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Cages of live cats destined for consumption were seized by authorities while being transported by truck in Hanoi. The photo was taken on Jan. 27, 2015.
Seized: Cats smuggled from China for consumption
Feb. 1 2015 - International Business Times
Vietnamese authorities confiscate thousands of felines destined for restaurant tables
Police in Hanoi saved thousands of cats from potentially becoming barbecue after seizing a truck in Northern Vietnam carrying more than 3 tons of live cats smuggled in from China. While the cats will have to be culled in accordance with local laws, officers on Thursday indicated reservations about saving the cats bound for restaurants, only to have to kill them anyway.
"After receiving a tip, we searched the truck and discovered the cats inside," Cao Van Loc, deputy chief of police in Hanoi's Dong Da district, told German press agency dpa on Wednesday. "The owner, also the driver, said he bought the cats at the border area of Quang Ninh province," Loc said, adding that all of the cats were from China.
Photos and videos from the local An Ninh Thu Do newspaper showed the cats crammed into wooden crates with their limbs and tails sticking out. Loc told dpa that local laws dictate smuggled goods – that includes the cats – have to be destroyed. But the next day he told Agence France-Presse that they were undecided on killing the cats because there were so many. Loc said the driver will be fined around $350 for transporting goods without the correct documents.
The smuggling of cats from China into Vietnam is on the rise, according to local media reports, as cat meat has grown in popularity in recent years. Known locally as “little tiger,” cat meat is usually fried or barbecued, and served with rice wine at festive occasions or eaten as a snack in Northern Vietnam. Cat meat is seen as a delicacy and is typically eaten at the start of each lunar month, unlike dog meat, which is eaten at the end, according to AFP.
Vietnam has long banned the consumption of cat meat in efforts to encourage cat ownership to keep the rat population under control. Even in the capital city Hanoi, cat meat is still a pervasive industry. "A lot of people eat cat meat,” To Van Dung, a restaurant manager at an establishment serving cat meat in Hanoi, told AFP. “It’s a novelty. They want to try it." Besides China, cats also are being smuggled in from Thailand and Laos.
Vietnamese officials have warned of the risks of rabies, fungal skin diseases and typhoid fever for people involved in smuggling, slaughtering and eating cats. Animal rights groups have condemned cat consumption in Vietnam. Pet owners also are fed up with the risks of letting their cats go outside. Phuong Thanh Thuy, who owns a Hanoi restaurant, has cats to keep rats in check, but she told AFP that she has to replace them regularly. "My family is sad because we spend a lot of time and energy raising our cats," she said. "When we lose a cat we feel pain."
The State of the Economy
Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring?
Actually, many American companies are - just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.
More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.
The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8 percent last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4 percent of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.
But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute's senior international economist.
"There's a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy," says Scott.
American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated - think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes.
And now many of the products being made overseas aren't coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.
Meanwhile, consumer demand in the U.S. has been subdued. Despite a strong holiday shopping season, Americans are still spending 3 percent less than before the recession on essential items like clothing and more than 10 percent less on jewelry, furniture, electronics, and big appliances, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse.
"Companies will go where there are fast-growing markets and big profits," says Jeffrey Sachs, globalization expert and economist at Columbia University. "What's changed is that companies today are getting top talent in emerging economies, and the U.S. has to really watch out."
With the future looking brighter overseas, companies are building there, too. Caterpillar, maker of the signature yellow bulldozers and tractors, has invested in three new plants in China in just the last two months to design and manufacture equipment. The decision is based on demand: Asia-Pacific sales soared 38 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared with 16 percent in the U.S. Caterpillar stock is up 65 percent this year.
"There is a shift in economic power that's going on and will continue. China just became the world's second-largest economy," says David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, who notes that half of the revenue for companies in the S&P 500 in the last couple of years has come from outside the U.S.
Take the example of DuPont, which wowed the world in 1938 with nylon stockings. Known as one of the most innovative American companies of the 20th century, DuPont now sells less than a third of its products in the U.S. In the first nine months of this year, sales to the Asia-Pacific region grew 50 percent, triple the U.S. rate. Its stock is up 47 percent this year.
DuPont's work force reflects the shift in its growth: In a presentation on emerging markets, the company said its number of employees in the U.S. shrank by 9 percent between January 2005 and October 2009. In the same period, its work force grew 54 percent in the Asia-Pacific countries.
