How do you Define Freedom: Part 1 of 2

April 24, 2019

I do not think a country has to be a copycat of the United States to improve the quality of life and freedom of its citizens, and China is proving that I am right.

But first, let us ignore China’s limits on freedom of speech and focus on what has changed in China since 1949. The reason I want to ignore freedom-of-speech in China is because that one issue is arguably the major criticism by China haters in the United States who ignore everything else that has happened in China since 1949, except for the alleged 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident and Tibet.

Dramatic Improvements in Reducing Poverty

According to the World Bank, more than 500 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty as China’s poverty rate fell from 88 percent in 1981 to 6.5-percent in 2012, as measured by the percentage of people living on the equivalent of US$1.90 or less per day in 2011 purchasing price parity terms. Compare that to the democracy next door to China, India. In 2012, the Indian government stated 22% of its population is below its official poverty limit. The World Bank, in 2011 based on 2005’s PPPs International Comparison Program, estimated 23.6% of Indian population, or about 276 million people, and lived below $1.25 per day on purchasing power parity.

Dramatic Improvements in Life Expectancy

When Mao and the CCP became that country’s government, the average lifespan in China in 1950 was 41. In 1976, when Mao died, life expectancy had climbed to about 64.5 years, and by 2018, the average lifespan had reached 76.4.

Meanwhile, Smithsonian Magazine.com reports, “U.S. Life Expectancy Drops for Third Year in a Row. On average, life expectancy across the globe is steadily ticking upward—but the same can’t be said for the United States.” Does anyone think Donald Trump will brag about that number while he is asking Congress to dramatically increase military spending while cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

Dramatic Increase in Population

In 1950, China’s population was almost 552-million. When Mao died in 1976, the population had reached more than 930-million in spite of the wild allegations of twenty-to-sixty million deaths caused by Mao’s Great Famine. How does a country lose that many people to a famine and increase its population by almost 400-million?

If you click on this China Today.com link, you will discover that since the CCP has ruled China, the death rate per thousand has never reached (20 per 1,000) what it was in 1949, the year Mao became China’s leader. Even during Mao’s Great Famine, the death rate per thousand did not reach that level. The closest it came to that rate was in 1960 when it reached 17.91 during the high point of China’s last famine.

Continued with Part 2 on April 25, 2019

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Does China have the best Chance to save Civilization?

March 20, 2019

The Chinese Government Is Dominated by Scientists and Engineers and this is why China and its leaders may be the only country on the planet capable of saving our species and its modern civilization.

Donald Trump doesn’t qualify to save the world. He is a serial liar. He doesn’t believe in science. He is a troll and a bully. He is proud of his ignorance and brags that he doesn’t read books, but worst of all, he is a malignant narcissist and psychopath, and his only goal is to build walls and make money for his family business.

Then there is the brutal fact that to most if not all of the America’s oligarchs of capitalism from the Koch brothers to the Walmart Walton family, if it is unprofitable to fight global warming, then we will do nothing.

There is also how the political system works or doesn’t work in the United States compared to how China’s one-party political system operates through the use of Guanxi.

In a Mad Hatter Libertarian-Trumpian world, it is always an “I” win and you lose situation, because the United States is fracturing into tribal groups incapable of compromise. The New York Times explored this topic in Does American Tribalism end in a compromise or a fight.

Russian Officials have even canceled a U.S. visit saying, “Second American Civil War” is underway.


Will China save the Planet?

However, that isn’t a problem in China. In “How to Lobby Beijing”, we discover that to win in China it has to be a win-win situation between business and the interests of the government.  That means both sides must be willing to find a middle ground and compromise.

What’s the best way to lobby the Chinese central government? “It is very important for foreign companies to make their case, make their argument to the Chinese officials in ways in which there is a win-win, where the Chinese can achieve their objective and the company can achieve their objective,” says Sandy Berger. The official-turned-lobbyist gives us the conventional wisdom–and a buzz phrase to boot.

The European Union “might” — and it is a big “might” because even Europe is in the throes of nationalism — survive and work with China to save civilization, but Russia is probably a lost cause since it is now a kleptocracy ruled by a small number of oligarchs who are also the leaders of most organized crime in that country and the boss of bosses is another psychopath called Putin.

