Post by El Castor Post by islander Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by islander
As I have mentioned here before, I don't see any evidence that there is
a life after death, no heaven, no hell, just an ending of life.
So, it is reported that Jim Baker visited his old friend, GHW Bush on
his death bed and Bush, recognizing his friend, asked "Where are we
going?" Baker responded, "To heaven" and Bush said, "That is were I
want to go." Now, I don't know Baker's religious beliefs, but I think
that his answer was the compassionate thing to do and I applaud his
response. What would be the point of replying otherwise?
The thing that bothers me about religion is that for Atheists there is nothing after death. So, the Atheist has to assume the universe must have existed for infinity going into the past. I have trouble with infinity since it's a long time and doesn't make much sense. But of course God doesn't make much sense since where did God come from? What was God doing before he/she created the universe? The answer is of course that God exists outside of space and time and God has no physical dimensions. No size, no shape, no weight, he/she just exists everywhere without any gender assignment. It's hard to imagine where Heaven might not be a boring place to live. I'd rather invest in Amazon stock and make 70% in 15 months. But I leave it open to God to tell me what to do. I hear voices sometimes that say I'm lazy and I should go to work, otherwise I will die broke.
Heaven can be anything you want it to be. Belief in the hereafter is
only a problem if that belief becomes an excuse for actions that harm
yourself or others.
Looks like the markets are having difficulty recovering after their high
back in Oct. There seems to be a lot of nervous investors out there.
The Fed is raising rates. Tariff anxiety is also behind the
nervousness. Personally, I'm glad Trump is taking action on tariffs. I
naively believed that the North American Free Trade Agreement was, as
the name implied, free trade, without tariffs, but that proved to be
far from the truth. I was also shocked to learn that we were three
years from being out of the steel business, and then there is the
blatant theft of intellectual property by China.
The steel industry in the US has been in decline for 70 years.
Following WWII when the steel (and aluminum) domestic production was at
its peak, there was a need to rebuild countries in Asia and Europe after
the destruction in the war. This required capital investment, not only
in steel, but had an impact on other industries including the auto
industry. New plants were built using the latest technology. Capital
was especially attracted to Japan where the combination of low labor
costs and the opportunity for green field investment was attractive.
Meanwhile, there was little incentive to replace aging plants. Look at
the steel industry in Pittsburgh, for example. Who would invest in
replacing those plants on the Ohio River which had been operating for 50
years? Much easier to move on and leave the mess behind - a time
honored practice of American industry. There was some effort in the
'80s to build boutique mills specializing in unique markets, but it
would never rise to the old glory days of US Steel.
The situation was different in China where the importance of steel was
recognized in Mao's Great Leap Forward. There, the emphasis was on
meeting state targets by any means and backyard smelters proliferated.
This was a disaster and famine resulted as individuals left agriculture
to staff the always marginal smelters. China did not succeed in steel
until the Great Opening-up of the late '70s and into the '80s. This
attracted capital and produced rapid expansion of the industry in China
at a time when steel in Japan was showing signs of decline. The
geography favored development in China which had cheap sources of energy
and iron ore, unlike Japan which had to import everything.
In the end, it was the movement of capital in the 70 years following
WWII that abandoned domestic production and tariffs are, at best, a
band-aid that is not likely to have much effect.
What Trump is very badly mistaken about is the belief that we can exist
and thrive in isolation. We have become very dependent on the rest of
the world and ultimately that is what free trade is all about. Friedman
was right! In that context, we need trade agreements, if for no other
reason than to assure that an otherwise unfettered industry will
continue to make decisions that benefit their shareholders at the
expense of everyone else. Sadly, we abandoned Trans Pacific Partnership
which was more about controlling the movement of corporations to China
(notably excluded from the agreement) than anything else. The demise of
the TPP was about politics, not jobs.