"We are a global player out to succeed in any geography where we participate in," says Thomas M. Connelly, chief innovation officer at DuPont. "We want our resources close to where our customers are, to tailor products to their needs."
While most of DuPont's research labs are still stateside, Connelly says he's impressed with the company's overseas talent. The company opened a large research facility in Hyderabad, India, in 2008.
A key factor behind this runaway international growth is the rise of the middle class in these emerging countries. By 2015, for the first time, the number of consumers in Asia's middle class will equal those in Europe and North America combined.
"All of the growth over the next 10 years is happening in Asia," says Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and formerly the World Bank's chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent often points out that a billion consumers will enter the middle class during the coming decade, mostly in Africa, China and India. He is aggressively targeting those markets. Of Coke's 93,000 global employees, less than 13 percent were in the U.S. in 2009, down from 19 percent five years ago.
The company would not say how many new U.S. hires it has made in 2010. But its latest new investments are overseas, including $240 million for three bottling plants in Inner Mongolia as part of a three-year, $2 billion investment in China. The three plants will create 2,000 new jobs in the area. In September, Coca-Cola pledged $1 billion to the Philippines over five years.
The strategy isn't restricted to just the largest American companies. Entrepreneurs, whether in technology, retail or in manufacturing, today hire globally from the start.
Consider Vast.com, which powers the search engines of sites like Yahoo Travel and AOL Autos. The company was founded in 2005 with employees based in San Francisco and Serbia.
Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend could be dangerous. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, he says that if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home.
Other economists, like Columbia University's Sachs, say multinational corporations have no choice, especially now that the quality of the global work force has improved. Sachs points out that the U.S. is falling in most global rankings for higher education while others are rising.
"We are not fulfilling the educational needs of our young people," says Sachs. "In a globalized world, there are serious consequences to that."
China has now ended America's 110 year run as the leading manufacturer of the world, the number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that hiring remains weak.
WASHINGTON -- New jobless claims in the U.S. jumped last week by the most since February, reversing a sharp fall two weeks ago. The rise is partly a result of seasonal factors but also reflects the job market's weakness.
The Labor Department says new claims for unemployment insurance jumped by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 464,000. Analysts expected a smaller rise, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
First-time claims have hovered near 450,000 since the beginning of the year after falling steadily in the second half of 2009. That has raised concerns that hiring is lackluster and could slow the recovery.
The number of people continuing to claim benefits rose by 88,000 to 4.57 million
One Light Bulb at a Time
A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while
one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't
slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought
in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American ..
Good idea .. . . one light bulb at a time .. . . .
Check this out .. I can verify this because I was in Lowes the other day
for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose
attachments . They were all made in China . The next day I was in Ace
Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there.
They were made in USA . Start looking ..
In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects
someone else - even their job . So, after reading this email, I think this
lady is on the right track . Let's get behind her!
My grandson likes Hershey's candy . I noticed, though, that it is marked
made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.
My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico ... now
I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything ..
This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce
I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE
brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, "Everyday Value".
I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats -
they were the same except for the price ..
The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the
thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO
and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA
in a company in Cleveland , Ohio .
So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day
that are made right here ..
So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets . .. . yep, you guessed it,
Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada . The Everyday Value
brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA ! I did laundry yesterday
and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been
using for years and at almost half the price!
My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for
everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the
USA - the
job you save may be your own or your neighbors!
If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book
so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying
from overseas companies!
We should have awakened a decade ago .. . .. . . . )
Let's get with the program........ help our fellow Americans keep their
jobs and create more jobs here in the USA.
Satanic Temple brings 'After School Satan Club' to Portland school
Published September 27, 2016
The Portland chapter of the Satanic Temple has reportedly succeeded in bringing its "After School Satan Club" to an elementary school within city limits.
Finn Rezz, one of two heads of the chapter, told the Oregonian that the organization has been approved to begin its program, which focuses on "on science and rational thinking," on Oct. 19 at Sacramento Elementary School.
Rezz previously told the paper that most members of the Satanic Temple are atheists who see Satan as an allegory for free thought, and that the program is intended to promote "benevolence and empathy for everybody."
The purpose, Rezz told the paper, is meant to counter "the Good News Club," an after-school club put on by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, "a Bible-centered organization.