Psychology Today reports, ” There can be little doubt that his (Putin’s) brain has been neurologically and physically changed (damaged) so much that he firmly and genuinely believes that without him, Russia is doomed. Absolute power for long periods makes you blind to risk, highly egocentric, narcissistic and utterly devoid of self-awareness. They also make you see other people as objects and the emotional-cognitive consequence of all this is…contempt.”  This previous paragraph could also be used to describe Donald Trump.

What about Xi Jinping – is he a world-class leader capable of keeping a clear-and-open mind and saving civilization even in the face of Climate Change?  We have no choice but to hope that answer is yes or at least maybe, because it seems there is no one else humanity may turn to.

The Cipher Brief.com attempts to profile and understand China’s illusive Xi Jinping. “To truly understand China’s President Xi Jinping is to accept his quintessential Chinese qualities, resilience, and psychological strength, and to conceptualize Xi not as merely another Mao or ‘Red Princeling,’ but rather, as his father’s son. For Xi Zhongxun, one of Mao’s closest comrades and founders of modern China, veteran of the Long March and survivor of Kang Sheng’s 1930s purges, the youngest Vice Prime Minister in China during the 1950s, and (along with Deng Xiaoping) a leader of reform and ‘opening up’ during the late 1970s, was also, in his own manner, ‘impressive.’ In summary, observers of Xi Jinping might thereby appreciate the qualities that bind together father and son for, in the words of Wordsworth, ‘the child is father to the man.’”

In conclusion, we can only hope that Xi Jinping will understand that to save China, he has to save the world, because it is obvious that there may not be another world leader capable of accomplishing it, certainly not Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin.

The future and survival of our species and the environment we need to survive may now be in China’s hands and at this moment that means Xi Jinping and the CCP, a political party led by scientists and engineers, not by corporate lobbyists and organized crime lords.

It is possible that this explains why Xi Jinping and the CCP he leads is cracking down on any divisive thinking and actions in China that might be seen as getting in the way of saving the world.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Power Corrupts and Great Wealth buys that Power

February 20, 2019

In the United States, autocratic billionaires are destroying the country. For instance, since 1973, the Koch brothers have systematically and deliberately built a machine to subvert America’s Constitutional Republic. Charles and David Koch are not alone. They have at least 2,000 other wealthy allies that belong to an organization the Kochs launched in 1973. It is called ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-profit, private sector organization with one goal, to subvert the U.S. Constitution and strip the federal and state governments of their power.

But in China, the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to limit the power of that country’s billionaires. For instance, in 2013, The Atlantic asked, Why Do Chinese Billionaires Keep Ending Up in Prison?  The subtitle says, “In China, the rich get poorer.”

The Atlantic continues: “In the last fifteen years, China has produced greater overall wealth than any other country. The number of its billionaires has gone from a mere 15 to around 250 in just six years, but for a number of these people this vaulted status is short-lived. According to one study, 17 percent of those on the list end up squealing their way to court or end up in jail. If they’re lucky, those who are caught are investigated and jailed. Some are even executed.” …

“What accounts for the sharp rise and fall of China’s wealthiest? In a business environment in which personal connections and favors — referred to as guanxi in Chinese — predominate, many tycoons have amassed large fortunes without concern of rules and regulations. However, such a fast and loose atmosphere can cut both ways.”

That piece in The Atlantic appeared in 2013. Five years later according to Business Insider (December 27, 2018), China now has 373 billionaires, a 5% increase in billionaires since the previous year (2017) while the US, where billionaires run rampant spreading corruption with their great wealth, and seldom if ever end up in prison, there are 585 with an increase of 4% from the previous year.

Lord Acton, a member of Parliament in the UK (in office 1859 – 1865), wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you super-add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”

While the United States is drowning in the corruption Lord Acton mentions, China is struggling to contain the abuse of that power.  For instance, the Los Angeles Times ran this piece in 2017: “Some of China’s richest and most powerful men have mysteriously vanished.”

If U.S. citizens Charles and David Koch had been Chinese citizens, they would have probably vanished a long time ago and the world would be better place without them.

