America First…(Unilaterally)

Large global sculpture in front of Trump Towers

When President Trump went to Davos in January 2018, he reassured the audience that America would act unilaterally in international trade agreements going forward.

Two years later, the world is learning what unilaterally means!!  In the case of President Trump’s trade policy, unilateral means an action performed by  one country involved in international fair trade….. that benefits that country…without the agreement of the other!  And its about time!!!

In the past few months the U.S. has abruptly pulled most of its troops from northern Syria, secured a promise from China to buy more U.S. goods, likely at the expense of others, and allowed the World Trade Organization’s authority to lapse by blocking the appointment of judges to its top appellate panel.

It has also killed a top Iranian, completed a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, and struck a modest trade deal with Japan. The U.S. is not turning isolationist, but unilateralist: It is rewriting the rules of engagement to prioritize its narrowly defined interests and maximize its leverage. Other nations, companies and investors must adjust to a global arena where the U.S. is no longer the referee, but another player—the biggest and most aggressive.

While America’s shift to unilateralism most clearly reflects the priorities of Mr. Trump, who has long believed others take unfair advantage of the U.S., it also reflects deeper trends in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world market place.

Through its new unilateralism, the U.S. is getting a bigger say in how the world’s economic pie gets divvied up. The risk is that the pie itself will be smaller….. but we got our piece….first!

Johnson Long

Power and respect for the working class

couple cleaning in stately home

The ongoing turmoil in U.S. politics is part of a larger political crisis that is shattering old alignments of left and right in America and Western Europe. The rebellion takes different forms in different countries—the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., Brexit in the U.K., the revolt of the yellow vests in France. The underlying dynamic is the same: the revolt of alienated white working-class voters against the metropolitan elites, the deep state, and the media… with their political pundits at the tip of the spear.

Now, don’t start your racist non sense, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  This is the new class war. Forget the familiar three-way social diagram, with a big middle class bracketed on either end by a small upper class and small lower or impoverished class.  The new class divide is manifested in striking cleavages along the lines of geography, family relationships and politics.

The class divide is most visible in politics. Between 2010 and 2018, whites with a college degree fell from 40% to 29% of Republican voters; Democrats now win an overwhelming share of the country’s most highly educated counties…. why, one asks?  because this transfer of power permits establishment politicians pressed by all working-class voters … regardless of skin color or religion…. to claim that they can do nothing because their hands are tied by courts and treaties. As a result, casting votes is like putting coins into a broken vending machine. When there is no response, frustrated people tend to kick the machine.

And kick the machine we will. We did it in November 2016, and we will do it again in 288 days.  Sure, there is always talk of the “black vote”, the “Hispanic vote” the ” union vote”… but these traditional voting blocks have a common denominator!  We are all fed up with excuses from the managerial elite, and it’s way past time we held them up for accountability.


Johnson Long


What? Me Retire?

People spend a lot of time wondering if they’ll have the means to retire, often ignoring the equally important calculation: Do they have the will to retire? A job, historically seen as simply a way to make money, is increasingly the source of the types of friendship and stimulation that are hard to find in bingo halls, on beaches or riding a golf cart.

A 2018 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey found half of 6,372 workers polled don’t expect to retire at 65, and 13% plan never to retire. America’s average retirement age has increased in the past 25 years to 66 or older.  Much of this sentiment is due to the barrage of headlines about rising health-care costs and Social Security shortfalls.

With U.S. birthrates falling and membership in religious institutions at all-time lows, work is addressing a void once filled by children, churches or community organizations. Overall, people are working more—a half-hour longer every weekday versus 12 years ago—and spending less time socializing, attending community events or participating in sports and exercise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For those wanting to keep working it is easier than in the past to remain sharp and productive.   Developments in semiautonomous vehicle technology will make commuting safer; automated processes can reduce physical or mental demands, and an abundance of retraining efforts give more opportunities to revive or learn new skills.

Meanwhile, my financial planner (Mitch Rezman ) and I revisited the question of retirement. I’ve agreed to fund my 401(k) at a pace where I can quit in about 25 years—not so I can stop working but so that I have options.  I will retire at 101.

Johnson Long

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Will European Cities Be Sunk Beneath Rising Seas in 2020?

wall of water covering highway

A secret report, suppressed by US defense chiefs and obtained by The Observer in 2004…..warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. . . .

Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. . . .

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. ‘This is depressing stuff,’ he said. ‘It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.’

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. ‘We don’t know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,’ he said.

But guess what… it’s 2020 and absolutely none of that horse shit has happened.  I’ll wait for Greta Thunberg’s reply!!!!

Johnson Long

“The Guardian… Mark Townsend…Paul Harris..February 21, 2004”

Un-elected Bureaucrats: Foot-soldiers of the Resistance?

Drain the swamp Trump cartoon

RESIST!  You see it on the bumper stickers of all sorts of cars, you hear and see it on both lamestream media and the Communist News Network.  MSNBC also pays homage to the movement with its entire broadcast schedule.

Beginning in July, Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller, sent officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget emails in which she raised concerns about the legality of the hold on nearly $400 million in aid.

Her “concerns” were in direct conflict with the Trump administration’s decision to temporarily hold that foreign aid to Ukraine until they could be sure of Ukraine’s new President Zelensky’s commitment to fight the corruption that was the norm for the last two decades. A good deal of the corruption was tied to Burisma and the Bidens!

The Trump administration’s caution was based on logic and good business practice. McCuskers was one steeped in the tradition of federal employees whose career was based on the protection of the swamp environment!

McCusker’s avalanche of emails reflects the deep tension between Ms. McCusker and OMB. The relationship between Ms. McCusker and OMB slowly deteriorated, as senior officials at the office grew skeptical of her estimates of how much money was at risk of not being spent, according to people familiar with their interactions.  In her emails to OMB, Ms. McCusker raised concerns that the White House was violating the Impoundment Control Act, which requires that the executive branch spend money that has been appropriated by Congress.

Ms. McCusker’s frustrations escalated in early September. After she warned OMB that $120 million might not be able to be spent by the end of the fiscal year because of the hold, Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at OMB, responded with a letter that put the blame on the Defense Department for not doing enough to prepare to spend the funds if they were released!

So the question arises:  Whose interest are you serving Ms. McCusker? The security of America in the middle east, or your thinly veiled hatred of the Trump administration and the business-oriented logic path it follows?


Johnson Long


Why Do Bad Experiences Affect Us Much More Powerfully Than Good Ones?

Trump in front of negative comments

For the New Year, Say No to Negativity but there are ways to deal with this destructive bias and overcome it.

The new year is supposed to bring hope, but too often it feels grim. We resolve to be virtuous—to lose weight, to exercise, to unplug from social media—but we recall past failures and fear another losing struggle. We toast to a better, happier world in 2020, but we know there will be endless bad news and vitriol, especially this election year.

Our minds and lives are skewed by a fundamental imbalance that is just now becoming clear to scientists: the negativity effect. Also known as the negativity bias, it’s the universal tendency for bad events and emotions to affect us more strongly than positive ones. We’re devastated by a word of criticism but unmoved by a shower of praise. We see the hostile face in the crowd and miss all the friendly smiles. We focus so much on bad news, especially in a digital world that magnifies its power, that we don’t realize how much better life is becoming for people around the world.

So, for the Trump haters, the Never Trumpers, and the sad folks who think and feel that the Presidency of the United States of America is a popularity contest… think about the good that President Trump has accomplished in the year 2019…

Johnson Long