"Across the nation, parents are concerned about encroachments by proselytizing evangelicals in their public schools, and are eager to establish the presence of a contrasting voice that helps children to understand that one doesn’t need to submit to superstition in order to be a good person," the After School Satan Clubs (ASSC) says on its website
"Our goal, ultimately, is to place an ASSC in every school where the Good News Clubs, or other proselytizing religious groups, have established a presence," it said.
In August, the Satanic Temple of Seattle asked the Mount Vernon School District for permission to start an after-school program in direct response to the Good News Bible Club run by the Child Evangelism Fellowship at Centennial Elementary School.
Satanic Temple of Seattle spokesman Tarkus Claypool said a parent brought the Bible club to their attention because the parent was concerned the club was teaching children to evangelize to other children, according to the Associated Press.
Claypool said their curriculum teaches children logic, self-empowerment and reasoning, and they don't worship a deity.
School District Superintendent Carl Bruner said a 1991 Supreme Court ruling stated that if schools allow any organization to use school property, they must allow access to all organizations, religious and secular. He said the district will explore how to respond to the application.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
GM is an iconic symbol of American Industry
Monday Jan. 16, 2017
General Motors Co. this week will announce plans to invest at least $1 billion across several U.S. factories, two people familiar with the plan said, a move aimed at underlining its commitment to U.S. manufacturing jobs in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of the auto maker’s imports from Mexico.
GM’s announcement could come as early as Tuesday.
The largest U.S. auto maker is making the decision for business and not political reasons, said the person, who asked not to be identified.
The investment will help GM create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, while the auto maker also plans to tout other efforts to boost U.S. employment, including adding engineers, the person added.
GM General Counsel Craig Glidden told the Wall Street Journal, which reported the company’s plans earlier on Monday, that any investment the company might disclose had been long planned and was not a response to Trump’s criticism.
GM declined comment on the investment to Reuters.
Since the beginning of this year, GM has come under heavy criticism from Trump for building vehicles in Mexico, as have other auto makers. On Jan. 3, Trump threatened to impose a “big border tax” on GM for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze compact cars in Mexico.
At a news conference last week, Trump cited recent U.S. investments by other auto makers and said “General Motors will be following, and I think they will be.”
Trump, who campaigned hard on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States, said in an interview with German newspaper Bild published on Monday that he would impose a border tax of 35 per cent on German car companies’ vehicles imported to the U.S. market.
Earlier this month he criticized Toyota Motor Corp’s plans to move production of the Corolla to Mexico from Canada.
Auto sales have been rising since 2009 and hit a new record in 2016. Auto makers have recently been touting American investments, but say the investments have not been in response to Trump.
Last week, Japan’s Toyota said it would invest $10-billion in the United States over the next five years, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it would invest $1-billion to modernize two plants in the Midwest, creating 2,000 jobs.
Ford Motor Co announced this month it would cancel a planned $1.6-billion factory in Mexico and would invest $700-million at a Michigan plant.
GM’s “general plan is to build where we sell and we’re focused on what we’re doing in the United States,” Chief Executive Mary Barra said in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Washington on Monday. “We’re a global company so we’re going to continue that focus.”
Barra, who told Reuters she planned to attend Trump’s inauguration on Friday, said GM wants to work with him. “I do believe we have more in common than we have areas that we aren’t aligned.”
GM, which has more than 40 manufacturing sites in the United States, last year announced $2.9-billion in U.S. investments But even as GM invests in U.S. plants, it has also been making job cuts.
In recent months, GM announced plans to lay off about 3,300 employees at three factories.
It said in November it would cut about 2,000 jobs when it ends the third shift at its Lordstown, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan plants in January. Last month it said it planned to cancel the second shift and cut nearly 1,300 jobs from its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in March.
GM's old Willow Run plant is a reminder of manufacturing past
The decline of US manufacturing jobs and living standards
For decades America's vibrant manufacturing sector provided poorly educated workers a bridge to the middle class. But today's plants need highly skilled workers who know their way around ultra-high tech machinery.
On the factory floor of AMI, a Michigan-based maker of fuel cells, one can hear the future of manufacturing.
It is very, very quiet.
The loudest noise in the brightly lit factory is the beeping of a hydraulic lift used to replace lightbulbs overhead.
The contrast with traditional manufacturing is sharp: Almost no noise, no dirt, little physical effort. And requirements for workers are very different.
"You've got to have the smart people that help build it from the bottom up," says AMI President Aaron Crum.
