Trump In Syria: Perhaps The Opposite Is True

Can we talk about Syria? Even though this was a news story for about three seconds.

My long developed political-talk show, patriotic American reaction is: “Good! Kill the bad guys! Launch all the missiles!” My first gut reaction is that this is a good thing, and I agree with Sebastian Gorka here he was on Laura Ingraham’s show [10:40-11:44]:

I totally get that, and that’s my first thought.

But then I think about one of the new principles of the show, this year: Maybe the opposite is true.

We at least need to consider the opposite.

So Gorka’s argument, I think I’m fairly summarizing is: “If we do nothing, it will send a message of weakness.”

Okay, so what’s the opposite, let’s consider it. “If we do something, it will show a message of weakness.” We launched 105 missiles, Russia claims 71 were shot down. We say that didn’t happen, none of us know the truth of that, but let’s say the truth is somewhere in the middle, that half of our missiles were shot down and a few missed their targets: did that show our strength like Gorka said, or did it show our weakness?

Let’s purpose the opposite again, so the original statement, “If we do nothing, it will send a message of weakness.” How about, “If we do nothing, it will send a message of strength.”

I wouldn’t’ be surprised if Russia orchestrated all of this to drag us into a war, to keep us in a quagmire, to make us weaker. we announced we were leaving, Trump said we were leaving, now we’re very much reengaged. War always over-extends empires. Always has, always will.
So maybe doing nothing send a message of strength, it sends a message of, “We know who we are, what we’re doing, and what is and is not necessary to maintain American national security.”
In my many years of talk radio I’ve learned that, especially in foreign policy, we all know very little. We make up movies in our heads.

Quick example, of course you heard about the two black men who were escorted out of the Starbucks by police in handcuffs. There’s video of a bunch of police officers in Philly handcuffing the two black guys. People say they were doing nothing, but an employee called police on them. The police chief says the police acted perfectly, the CEO of Starbucks said it’s all reprehensible, there are BLM protests boycotting Starbucks, it’s a whole thing.

And you and I and everybody commenting on social media, protesting about it, tweeting about it, we have NO IDEA what happened. We don’t know what the two guys said or did, what the barista said at any point, we know nothing about it, but everyone is quick to form an opinion and storyline.
If that’s true for two guys in a Starbucks in Philadelphia, how much more don’t we know about what happened in a city in a country that 99% of Americans can’t point to on a map, that may or may not have any impact on America anyway.

Oddly enough, Nikki Haley said at the UN, Assad has used chemical weapons fifty times on his own people during their civil war, including twice in this one city this year. We already last year “sent a message” to Assad about using chemical weapons. He didn’t get the message then, why do we think he will now?

I don’t know what the right thing to do. I’ll be honest, and that’s not good radio, because I’m supposed to come here with great certainty about what to do, and my “talk radio” stance I think is to be in favor of the strikes because Trump did it or because I’m patriotic and it’s the pro-military thing to do. I’ll tell you one pro-military thing, I have a few friends who are special operations guys, getting ready for deployment. I’ll never forget talking to one of them during the election when I’m debating foreign policy theories, he’s praying that our world leaders have wisdom. Because it’s all very real for him. He might be the guy landing in Syria before we launch missiles. Is it pro-military to send him someplace he shouldn’t be, or is the pro-military thing to be wise without warriors, so he can see his wife and kids again?

My point here is to question everything, and always consider – just consider – if the opposite of what you’re being told is closer to the truth.

Stop AB 2943!

I want to share this bill here in case you thought the whole transgender obsession was a fluke or a fad and would just go away like it never happened. No.

AB2943 is the most shockingly, obviously, blatantly unconstitutional bill I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t even mention this bill if it was just proposed because no way would anyone actually vote for it. But it’s passed though two committees and the State Assembly so far. This thing is probably going to pass!

It would make it illegal for any counselor to say anything to try and “eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” So, a married woman goes to see a counselor and says she feels an attraction to another woman, the counselor can’t say, “Hmmm, let’s work through this so you can stay married to your husband and keep your family intact.”

That would be illegal.

Another part of this bill: a religious ministry can’t have a conference where a speaker talks about avoiding homosexual behavior. So, next month, I’m giving two speeches at men’s retreats at churches. I don’t have anything in there about homosexuality, but if I said anything about fighting unwanted same-sex attraction, then I would be breaking the law.

I’m not exaggerating.

And there’s a third part of the bill that’s even worse. You can’t sell any books that challenge gender identity ideology and advocate against transgenderism or homosexuality.

How can this be? The exact language bans the selling of any books that “seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation”.

Here’s another bill: AB 2110. This is a Todd Gloria bill, “foster care kids struggling with transgender feelings [must] have access to ‘gender affirming’ counseling, puberty blocking drugs, and sex-change operations.”

Foster kids must have access to puberty blocking drugs.

So a boy thinks he’s a girl and wants puberty blocking drugs, the state must provide this kid with puberty blocking drugs to prevent puberty. The idea is then it’s easier to perform surgery on him when he’s older.

We talked about this on my local radio show in San Diego, and someone said, “Who can we talk to to stop this!” I said, well, the Assemblyman who wrote the law is one of our San Diego reps, he’s gay, and the co-sponsor in the state senate ran an abortion clinic before she senator. So good luck changing their minds on this bill.

I’ve never seen a more blatant violation of you freedom of speech, conscience, and even press. Again, it would be illegal for a counselor to help a client overcome same sex attraction, even if the client wants help overcoming same sex attraction. The counselor can only help the client act on their same-sex attraction.

