What to do about China?

The Presidents tariffs continue to be a source of frustration and confusion. Who pays them, where the money goes and if they are even likely to solve the problem Trump thinks they will.

Meanwhile the boycotts on Huawei grow, ultimately threatening to split the technology world in two, everything that works in China and its allies, and technology that works everywhere else.

The software bro’s seem to think that won’t happen, or if it does it’s no biggie, since all the software they use is US based. Apart from the arrogance, it’s also completely ignorant.

Not only do the non-US aligned tech countries have their own software and operating systems, and massive customer base, we can’t make hardware without them.

With the upcoming 2020 Presidential elections, I wonder how many of the candidates understand how this would work, and what global bifurcation of the technology world would mean for the US?

I got my first idea from the ever excellent, Colorado Matters daily radio broadcast with Ryan Warner. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper had given a foreign policy speech in Chicago, and Warner got him on the phone to discuss what he’d said. I’ve extracted the last few words from Hickenlooper on China. It’s a 1:47 sound clip included below.

In the clip Hickenlooper says:

right now China is making massive investments in South America, Africa, and large parts of Asia, they are making loans for infrastructure and various ports, and if the loans don’t get repaid, the Chinese end up owning that shipping port or that railroad station.

Long term, twenty, forty years, that will put American businesses, and the jobs of our children and grandchildren at risk

This is a big part of the story, except, China has doing this that I’ve known about since 1995. Add to this their investments in futures contracts and rare minerals and you have the perfect storm. I posted a response to twitter on this back in September(below). The NY Times had a good write-up on the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. It shows the scale and scope of the Chinese project around the world, all industries. Meanwhile, the US President refuses to work with the Democrats on infrastructure.

While we might be able to build an iPhone for around $3,000 given US prices, we might even be able to manufacture the components, like cameras, GPS, accelerometers. We won’t be able to do any of that without the raw materials that goes into the components in phones, tablets, motherboards, computer, alexa smartspeakers, and pretty much everything else that drives(2) modern lives, including cars, scooters, trains and planes.

The shoe is off the foot, it’s just a question of when it drops. This was, frankly, bloody obvious. Because the Chinese Government doesn’t have to participate in the media circus western democracy has become, they don’t have to make promises they either don’t want to, or won’t keep, they’ve been able to focus on the long game(1).

I don’t know who will be next US President, but he or she has a big job on their hands, and it’s not a short term one.

  1. More generally, any strategy with a long-term goal of gaining the upper-hand. Often used to describe politicians trying to outwit opponents.
  2. Yes, pun intended.

UPDATE: 5-29: Minor edits.

You’ve been Trumped

and later in 2010 was one of the backers of of Anthony Baxters “You’ve been Trumped” about the Trump organizations development of the “World’s Greatest golf course”. The film shows exactly the same behavior by Trump, grandiose claims, with little supporting detail.

I’ve still not seen a good breakdown on Trumps claim or ability to beat the Chinese.

Although today we’ve seen Trumps’ tax plan, an attempt to burn the candle at both ends by appealing to the rich and the very poor, totally torn apart as poorly thought through and likely to cost the country trillions in debt. See the Huffington post here¬†and the NPR report here. The NPR article is worth reading because it has highlighted the get-out excuses Trump will use when confronted with the debt. He just won’t provide details until it’s either too late, or will use them later as an excuse.

The problem with debt is that it has to be paid for somehow, and that is likely through things like tax hikes down the road, cutbacks, usually as soon as the debt starts to balloon; and all those things will likely lead to rapid inflation, which is an opportunity if you are rich and have money in the bank, but if you are poor or middle class it starts by hitting your mortgage rate, your credit card rate and then hits your job as companies cut back.

You've_Been_Trumped_poster[1]I’ve had a inbuilt distrust of Trump since back in 2008, and later in 2010 was one of the backers of of Anthony Baxters “You’ve been Trumped” about the Trump organizations development of the “World’s Greatest golf course”. The film shows exactly the same behavior by Trump, grandiose claims, with little supporting detail.

The interesting thing is that while his golf course got built, Trump lost against a number of truly individual people, and the Scottish Government. At which point he declared he was done with it, and moved on. The golf course is reported earlier this year(2015) to have lost $5-million in two years, and despite claiming to create hundreds of jobs, had only 66-people working at the course.