"We don't forge things anymore. We use lasers to cut metal, we extrude ceramics, we do things that are different. And so because of it, we need a different labour force to make it happen."
Decades of losses
Manufacturing in the US is undergoing the same technological revolution that sent workers from agriculture to industry at the end of the 19th Century, says Lou Glazer of consulting group Michigan Future Inc.
Aaron Crum says manufacturing today needs "smart people" In the '50s, he says, factory work was a third of the work in America; now it's below 10%.
Although manufacturing employment has ticked up in recent months, adding 30,000 jobs since March, the gains pale in comparison to the losses of the past decade.
Three and half million manufacturing jobs have vanished in 10 years, bringing the current total to just under 12 million.
As employment has plummeted, productivity has soared. Not for nothing does the US National Association of Manufacturers boast that American factory workers are "the most productive in the world".
About 30 minutes' drive from the AMI plant is the ghost of manufacturing past: Willow Run.
It is an almost unfeasibly large plant that once turned out Liberator bombers, then Kaiser cars, then transmissions and car bodies for General Motors.
Willow Run closed in 2010 when GM went bankrupt. Of the plant's five million square feet, one million has been cleared for sale.
The rest of the factory is an astonishing reminder of what manufacturing used to be like.
Hulking presses the size of three-storey houses gather dust, corridors stretch into the gloom seemingly without end, and the warm air is thick with the smell of machine oil.
'No diploma needed'
Gathered round a table at a nearby diner, former Willow Run workers remember their first days at the plant. Now in their 50s, they reminisce about what it took to get a job at the plant.
"You didn't need a high school diploma," says Sterling Mullins.
GM's old Willow Run plant is a reminder of manufacturing past "You just needed to be a hard worker," says Gerry Gardner, "and you needed to show up every day, because it wasn't easy work."
Tom White grew up on a farm, "so the skills I had weren't really applicable".
Those were the days when manufacturing lifted poorly educated men and put them into America's industrial middle class.
"You could put the kids through college, we had a couple of weeks vacation," Mr Gardner says.
"And you had enough money to go out and buy a new car. We weren't rich - I'm not driving no Rolls Royce or anything - but I bought me a GM car."
Manufacturing jobs still pay well - an average of $77,186 (ï¿½49,223) in pay and benefits in 2010. But there are far fewer of them and, says Mr Glazer the consultant, they are changing.
"That path to mass middle-class work is gone," he says.
"The only high-paid factory work left is going be people who both programme and maintain machines. That work is going to be high-paid but it requires much higher skills."
The US is still a big player in manufacturing. More than 18% of global manufacturing output comes from the US factories.
And even if American manufacturing has stumbled a little recently as eurozone orders dry up, many of Michigan's manufacturers are optimistic about the future.
But the genie cannot be put back in the bottle.
Manufacturing in the US has already changed and will change further, pressed on one side by technology and on the other by globalisation.
It will be hugely difficult for less-skilled American workers to attain anything like the living standards of the generation before them
Trump vows U.S. will ‘Buy American,’ but the promise won’t be easy to keep
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Favoring American firms is actually nothing new. The U.S. government has long preferred domestic companies when awarding government contracts under the Buy American Act that’s been in place for 83 years. The law was passed in 1933 in the waning days of the Hoover administration as the Great Depression ravaged the country.
The law is riddled with exemptions, however, and billions of dollars annually are spent by the federal government on foreign-made goods. They might be much cheaper, for example, or there might not be an American producer.
These loopholes are what Trump is likely to address as part of his effort to fulfill his campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”
Yet putting his rules into action, particularly the “buy American” part, is likely to prove complicated for the Trump White House. Foreign suppliers are granted access to many federal contracts through legal arrangements that will be hard to alter, and state and local governments are free to buy according to their own laws.
Start with the federal government.
The U.S. awards about $500 billion in contracts annually. More than half is exempt from Buy American rules owing to free-trade deals with Canada, the European Union, Japan and other nations. The U.S. has also agreed to a World Trade Organization provision that’s supposed to allow signatory countries to compete on equal terms for government contracts.
The president-elect could seek to revised those deals or take other drastic steps, but such a controversial approach would be time-consuming and potentially costly to American companies.
