment ($54 billion), royalties and license fees services ($42 billion), apparel ($49 billion), petroleum products ($48 billion), fuel oil ($44 billion), industrial supplies ($29 billion), U.S. Government service imports primarily defense ($25 billion), fish ($18 billion), fruit ($13 billion), and vegetables ($11 billion).

Cartoon imports

If you are a bit shell-shocked by all those figures let me phrase it a bit differently using as examples the types of goods you would tend to buy.

  • 100% (almost) of the shoes bought in the U.S. come from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico;
  • 90% of white goods (washers, fridges, etc.) and consumer electronics are imported;
  • 85% of household furniture is imported;
  • 80% of cars on U.S. roads come from Canada (31%), Japan (24%), Germany (16%) and Mexico (12%); and,
  • 65% of U.S. clothing is imported from China (37%), Vietnam (9.4%), Indonesia (7.2%) and Bangladesh (6.7%).

Probably the saddest part is that even things you thought were “American” are now actually made overseas and imported.

I remember while on a business trip to the US many, many years ago I bought a gift for the young son of a friend of mine. He was a big sports enthusiast so I reckoned that one of the most iconic symbols of sport from America would be a baseball. I bought one in Wal-Mart. It was marked with all the different holding positions for the various ways to throw a baseball (fast ball, curve ball and all that). The perfect gift.

I gave it to him on my return feeling ever so pleased with myself. The kid opened it, showed momentary delight, then looked up at me accusingly. “It says ‘Made in China'” he told me.

Baseball made in China

But it’s not only baseballs. Similar types of product that you would think are all-American, like Converse All Stars, Levi’s, Huffy bicycles, televisions, Monopoly, Etch-a-Sketch, Radio Flyer wagons, Barbie dolls, and last but by no means least, most of those American flags just ain’t American no more.

modern monopoly board

It really doesn’t have to be this way. Apple, for example, doesn’t have to become the richest company in the world by manufacturing its products in China and storing its vast hoards of cash overseas.

Or does it?

Everything on the lists above could still be made in the US and surpluses exported to other countries. But the US government and its moronic bureaucrats are spending their time and our money thinking up new ways, not to help American businesses, but to add ever-increasing amounts of rules, regulations and bureaucracy on to American companies.

American businesses can no longer compete, because their own government has ensured that the deck is stacked against them.

In the mind of a bureaucrat losing a million productive wealth creating jobs, for example, in the automotive industry, and replacing them with a million more administrative jobs that cost the country money evens things out.

It doesn’t. Simple math will tell you that. Every time it happens things get worse and America gets poorer.

So America just can’t make it anymore, but not because China has stolen the jobs. It’s because the US government bureaucrats gave them away.

Put the blame where it should be.

StimulusBureaucrats

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Sacre Bleu! – Er, Make That Red White And Bleu!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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sacre bleu cartoon

There has been a lot of activity in France lately concerning the United States government spying on three French Presidents.

The current President of France even called an emergency meeting of the Conseil de la Défense, the country’s highest national security forum to discuss the emergence of documents that appear to implicate the US National Security Agency (NSA) – now who’da guessed that? –  spying on Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, who ruled France from 1995 to 2012.

The documents further indicate that the NSA may have also targeted the personal communications of Francois Hollande, France’s current head of state.

The files were published by WikiLeaks, which described them as “top secret intelligence reports and technical documents”, detailing NSA spying operations against the French presidency, as well as espionage directed at several French government ministers and at France’s ambassador to the US.

French President Francois Hollande at meeting to discuss Wikileaks revelations

The documents include intelligence briefs, which detail the thoughts and diplomatic maneuvers by French presidents and other senior officials, on subjects such as the Greek economic crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and the United Nations.

This is further evidence of more disgraceful and arrogant behavior by US spy agencies.

The thing is, however, no one is surprised any more.

Since Edward Snowden’s revelations the world has come to expect illegal and bad behavior from Americans. It is as simple as that. And for the reputations of Americans it is as bad as that. Which is a great pity because these activities do not represent in any way the vast majority of the American people.

So, if they aren’t a surprise to anyone, will the latest revelations cause trouble between America and France? I think the undoubted answer is “Oui”, but only a “petit oui”.