If Trump can’t buy out a man who “lives like a pig”, and can’t beat the Scottish Government, it is really hard to imagine he can buy-out an beat the Chinese. Watch the film trailer below to get a sense of the hubris and self aggrandizement of the man. For $2.99 watching the full film on vimeo is well worth the time and money.

YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED THEATRICAL TRAILER from Montrose Pictures on Vimeo.

You’ve Been Trumped from Cinedigm on Vimeo.

Trump vs China redux

I’m still waiting for any decent journalist to take on Trump on his China claims, no one asks for evidence of when Trump beat China; no one asks Trump how he’d solve these problems; how he’d get 3rd party countries to renege on their futures contracts that China already owns for 10-years and more.

Still, there’s this.

Trump vs China

That’s right. Some guy almost every American has never heard of, Wang Jianlin, is worth four to six times what Donald Trump is. And, Mr Jianlin is one Chinese entrepreneur, there are dozens of them. Yet, Donald Trump, says he will take on China and win. I’m guessing he means with our money rather than his own?

In my last blog, I drew comparison between Texas and China, and claimed that China hadn’t had a big enough disaster to over shadow Texas. I thought it was worth looking at one example where China is way bigger that anything in Texas.

Just before that, in a “world collides” sort of moment, while Americans seem revere Donald Trump as some kind of Hotel, Apartment, construction and entertainment wizard who prints his own money; recently it was announced that¬†Dalian Wanda, a Chinese company, had bought the iconic American endurance sport company Ironman, or more accurately the World Triathlon Corporation that owns and stages the Ironman Triathlon races including the annual Ironman Hawaii. As anyone knows me knows, I’ve done numerous Ironman and half-Ironman races.

How does this relate to Trump?

Dalian Wanda has operations split into two divisions: Real Estate, and The Cultural Industry Group. Real Estate has been the engine of Dalian Wanda’s growth. It owns more than 100 shopping malls in 100 Chinese cities, and owns over 70 hotels. To make it easier to score, in the world of hotels and real estate development somewhere between four and six Donald Trumps equal one Wang Jianlin. (*1)

That’s right. Some guy almost every American has never heard of, Wang Jianlin, is worth four to six times what Donald Trump is. And, Mr Jianlin is one Chinese¬†entrepreneur, there are dozens of them. Yet, Donald Trump, says he will take on China and win. I’m guessing he means with our money rather than his own?

With that in mind, enjoy Mike Pesca taking Trump to task over Trumps tweet on ebola in this extract from Pescas “The Gist” podcast..

I’m of the opinion that the press indeed give Mr Trumps xenophobic rants, and chest beating an easy run. Before careful what is wish for.

(*1) From Slowtwitch.com retrieved 9/6/2015 7:46pm

China, still not big or bad enough

The primary difference being, as the updated NY Times article on Tianjin chemical storage shows, there were public records about chemical storage in China, not so much Texas. Freedom is an illusion.

china chemicals

Back on August 14th, the Austin American Statesman carried an article from the NY TImes about the dangers of Chemical storage on it’s front page. It did so without even a footnote highlighting the fact there is little in Texas that, in 2015, prevents the same thing happening. You can read an updated NY Times article here, or the one highlighted above here.

Of course, we had the total disaster in West, Texas in April 2013. Since then there has been little to prevent the same thing happening. When he was Texas Attorney General, Governor Abbott restricted any information about Chemical Storage held by the State, as posted over a year ago.. He said at the time, you can always show up and ask what chemicals are stored on a site near you. A fine example of what the Tianjin residents would call “shu«ézu«źp√≠“.

Of course, as we are always being told, “everything is bigger in Texas“, ¬†and when it comes to chemical explosions, China has a long way to go to match Texas. Consider the pictures below, pretty similar.

Chemical Explosion

The pair on the left are from the 1947 Texas City Disaster, where 581 were killed, and over 5,000 injured, with more than 500 homes destroyed. Believed to be the USA largest ever and most destructive industrial accident. It ranks among the worlds largest man-made disasters. The pictures on the right are from the Tianjin explosions which killed 147 people.

The primary difference being, as the updated NY Times article on Tianjin chemical storage shows, there were public records about chemical storage in China, not so much Texas. Freedom is an illusion.