Many large U.S. firms such as General Electric GE, -0.35% , Caterpillar CAT, -0.59% and Microsoft MSFT, -1.21% for example, bid for billions of dollars worth of foreign government contracts. Large American companies could lose out, costing American jobs, if foreign governments retaliate against the U.S. by cutting them out of the bidding process.
Obama administration officials, for their part, sought the right to potentially ease some of the Buy American restrictions when they negotiated several free-trade deals, such as a seemingly now-dead pact with Asia-Pacific countries. Yet even they’ve acknowledged in the past that too many exemptions were granted and that the law ought to be more strictly enforced.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, has led a long fight to batten down the hatches. Earlier this year he resumed his call for a new, 21st-century version of the Buy American law.
Murphy points out that the Defense Department alone has granted more than 300,000 waivers in the past 10 years that have potentially cost American producers $177 billion in sales.
In fiscal 2015 alone, the Pentagon spent $11.3 billion, or 4.1% of its procurement budget, on foreign purchases, an agency report showed. Four-fifths of those sales took place under waivers from the Buy American Act.
“Our Buy American laws are riddled with legal loopholes that allow the U.S. government to routinely bypass American manufacturers legally,” Murphy wrote in an editorial earlier this year.
Not all these loopholes are unjustified, however. One example: Amtrak. The government-supported train operator was granted a waiver in 2015 to buy critical foreign-made equipment for its speedy Acela line of trains because of a dearth of American suppliers that could promptly provide the necessary parts.
Moreover, while Alstom ALO, +0.71% ALSMY, +1.50% of France won the contract to build new Acela trains, most of the work will be done by American workers in New York state. The Buy American law allows foreign companies to bid for federal contracts if most of the work is done in the U.S.
In any case, there’s been some movement in Congress as Trump sounds the same siren as Murphy.
A recent congressional bill for military spending included a provision requiring the Pentagon to buy more footwear for military personnel that are made by New Balance in plants in Maine. New Balance is the only large manufacturer of sneakers in the United States.
Even if Trump is able to tighten federal law, states and localities can follow their own rules. While many also include Buy American-style provisions, states and local governments often try to save money by accepting cheaper foreign bids.
School districts, for example, often buy cheaper foreign canned fruits and vegetables for student lunches.
There’s the rub. The existing Buy American law allows federal government to bypass domestic producers if certain goods aren’t made in the U.S., they fail to meet accepted levels of quality or if the cost of domestic products is viewed as “unreasonable.” These are Mack-truck size loopholes.
Consider California’s effort to build a high-speed rail system subsidized in part by the federal government. The state recently sought an exemption to buy foreign equipment on the grounds that it cost too much money and would take to long for an American manufacturer to meet its needs.
Critics say that allowing such an exemption is exactly what’s wrong with the current law. The U.S. will never develop its own manufacturing capacity for high-speed rail, for instance, without stricter adherence to Buy American rules.
"The last major U.S. factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs will soon be closing. When it does, the remaining 200 workers at the Winchester, Va., plant, about 70 miles west of Washington, D.C., will lose their jobs, marking a small, sad exit for a product that began with Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s.
Light bulb factory closes; End of era for U.S. means more jobs overseas. American flag seller files for bankruptcy
The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.
"Now what're we going to do?" said Toby Savolainen, 49, who like many others worked for decades at the factory, making bulbs now deemed wasteful.
During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.
What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.
The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.
Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
Consisting of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they require more hand labor, which is cheaper there. So though they were first developed by American engineers in the 1970s, none of the major brands make CFLs in the United States.
"Everybody's jumping on the green bandwagon," said Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But "we've been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE. "
Doyle was speaking after a shift last month surrounded by several co-workers around a picnic table near the punch clock. Many of the workers have been at the plant for decades, and most appeared to be in their 40s and 50s. Several worried aloud about finding another job.
"When you're 50 years old, no one wants you," Savolainen said. It was meant half in jest, but some of the men nod grimly.
Under the pressures of globalization, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been shrinking for decades, from 19.5 million in 1979 to 11.6 million this year, a decline of 40 percent.
At textile mills in North Carolina, at auto parts plants in Ohio, at other assorted manufacturing plants around the country, the closures have pushed workers out, often leaving them to face an onslaught of personal defeats: lower wages, community college retraining and unemployment checks.
In Obama's vision, the nation's mastery of new technology will create American manufacturing jobs.
