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03 March 2018


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Babak, I suppose most of fruits bought from grocery stores are now days engineered for color, preservation etc. so like you say they are tasteless. But here in LA, local street farmers market stuff, are much more tasty, although still not same as the old days. The Persian cucumbers grown here in Mexicali Mexico or here in imperial valley SC are very good and tasty. Tomatoes are for sure engineered, we get this tasteless tomatoes in rainbow of colors.
One thing that they haven’t been able to get right or make right is the taste of American central valley pistachios, which has to do a lot with soil, soil salinity and minerals in water coming from Sierras. A few Rafesanjan Iranian farmers have huge pistachio farms and processing plants here in Fresno/ Central Valley, but to me the nuts don’t taste right.
Here is my California pistachio tasting notes:
Too much body, no Bouquet, woody with hint of lava rock taste,in imbalanced saltine.


You don't like Georgia peaches? In season I buy all my fruits and vegetables from local farmers stands...they are quite good and totally fresh...not like what is shipped in at grocery stores.


''My experience is as a customer of Boeing in the airline industry, as a management consultant with an international firm, as a general manager of a manufacturing company then in various senior management roles in aerospace/IT/defence before working in industry development for Government then culminating as CEO of an intellectual property company.''

Sorry but your positions were "jobs', not ownership so you didn't have any real skin in the game as they say. I could tell you what I think of management consultants but it would be censored. lol

And this is pure BS----->''Of course when GM, Ford, GE, etc. close a plant they blame costs and regulations, that is self serving crap. Were the plants state of the art with leading edge technology and work practices? Didn't think so, more likely an old plant whose machinery and workers have been run into the ground, that is now far from target markets and requiring major investment.''

So you are saying, and expect anyone to believe, that the reason for GE,etc. moving abroad was to have a state of the art plant and for some reason they couldn't do that in the US?

And this---->"As for Boeing (and GE) you miss the point. The partnership models used require the partners to come up with a percentage of the development capital for the aircraft and fund and develop the manufacturing tooling and equipment themselves. They then get exclusive rights to build that part. They are 'partners' not cheap subcontractors""

Which explains/justifies nothing....you are saying that these partner contracts couldn't be done in the US? What would be the reason for doing them overseas or Boeing simply doing it themselves here in the states?

rotflmdo... your argument looks more like self serving crapo than American manufacturers complaints --given that you had to make a living telling Americans how run down their plants were because they were lazy and dumb.

Sorry...you've not disproved anything I said or proved any reason other than cost for offshoring.


Like Fred, I too live in Florida. You cannot find better tomatoes, strawberries and especially oranges than here.


Walrus #100

I'm on the board of a communications equipment and a medical device manufacturer. Their experience in selling into China is not exactly gratifying. First, there are the tariffs of 30% and 45% respectively. Then there are a host of regulatory barriers including certifications from governmental authorities. In each case they are advised by the regulators that if they set-up manufacturing facilities and transfer technology to a local partner then their certificationso will be granted immediately. China is not an open market by any stretch of the imagination. They want the technology and they push and cajole companies to provide the intellectual property to access their market.

IMO, Chinese economic development took place with massive foreign direct investment in capital and technology. All on the promise of this huge market. It hasn't worked out as well for many foreign companies. The case of cisco and Huawei is a good one where technology was stolen. There are many such cases.

Sec. Wilbur Ross in a recent interview gave an example of automobiles. The tariff in the US is 2.5%. EU imposes a 10% tariff while China imposes 25%. These types of examples abound. There is no free trade. At the behest of Wall St, the US ceded it's manufacturing base. Trump is trying to change the equations. Exiting NAFTA would be the first step. Indeed Wall St and the multinational corporatist amen corner are howling trade war. The US needs to re-balance it's trade relationships. It cannot run hundreds of billions of dollars in trade deficits in perpetuity and it needs a solid manufacturing base both for jobs and national security. Don't get me wrong, managements of many US companies need to be shaken up too. Share price growth shouldn't be the only metric of performance.


Taking the Boeing B767 / GE jet engine type partnership contracts first, you don't know what you are talking about. I have sat across the table from a GE Vice President and was offered such a contract. These are partnerships not subcontracts. They are design and build costing upwards of $500 million each from each of the partners as the partners contribution to Boeing/GE development costs because each of these commercial projects are so big even Boeing can't fund them alone. These projects have a minimum of five years lead time and manufacturing continues fr mmaybe 30 years..

To put that another way, these are business marriages lasting the life of the aircraft, not some cheap two bit lowest bid construction deal. As for finding partners in the U.S. - with who? Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed is Boeings competitor. Then there is the little matter of corporate strategy; you can't sell aircraft to the rest of the world without them asking for a quid pro quo. That is how Airbus got started in response to what was seen to be an American monopoly.