This law is a disaster. Help me fight it:

Steel Tariffs Are Awful

Tariffs are maybe the worst economic policy ever convinced by man.

I’m not going to go all into it here, just be aware that, for every job that is protected, many more jobs are lost. Any wealth that is created, much more is destroyed. Any industry that is helped, many more are hurt.

It is a major net loss. It isn’t even close.

Every conservative was against Barack Obama giving subsidies to Solyndra.
Tariffs are the same thing.

Every conservative was against the bailout of some of the auto companies.
Tariffs are the same thing.

Don’t give me anything about “fair trade”. Fair and unfair are progressive buzzwords. Progressives use those words to numb your mind from actually thinking. If a progressive says something is “unfair” and the government needs to make it fair, red flags should go up everywhere. So don’t go around using these words yourself to argue policy.

And trade wars are awful. In 2010, Barack Obama passed a tire tariff to protect the American tire industry. I lived near a Goodyear tire factory in Union City, Tennessee and people were very happy that these jobs were protected.
But China initiated a retaliatory tariff on, of all things…chicken feet!
Chicken feet are a delicacy in part of China, and they’re worthless here, we dump chicken feet in China, but China put a 43% tariff on chicken parts.
This resulted in a bunch of job loss at the Tyson chicken plant down the road in Tennessee.
More jobs were lost at the Tyson chicken plant than jobs saved at the Goodyear tire plant.
It’s a net loss.

So you can’t say, “look, I saved one job at the tire factory.” Sure, but you destroyed more jobs at the chicken factory.

Sugar tariffs do this, for every one job saved in the sugar farming industry in Florida, three jobs are lost in just the candy manufacturing industry.

It’s a net loss. Don’t ignore this reality. Go to the three people at the Mars candy factory who got laid off and tell them it’s worth it because this one sugar farmer’s job got saved. It’s a net loss.

Do you want to know how to beat the foreign steel companies? Don’t make their steel more expensive, make our steel less expensive.

Meaning: Lower taxes, decrease regulations, remove environmental regulations, and change labor laws. There are four free-market reforms to improve the steel industry.

Don’t go instituting big government policies.

I also hear people say we can’t rely on Chinese steel in case we go to war with China. We get something like 3% of our steel from China.

Chin is actually the fifth biggest steel exporter in the United States. It’s in order, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and then China. That doesn’t include the European Union, which we get way more steel from than China, so don’t worry about this big bad Chinese steel boogeyman.

And you’re saying, “Slater, China is subsidizing their steel companies, to lower the price of steel that they sell here in America.” To which I say, good. “Thank you, China for that gift. Thank you for instituting a terrible economic policy on your people, robbing from your people to give us less expensive steel.”

The fact that Chinese steel is still cheaper – even after shipping it across the ocean – says that something is structurally broken with the American steel industry and we need to fix that.

Here’s the main story, please read this entire article from Bloomberg, but here is the gist: After WWII, American companies produced 75% of all the steel in the world because German and Japanese steel companies were destroyed by the war. American companies thought they’d dominate the world market forever.

We made steel back then using the open hearth method. European companies after the war started experimenting with something called the “Basic Oxygen Process”. An Austrian company was the first to try this new method of making steel in 1948, they opened up their first massive factory in 1952.

Steelmakers all around the world visited this factory in Austria and they started investing in this method themselves. The cost of building this new steel mill was 50% of the old open hearth factors, operating costs were 25% lower and this new method made four times as much steel in the same amount of time. So this new method could make more steel at a lower price.

What did the American steel companies do? Nothing.

1957, steel executives went to Congress and said everything is great with American steel production.

They were wrong. The American companies fiddled.

Then Europeans came up with something called the Electric Arc method, these are smaller mills, that again make more steel for less money. European countries and Japan and China started to build this new steel production technology.

In the 1960’s, American steel companies started to build these new plants, but by this point, it was too late. We squandered our steel supremacy.

Why does this story matter?

In the 1960’s Ken Iverson took over as the CEO of Nucor Steel, he built the first factory in America in 1969 using the new Electric Arc method. The other American steel companies began begging Congress for tariffs to prevent people from buying foreign steel, they started begging the government for protection to keep them in business because they couldn’t compete. Check out this question from an interview in 1986:

“Why not at least give the industry some temporary relief, time to regroup and modernize and find some way to protect workers from the effects of cutthroat international competition”

Ken Iverson said, “As soon as prices began to rise with tariffs so that steel companies could become more profitable, they stopped modernizing. It’s only under intense competitive pressure — both internally from the mini-mills, and externally from the Japanese and the Koreans — that the big steel companies have been forced to modernize.”…”

He said in 1980, we still had rolling mills that rolled steel back in the Civil War.

So the interviewer said, “Your argument is that protectionism tends to make the industry weaker, not stronger.

Iverson said, “That’s right. Unless you’re under intense competitive pressure and it becomes a question of the survival of the business to do it, you’re just going to lapse back into your old ways. There’s no other answer”

So remember this: you’re not just passing tariffs to protect American jobs. You’re also protecting broken business models.

We’re telling companies, “you don’t have to change a thing! You don’t have to modernize! You don’t have to change your business model! You don’t have to compete! You don’t have to change your ways at all!”

So we’re protecting a broken business model and inefficient companies to make less steel at higher prices. That’s not a good economic policy.

I’ll end here with this video from Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur, angel investor, tech guy, talking about how Toys R US went bankrupt [Language warning, start at :40]:

American steel companies didn’t innovate either.

I don’t want to protect them from their mistakes anymore.

I want them to compete and succeed on their own.