"See, when folks lift up the hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines stamped "Made in America," Obama said in an Aug. 16 speech at a Wisconsin plant. "When new batteries to store solar power come off the line, I want to see printed on the side, "Made in America." When new technologies are developed and new industries are formed, I want them made right here in America. That's what we're fighting for."
But a closer look at the lighting industry reveals that isn't going to be easy.
At one time, the United States was ahead of the game in CFLs.
Following the 1973 energy crisis, a GE engineer named Ed Hammer and others at the company's famed Nela Park research laboratories were tinkering with different methods of saving electricity with fluorescent lights.
In a standard incandescent bulb, in which the filament is electrified until it glows, only about 10 percent of the electricity is transformed into light; the rest generates heat as a side effect. A typical fluorescent uses about 75 percent less electricity than an incandescent to produce the same amount of light.
Once again, we see how Globalization destroys the American economy. Our leaders want us to be on par with the poorer countries...how sad this is for the average American worker...we must continue to bow down to globalization and lose our American identity and prosperity as well.
American flag seller files for bankruptcy
When selling the business of patriotism, put emphasis on the red.
A little over a week before America celebrates its 236th birthday, Wisconsin-based flag seller Liberty Flag & Specialty Co. filed for bankruptcy protection.
Running low on cash, the nine-employee shop located half a block south of Reedsburgï¿½s Main Street immediately asked its bankruptcy judge for permission to spend the pools of money that it had promised to set aside for its lender, Community First Bank. The cash will keep the lights on at its headquarters as executives figure out if the company can find a way to survive using Chapter 11 protection.
Liberty Flagï¿½s financial hardship, which is coming at the peak of the industryï¿½s flag-selling season, raises broader concern about Americansï¿½ sense of civic spirit.
Or is the bankruptcy another sign of the slow drip of manufacturing jobs to cheaper overseas markets? The U.S. Census Bureau noted Tuesday in their perennial round-up of Fourth of July-centric facts that the U.S. imported $3.6 million worth of American flags last year. China alone shipped more than $3.3 million worth of flags.
Liberty Flag executives didnï¿½t return a phone message, and the companyï¿½s bankruptcy attorney declined to explain why the company fell suddenly short on cash.
But the folks at Liberty Flag's biggest business partner, nearby Eder Flag Manufacturing outside of Milwaukee insisted that the financial hardship isnt evenly spread.
Eder Flags roughly 180 employees stitched together about 6.5 million U.S. flags during the last year to keep up with growing demand, said Jodi Goglio, Eder Flagï¿½s director of operations. Sales of flagpoles outpaced flag sales with a 10% growth rate, she said.
For us, that is a good indication that new construction is on the rise and people have increased their discretionary spending, she told Bankruptcy Beat, adding that she found the amount of foreign-made American flags brought into the country is appalling.
As for Liberty Flags $205,931.30 debt to Eder Flag, Goglio explained that Libertys bill was more than two years old. Liberty Flag, which bought Eder-made flags to sell them to customers and retailers, bought its first batch in 1984
November 24, 2014 Fortune - How Washington can renew U.S. manufacturing
The Revitalizing American Manufacturing and Innovation Act has bi-partisan support and would boost a critical segment of the U.S. economy, says Karen Mills, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School
Congress is back in Washington with the intent to get some key things done between now and the end of the year. One of those things needs to be making an investment in our economy by passing the Revitalizing American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act, which would invest in a key segment of the U.S. economy: manufacturing. Here’s why.
Americans are tired of partisanships stymieing progress, and they are overdue for a sign from Washington that our leaders haven’t forgotten what agreement looks like.
More importantly, passing this bill would invest in the sector that has the greatest impact on our economy – every $1 spent in manufacturing generates another $1.35 in additional economic activity, which is more than is generated by any other sector, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. It also demonstrates an understanding of what it will take to continue to drive our nation’s competitiveness and create the kinds of good-paying jobs that offer a path to the American Dream.
Now, that’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a piece of legislation that most Americans haven’t heard of. But, it’s true and it’s achievable.
So what would RAMI do? It would establish up to 15 manufacturing institutes across the country – building on four that were already created by the Obama Administration. To do this, it would bring together government, colleges and universities, research institutions, business and industry in partnership to accelerate manufacturing innovation.
American workers would be the greatest beneficiaries of RAMI because, at its core, it invests in the U.S. labor force by building skills and capacity around the very good-paying jobs that will maintain our nation’s competitive edge in the 21st Century.