As for Ford, GM, etc. you are hopelessly naive. Big corporations are whores when it comes to plant location. They scour the world for Governments willing to put out in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, free land, etc. to attract businesses to their locations. Why Amazon is holding such a beauty contest as we speak:


And you are doubly naive for not understanding that ALL businesses ALWAYS say taxes and wages are too high ALL the time to whoever will listen and use them to justify whatever business decision they are making at the time.

As for your comments about consultants, I worked in corporate strategy and worked for plenty of owners, some of whom were good and some dumb as rocks.

wisedupearly Ceo

You are judged by your statements
"rotflmdo... your argument looks more like self serving crapo"
Hopefully this a community of correspondence not invective.

Build a plant inside America and you are subject to American taxes. Build the same plant overseas and the lawyers will find 15 ways to hide the income and achieve a tax of 4% or lower. Why are taxes so high? Because income has not increased for most people and the social costs have only increased. No jobs, no pay, more welfare, higher taxes.

I see conservatives self-excusing themselves by claiming red-tape and regulation for outsourcing and exporting factories as equivalent to people throwing trash onto the highway and excusing themselves by saving that "it was just a small piece of trash and the highway is so large." Once the American economic inequality was moderate, the middle-lower class had money to spend. The steady increase in inequality and the loss of economic strength has reached the point that we can no longer speed down the highway but are forced to slowly maneuver around the detritus of companies who decided that America was not worth the effort.


I understand your frustration and council you not to fall for the chinese local manufacturing gambit, it generally ends in tears for Western companies in my experience.

However Chinas bad behaviour is not an excuse to dump free trade per se.


We're not gonna fall for the Chinese sales pitch of big market if you hand us your technology. Too many companies have got screwed falling for that trap. There is no real intellectual property protection in China in any case.

I believe we need to separate free trade theory from the reality of trade which is managed trade. For the first time in many decades there is an administration that recognizes that. Their policies may not be the best but at least they recognize the problem that there is no real free trade and are willing to counter the financial and media interests who have sold the American working class down the river. Hopefully this will spark a real debate but unfortunately TDS is a huge affliction that prevents real discourse. Ross Perot was prescient. His giant sucking sound has proven far too correct. I recall him being laughed at and parodied by the medis during that election.



The simplest way to keep managements honest is to have a competitive domestic market. That means real enforcement of Robinson-Patman. Unfortunately the symbiotic relationship between big business, big finance, big media and big government over the past 50 years is what has brought us here.

Unfair trade arrangements only benefit the more mercantilist party in the longer term.

Tim B.

I don't care about China or the Chinese. Efficency isn't one of my major concerns either. My focus is on America and the reversing the deteriorating living conditions of the people who live here.

Balint Somkuti, PhD


The chinese industry can produce almost and literally anything except items submitted to extreme conditions (space/vacuum not included) such as high thrust military aircraft engines, and similar items where adhering to extremely small tolerances is essential.

In my humble and not researched opinion such production technological discipline is the (by)product of generations of disciplined and precise production. Something China still lacks. Foreseeably for maximum 1-2 generation.

Eric Newhill

Dr Puck

Yes, I think I heard about externalities when I was earning a masters degree studying economics. What do externalities have to do with trade with China, steel or anything else in this discussion?

I prioritize the pockets of all Americans. BTW, I don't care if the rich get richer as long as the lowest income quartile is also gaining. Too many people get upset when corporations and the executive class make more money; as if there is a set amount of money and if the wealthy get more then that means less for the lowest quartile.

As for the USA's track record that tax cuts and tariffs and deficit spending and deregulation brought intra-country prices on hard goods or commodities to parity, I must ask if you the background to succinctly discuss such a complicated subject. I mean it's not like it's clear cut settled science like global warming is real! or the notion that importing a gazillion no skill third worlders is great for the economy and wages.

So what's your plan? Everyone in the lowest income quartile is going to become tech workers and/or small business entrepreneurs? Seems I've heard that one someplace in time before.



one goal of course was to provide "green" electricity. However, the too generous FITs led to an explosion of demand and structural changes that were too fast for the German companies.

Now we have the situation that still very good research is done in Germany but the stuff is not longer produced there. For somebody with a German mindset this is not good. :-)

The development of windpower was slower and more "sustainable", German companies could defend both, R&D and production.


"If Chinese operate more like Soviet Union subsidizing its own still industry for very long time, they will get broke as USSR did, or they will have to increase prices and be less competitive."

You miss the alternative: Support the Chinese economy in strategically important fields until the competitors are out of business, then increase prices. It is working in case of PV, and IMHO will work in case of EVs.