As befits normal protocol in these kinds of things, the American ambassador to France was summoned for what was called ‘an official protest’, but little or nothing more happened apart from President Obama getting on the phone with the French President, groveling and apologizing and assuring him in no uncertain terms “that the US is no longer spying on France”.

No, I don’t believe him either, but there it is.

President Obama on phone

There was no need for America’s snooping. As with Germany, French and American intelligence agencies cooperate with each other regularly. They jointly monitor international issues of mutual concern, such as what is happening in Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine, Libya, and even the financial catastrophe that is Greece.

For now that will continue, but the road ahead looks bumpy.

Wikileaks has already made good on its promise that its “French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future”.

The latest release from the whistleblower website contains more documents that indicate that the National Security Agency (NSA), under orders from Washington, were tasked with collecting secret information not only about the economic policies of the French government and the country’s financial sector, but on export contracts by French companies.

In fact every French-registered company involved in negotiations for international projects or other sales contracts valued at over $200 million, like car makers Peugeot and Renault and financial institutions like BNP Paribas and the agricultural credit union, were also subjected to US government secret snooping.

Washington’s pathetic statements that none of this information is ever used to benefit American companies competing for international contracts rings mighty hollow with the French, and the rest of the world come to that.

This latest information is a lot more damning and may necessitate a much stronger response from the French – even if it is just to save face.

Like their attitude over the invasion of Iraq, I think any further reaction would include little or no cooperation in any future American interventions in the Middle East and maybe the use of a veto or two in the United Nations.

We might be at the start of a new meaning to the term “non” cooperation?

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non merci button

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A Right Old Mess!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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political hypocrisy

It seems there is no end to the political hypocrisy that has taken over our well surveilled world.

I wrote a post a few days ago about the Belgian government wanting Skype to hand over confidential customer data. I called it ‘Taking A Swipe At Skype’ (if you want to read it click here )

In a previous post called, ‘What Is The German Word For Hypocrite?’ (if you want to read that one click here) I had a bit of rant against the hypocrisy of Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel who professed great anxiety publicly about the Americans snooping in on her phone calls while she and her intelligence agencies were in cahoots with the US to spy on other European countries.

Now a week or so later the two stories have merged with yet another piece of hypocrisy, this time by the Belgians who have announced that they are starting an official investigation into allegations that Belgium’s telecommunications networks were spied on by a consortium of German and American intelligence agencies.

telecommunications network

In other words, it is okay for the Belgians to snoop on Skype users, but not okay when someone else wants to snoop on the Belgians.

If that’s not another good example of hypocrisy I don’t know what is.

Specifically the targets in Belgian sights are the United States National Security Agency and Germany’s Bundesnach-richtendienst (BND) and an operation that they referred to as ‘EIKONAL’.

The Belgians found out about the snooping when Austrian politician Peter Pilz blew his whistle at a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, saying that EIKONAL had targeted European telecommunications carriers for at least four years, from 2005 to 2008.

Spokesmen for the Belgian government have said that if the alleged espionage is confirmed, it would have “not only legal implications, but will also affect relations between Belgium, Germany and the US”. It also threatened to “take appropriate action” but didn’t specify what that would be – they probably don’t know yet.

Switzerland and the Netherlands flags

Needless to say, the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands were not amused by the revelations either and immediately launched their own investigations into this thing called ‘EIKONAL’.

It’s all turning into what they call “a right old mess”.

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Puns About Monorails Always Make For Decent One-Liners.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It is just as hard to guage the size of a monorail as it is to guage the popularity of puns.

Here is another selection of word plays that may help you make up your mind.

Enjoy or endure!!

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rofl

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According to ‘serving suggestions’

I’m a family of four

 'serving suggestions

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Me and my friend used to spend

all our time together in a tree-house,

but then we fell out.

 tree-house

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I come from a small town

whose population never changes.