With Washington caught in a cycle of perpetual gridlock, agreement may not seem possible, but that’s not true. RAMI passed the House in September with bipartisan support, cosponsored by Republican Congressman Tom Reed of New York and Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate, where it is backed by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.
While much attention is focused on the prospects for agreement on higher profile issues, here’s an idea. Why not move on RAMI, where the differences have already been sorted out and bipartisan support already exists?
One thing we can take away from the midterm elections is that working Americans are tired of gridlock and they have lost confidence in Washington’s ability to actually address the root causes of the economic anxiety they are feeling. An August NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 71% of respondents blamed Washington’s inaction for what they view as a lingering sluggish economy.
While large businesses have flourished and the stock market has reached new highs amid a falling unemployment rate, Americans are losing confidence that it’s possible to move up in the world. In fact, in a September survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 42% of respondents believe the American Dream – that if you work hard, you’ll get ahead – still holds true.
Americans are anxious about the economy. And, rather than more gridlock, Washington should take action where it can. Even if this means starting small, and passing a few things where there is already agreement.
I’m not saying we should step away from the big policy issues. But, real tax reform will take time, and closing loopholes will cause pain in many sectors. Immigration reform is critical, and may be something on which parties can agree in the year ahead.
RAMI is ready to move. It doesn’t cost much – in government terms – and if not passed in the next few weeks, its backers will have to start over again in the new Congress after the first of the year.
Americans need Congress to get back in the habit of agreeing on and actually passing bipartisan legislation. RAMI is one place to start.
By passing this bill, Congress can show working Americans that they do understand how to invest in building the kind of jobs that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness around the globe and restore the path to the American Dream.
About the author: Karen Mills is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School focused on competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation. She was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, serving as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2013.
Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson.
Lockheed CEO Tells Trump She Will Work to Drive Down Cost of F-35
Dec. 23 2016
The chief executive of Lockheed Martin Corp told President-elect Donald Trump on Friday that she was committed to driving down the cost of the company's F-35 fighter jet, a day after Trump took aim at the cost of the F-35 in a Twitter post.
CEO Marillyn Hewson said she spoke with Trump on Friday afternoon and assured him that she had heard his message "loud and clear" about reducing the cost of the F-35.
Trump, in a tweet posted late on Thursday, suggested that an older aircraft made by rival aerospace company Boeing Co could offer a cheaper alternative to the F-35.
"Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!" Trump said.
Hewson, in a statement posted on Twitter, said she had had "a very good conversation" with Trump on Friday.
"I gave him my personal commitment to drive the cost down aggressively," she said in the statement.
Lockheed shares closed down 1.3 percent on Friday, nearing their lowest levels since the Nov. 8 election. They were the biggest drag on a basket of defense-related stocks. Boeing's stock ended near the unchanged mark.
Trump had met with the chief executives of both Lockheed and Boeing on Wednesday.
Boeing's F-18 is an older generation aircraft that lacks the stealth capabilities of the F-35.
One U.S. official said it was impossible to tell what Trump meant by his tweet, given the importance of stealth technology as a way to counter advanced defenses of near-peer states, like Russia or China.
"Somebody needs to ask Donald Trump how he's going to be able to confront China without aircraft capable of penetrating anti-access and area denial systems, including air defenses," the official said.
Most defense analysts do not consider the two jets as comparable aircraft.
"Impractical if not irrational," Richard Safran, a defense analyst at Buckingham Research, said by email. "First, the F/A-18 is a carrier-based naval fighter. Certainly it could not meet the U.S. Marine Corps need for vertical lift. It would not be suitable for the Air Force either - the extra weight of a carrier fighter makes it less than ideal for the Air Force."
"Unless the rules of physics have changed, you cannot make a non-stealthy, two-engined, carrier-based aircraft from the 1980s into a single-engine, multi-role stealthy fighter from the 2000s," Vertical Research Partners analysts wrote in a note on Friday
Ford CEO Mark Fields (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Ford Motors cancels $1.6bn Mexico plant
January 3, 2017
Ford has said it will cancel a $1.6bn (£1.3bn) plant it planned to build in Mexico and instead extend operations at its factory in Michigan.
The US car giant will spend $700m on expanding the plant at Flat Rock.
Ford boss Mark Fields said the decision was partly due to falling sales of small cars and partly a "vote of confidence" in Donald Trump's policies.
