Back in the 70's I sold bootleg tee shirts at rock concerts. We imprinted artists' images, logos and album covers onto tee shirts without their permission and without paying them royalties.
We followed those artists around the country selling our shirts in parking lots. Everyone got screwed; artists, promoters and venues alike.
In 1976 legendary promoter Bill Graham squeezed into a booth across from me at a diner outside Boston, MA and said, Kid, you're done. And that was that.
Essentially, that's what China does. They sell other people's ideas and creations without permission and without paying for the privilege.
Unfortunately, we don't have Bill Graham to deal with them.
It's estimated that pirating costs the American film industry some $60 Billion annually. Maybe worse, when foreign companies want to open shop in China, they are often forced to share their ideas with the Chinese.
This has been a problem for decades and the above featured image of fake Star Wars Legos is just one example.
From pirated movies to Coach purse knockoffs, stolen software and fake Viagra, there's no trademark or copyright that China won't violate.
The problem may be particularly vexing for America, China owning about a trillion dollars worth of our debt and all.
Hard to see how farmers fit into all this. While the Trump administration pays them a lot of lip service, their policies say, Screw farmers.
A couple of things that may have slipped under your radar include the rollback of the ethanol requirement for gasoline (good for Exxon, bad for corn farmers) and using eminent domain to take farmland for oil pipeline (see previous parenthetical comment).
Right now America's corn crop is two to three weeks behind schedule because of erratic heat, floods and eroding soil.
Farmers are facing ever increasing challenges from a changing climate. They are a fragile population and yet, they're on the front line of Trump's trade war.
America's farmers are being used as poker chips in an ill-advised, poorly thought out trade war with China in an attempt to reign in their blatant disregard for intellectual property.
Farmers have spent decades cultivating China as a trade partner, opening up that 1.5 billion person market, which may now be gone for generations.
Tom Cotton (R-AR), Trump ally and man who fearlessly and repeatedly goes on record as an idiot, recently commented, There will be some sacrifices on the part of Americans, I grant you that, but I also would say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that are fallen heroes that are laid to rest in Arlington make.
Cotton served his country and I thank him for that. But to say that Americans losing their farms is trivial compared to his service is monumentally...Republican.
The scary thing in all this is that Trump still enjoys the support of America's farmers, who are losing their land and committing suicide at alarming rates.
For reasons that elude critical thought, voting against your own interest is a time honored tradition in the Fox bubble.
Pundits tell us that Trump's trade war is a feckless attempt to bring China to heel. It's understandable that Trump, as a Westerner, does not understand the way Asians think.
Americans plan for the next news cycle or election. Chinese plan for the next generation and the ones after that. Trump plans for the next cheeseburger.
It's no small problem that our president doesn't seem to understand the term trade deficit.
For the record, our 2018 trade deficit was at an all time high of almost $900 Billion, a 13% increase over the previous year. Not only does Mr. Trump NOT understand the term, he is growing it like a horticulturist.
Our trade deficit of over $400 Billion with China was at a record high, as well, despite Trump's trade war. He may not get it, but he certainly tries to sell it.
Trade deficits aren't the horrible thing one might want to believe. We didn't LOSE $400 Billion last year, we just bought $400 Billion more from China than they bought from us.
Obviously, it was stuff we wanted or we wouldn't have bought it.
One of the factors that grew the China deficit is that they bought less from our farmers, which is what this piece is all about. If you get pissed at Piggly Wiggly, you might start shopping at Kroger.
Countries do the same thing. Sadly, China may not be coming back to Piggly Wiggly for a while.
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