Every time a woman falls pregnant,

someone leaves town.

 woman falls pregnant

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A synanym is a word you use

in place of one you can’t spell.

 synanym

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It’s difficult to say something tongue-in-cheek

without people thinking you have a speech impediment.

 obama tongue-in-cheek

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 I had the right to remain silent,

unfortunately I didn’t have the ability.

 right to remain silent

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It’s my first session with the

Impatience Support Group is tonight

…….. I can’t wait.

 Impatience

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I realized I didn’t have many friends

when I tried to text Ben,

scrolled down my contacts list

and accidentally texted William.

 Contact list

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My doctor said to me,

“Do you know your sperm count?”

I said,

“No, I didn’t know they were that clever.”

 paul-noth-you-need-to-get-your-cholesterol-where-your-sperm-count-is-new-yorker-cartoon

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Did you hear about the American

who went on a holiday to India and

didn’t manage to see a single wig wam?

 wig wam

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How does a woman scare a Gynaecologist?

By becoming a Ventriloquist.

 scared Gynaecologist

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Finally, here’s a joke for

all the mind readers out there….

mind reader

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Did you like it?

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Whose Bubble Will Burst First, The Banks Or The Bolsheviks?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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2014 oil price drop

As 2014 ended, the Russian Rouble was in free fall and so were crude oil prices. Both affected the Russian economy and not in a good way. From a position of great strength Vladimir Putin is now under pressure due to the combined effect of lower oil prices and the sanctions imposed by the west because of the situation in the Ukraine and Crimea.

In the West there have been two notable effects of the drop in oil.

One is good in so far as consumers have to spend a lot less to run their vehicles and heat their homes.

The other, however, is bad – for the banks (tee-hee-hee) although they will no doubt pass on their pain to us.

The reason the banks are in trouble (AGAIN) is because they have lent billions of dollars to fracking operations where oil explorers use expensive techniques to extract oil from underneath American and Canadian soil.

The drop in oil prices means that you can now buy oil on the open market for a lot less than it costs to extract it in the US and Canada.

Therefore the oil exploration companies that obtained these huge loans from the banks, and other money men on Wall St, have little or no chance currently of paying them back.

If the position continues through 2015 expect payment defaults and huge debts written off again by the banks.

Will the government step in (AGAIN) to bail them out by printing more money?

I don’t know. I hope not. It’s time these bankster idiots paid for their own mistakes instead of us having to continually foot the bill.

Don’t count on it though.

So whose bubble do you think will burst first, the banks or the Bolsheviks?

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To Be Fair, It Needs To Stop Raining.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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But of course sometimes life isn’t fair.

Sometimes it’s Pun Day.

Enjoy or endure!

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rofl

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Tink my postmn is a thif

My leters keep gong misin

Postman Donald

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I asked a French bloke

if he played video games.

He said Wii.

Postman Donald

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Chickens don’t have friends.

They only have pen pals.

chickens in pen

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I was sent on an anger management course.

Apparently it’s all the rage.

anger_management_training

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Chewbacca forgets to delete his history before

letting his girlfriend use his computer

….wookie error

Chewbacca

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My brother takes part in a weather

predicting contest every month.

He’s the raining champion.

raining

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I used to know a depressed cross eyed girl…

She never looked forward to anything.

cross eyed girl

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There was a knock at the front door.

My wife answered it and said to me

there’s a man at the door with a bald head’‘.

I said ‘‘tell him to get lost, I’ve already got one’

man at the door with a bald head

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I’m directing a cowboy movie called ‘The Sun’.

It’s set in the west.

sunset monument valley

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My wife just spent $100 getting a bikini wax.

What a flipping rip off.

cartoon bikini wax

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Is anyone here called Allen?

I think I found your keys

allen-keys

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I’m an alcoholic and have frittered the best 

years of my life away looking at the world

through the bottom of a glass.

All I ask for is another shot.

another shot

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There’s a certain stigma attached

to reproduction organs,

especially in flowers.

crocus_stigma

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Three Chinese brothers, Bu, Chu, and Fu,

wanted to illegally live in America.

The brothers decide to change

their names to seem more American.

Bu changed his name to Buck.

Chu changed his name to Chuck.

And Fu got sent back to China.

three Chinese brothers

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I went to a Motown reunion last night and

promised myself I wouldn’t suck up to any of the artists…

But The Temptations were there.

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