The President-elect has criticised both Ford and its rival General Motors over production of models in Mexico.
Mr Trump earlier on Tuesday tweeted criticism of GM's production of its Chevy Cruze model in Mexico.
'Vote of confidence in Trump'
Ford's chief executive, Mark Fields, told the BBC that the main decision to cancel the plant in Mexico was because of a "dramatic decline for the demand for small cars here in North America," allowing the company to cope with its existing plant.
But he said another factor in the decision was the "more favourable US business environment that we see under President-elect Trump and some of the pro-growth policies that he's been talking about".
"That did play a part and it's a vote of confidence that he can deliver on these things," Mr Fields added.
Ford is not abandoning production completely in Mexico, but is switching production of its Focus model to its existing plant in Hermosillo there to improve profitability.
It makes the current version at its plant in Wayne in Michigan. Production at that facility will switch to two new models, which it says will safeguard 3,500 US jobs.
The planned $1.6bn plant in Mexico was to be built in San Luis Potosi, but Ford said it would now invest some of that sum in Flat Rock, creating 700 jobs building a range of electric cars.
Mexico's economy ministry said it regretted Ford's decision, adding that it had assurances that the US car firm would pay the state of San Luis Potosi for any costs incurred from the cancellation.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Trump criticised General Motors on Twitter for making cars built in Mexico and made available tax-free in the US.
"General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to US car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!" he tweeted.
However, GM said most of its Chevy Cruze cars were made in the US.
A spokesman said only the hatchback model, which forms a small percentage of sales, was made in Mexico.
He added that the car was built there for global production and said that although some Cruze sedans were made in Mexico for a while last year, all the ones now sold in the US were manufactured in Ohio.
Chinese-Made Drinking Glasses Contain 1000 Times Allowable Levels of Lead
Drinking glasses depicting comic book and movie characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman and the Tin Man from 'The Wizard of Oz' exceed federal limits for lead in children's products by up to 1,000 times, according to laboratory testing commissioned by The Associated Press.
"The decorative enamel on the superhero and Oz sets - made in China and purchased at a Warner Brothers Studios store in Burbank - contained between 16 percent and 30.2 percent lead. The federal limit on children's products is 0.03 percent."
Now, come on--hasn't China been caught enough times that it might have sunk in by now that slathering lead all over just about everything they send our way might not seem like such a great idea anymore?
The AP's testing, conducted by ToyTestingLab of Rhode Island, "found that the enamel used to color the Tin Man had the highest lead levels, at 1,006 times the federal limit for children's products. Every Oz and superhero glass tested exceeded the government limit: The Lion by 827 times and Dorothy by 770 times; Wonder Woman by 533 times, Superman by 617 times, Batman by 750 times and the Green Lantern by 677 times."
When the safest piece of glassware "only" exceeds federal standards by 6,770%, it may be time to a) stop importing painted glasses from China, or b) stop importing painted glasses from China.
Why do they keep doing it?
Price, of course.
A report by David Barboza in the New York Times explains:
"Paint with higher levels of lead often sells for a third of the cost of paint with low levels. So Chinese factory owners, trying to eke out profits in an intensely competitive and poorly regulated market, sometimes cut corners and use the cheaper leaded paint.
"On the books, Chinaï¿½s paint standards are stricter than those in the United States, requiring that paint intended for household or consumer-product use contain no more than 90 parts of lead per million. By comparison, American regulations allow up to 600 parts per million.
'The standard doesnï¿½t matter,' said Scott Clark, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. 'Remember, in the Soviet Union during the cold war, they had very high standards on the books, but they never enforced them. It was just for show.'ï¿½
Hang on, didn't China swear to god, cross its heart, hope to die, stick a needle in its eye in 2007 that it was banning lead paint on toys exported to the US?
Chuanzhong Wei, vice minister of Chinaï¿½s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, seemed so serious about it, so dedicated to fixing the problem.
Well, about that...don't forget that he also said that, "We should not over-propagandize the problem."
Good point, my man. Why get all tangled up in "over-propagandizing" this whole lead thing? It's not like lead is a neurotoxin that causes impulsivity and aggression. Or that a study by economist Rick Nevin shows a relationship between early childhood lead exposure and criminal behavior later in life.
It is stunning how strong the association is, Nevin told the Washington Post. 65 to 90% or more of the substantial variation in violent crime was explained by lead.