Canada does not produce steel -- not 10 tons per year. Canada fabricates steel purchased, at below production cost, from CHINA. Same story for Mexico.

Now why would China sell so much steel at below production cost? A country that has to purchase steel from China is not in the national defense business.


Alves #54

Do you actually read the articles you link to? Do you apply any critical thinking to what you read? How much steel does Canada produce? Where does all the steel that Canada exports to the US come from?



Ummm, happy news indeed. But deceptive - my advice is never trust a politician who references statistics.

So, the BLS shows that manufacturing is recovering from the recession. Guess what, it is recovering slower than most other sectors of the economy. That jobs recover to some level from a recession is not news. it is just what happens.

As a fraction of the US economy, manufacturing continues its downward spiral. That small companies with VC funding at 0% interest rate are hiring a few folk means nothing. What do you think will happen when the Fed kills QE which they plan to do over the next few months? The shakeout will be severe. Or what will happen when the next recession hits (oh a politico said the business cycle is over, did they?)?

So far every shake-out has pushed US manufacturing abroad. Bottom line, looking at numbers without considering the business cycle is as bad as cherry picking the intelligence. You get propaganda not information.


Ulenspiegel - good point, you might also mention it worked for Walmart and now for Amazon very well to the detriment of the US economy and US customer and pretty much anyone who is not a Walton or a Bezos.


Have a source for that. All I can find is stuff like this showing they get the large majority of their steel imports from the US. Other reports claim they produce quite a bit.



Pacifca Advocate

>>>The other equally logical reply is . . . build more of what Americans want to buy in America.

That's provocative, but there remain an awful lot of things we need to import to continue to manufacture the things we use.

There is also a regulatory regime that continues to impose artificial limits on the productivity of our land (hemp vs. paper, for instance).

But yes, the point is arguable--yet to focus on this approach would be to reinforce the "American Exceptionalism" problem I emphasized, above.

American washing machines could be smaller and more efficient, but they aren't because American washing machine companies don't bother with active R&D. Japanese companies do, and US companies largely leech off of their advances in a wiggledy-piggledy fashion, picking certain features from here-and-there and including them in a carefully planned marketing campaign.

Many other industries feature this same pattern: kitchen machines, autos, motorcycles (!), even clothing....

Pacifca Advocate


The scientists I believe (!) are most honest and accurate do not agree with that.

We can argue about the scientists, but both you and I know that neither of us are experts.

Yet, overall:

A) The science of Climate Change was inspired by the (basic) scientists I follow,
B) The science of Climate Change was taken up as an issue by the (basic) scientists I follow,
C) The models created by the science of Climate Change have been well within the limits of predictions that were established, even if their accuracy has often been wildly divergent (sometimes on, sometimes off)
D) The scientists who criticize the science of Climate Change have been entirely outside the actual practice of Climate monitoring, and
E) Your own objections are mostly religious, and have nothing to do with the science.

Please correct me about E, there: if I am wrong about that, I will be happy to adjust my perspective.

As for A, B, C, and D, though: those are just observations based on historical fact. "Climate Change," as an idea, was born of observations gleaned from the planets Venus, and Jupiter; and also from the realization that the Earth's atmosphere is a relatively tiny layer of extremely sensitive balances, which have been empirically proven to have undergone massive shifts in relatively (thousands of years?) short periods of time.

Perhaps you believe in the Myth of Progress.

I, personally, do not.

Keith Harbaugh

Walrus said:

All tariffs do is put off the day when the toxic combination of bad management, lack of investment, poor work practices, rotten infrastructure, overpriced energy, excessive regulation and bad government become too much of a cost for the community to bear.
You really miss the boat on a cancer that is sucking up the resources of America:
Also, though calling it a cancer is unkind,
there is the devotion to spending literally infinite amounts of money on people whose productive value is questionable.
E.g.: google "autistic son heart transplant".
Then there is the amount spent on keeping diagnosed with dementia alive.
I have been told by people with knowledge of the situation that hundreds of thousands of dollars, per year, are spent on the care of such.
I certainly have compassion for such people, but how much should be spent,
not only on caring for them when they cannot care for themselves,
but on prolonging their natural life?
Meanwhile, the national debt builds, the infrastructure decays, etc., etc.
Too much compassion, if you ask me.

Babak Makkinejad

Do not persume to patronize me. You h
are just wrong but all is not lost. Read Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes - if you can download the data and MatLab code and crunch the numbers for yourself. Buy a subscrption to Nature and start educating yourself. Then you might actually have some grounds to engage me on this topic.

Babak Makkinejad

Fred lives in Michigan and is now enjoying the fruits of decades of corruption in that state's Road Comission.

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