Beware, China, great wealth can become a terminal cancer and it will eventually eat you too no matter how hard your leaders try to stop it.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Who Will Survive the Next Big Global Economic Crises

February 13, 2019

When the next global economic crises hits — not if, but when — how will China deal with it compared to the United States?

First, as of October 2018, the U.S. government owes China $1.138 trillion dollars.  That’s 29 percent of the $3.9 trillion in Treasury bills, notes, and bonds held by foreign countries. The rest of the $21 trillion U.S. national debt is owned by either the American people or by the U.S. government itself. That is equivalent to about 47.6% of GDP.

On the other hand, the national debt of the People’s Republic of China is the total amount of money owed by the government and all state organizations and government branches of China. As of October 2018, it stands at approximately CN¥ 36 trillion (US$ 5.2 trillion),

In 2007, the United States federal government was only $9-trillion in debt. Today, it is $22.7 trillion in debt and with Trump cutting taxes and spending more; it is going to grow much bigger. The United States recorded a government debt equivalent to 105.40-percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2017, and there is no end in sight.

After 2008, almost nine-million Americans lost their jobs, and there were more than 3.1 million foreclosure filings issued during 2008, and that was just for that one year. That can’t happen in rural China and most of China’s factory workers have homes in rural China. When a job is lost in an urban city, the government gave the unemployed workers a free train ticket to go home to the countryside where the family home was not at risk of being taken away since there was no mortgage or property tax to worry about.

What happened in China after 2008 reveals how the Chinese will survive the next global financial disaster.

“The lack in demand from abroad meant factory closures, resulting in high job losses all over China. Guangzhou, a major manufacturing town, lost tens of thousands of workers in 2008, forcing citizens to return to their home in the countryside.”  Along with being forced to go home, most if not all of those Chinese citizens were allowed to retire early and collect Social Security. Younger workers were put to work in state owned factories and sent to work on infrastructure projects.

HROne says, “China’s Social Security System consists of 5 mandatory insurance schemes (pension fund, medical insurance, industrial injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance) + a housing fund (only applicable to Chinese employees).” … “An individual can receive a pension based on the amount accumulated in his/her individual fund after retirement.”

“In general, individuals need to pay at least 15-years of contributions prior to receiving a pension in China. Some industries have different retirement ages, but mainly men are 55 years old, women are 50 years old (blue-collar work), men are 60 years old, and women are 55 years old (white-collar work). The amount of retirement benefits depends on local regulations. Due to China’s population problems, these ages may soon change.”

The difference between the United States is China incorporates the characteristics of socialism, capitalism, and communism. China is not a pure communist or socialist or capitalist state. It is a hybrid and the CCP holds the reins of power.

As a socialist-capitalism country, all of China’s land is owned by the government. In urban China, the government leases homes and businesses but doesn’t sell the land. In most of if not all of rural China there is no mortgage or property tax, so losing your urban job and returning to your rural village home in the countryside doesn’t mean you are going to lose your home and become homeless. China also launched a $586 billion stimulus package designed to encourage more consumer spending and build new infrastructure putting people to work.

The United States is one of the most capitalistic countries in the world. Capitalism is an ideology where the means of production is controlled by private business. This means that wealthy, powerful individual citizens run the economy without government interfering in production or pricing.

What did the United States do in 2008?  President G. W. Bush, not President Obama, signed TARP’s 700-billion dollar bailout program. The initial purpose was to save the banks … not the people. The TARP program quickly turned around the banking industry but the U.S. didn’t do what China did to generate consumer spending and create infrastructure jobs. Yet infrastructure in the US is in horrible shape from its electric grid, its highway system, to its railroad network and bridges. G. W. Bush never intended the banks to pay the government back. When Obama became president, he changed that and most of that public money was paid back to the government.

While China used its government bailout money to help its people, the United States did nothing for its working-consumer class and more than a decade later many Americans are still struggling to survive financially.  When the next global economic crises hits, no one knows what will happen in the United States, because that depends on who is president at the time and what political party controls one or both Houses of Congress

For instance, instead of improving the social safety net in the United States, MarketWatch.com reports, “Why the latest warnings about cuts to Social Security and Medicare are a reason to worry.”

Here’s how bad: “Unless something’s done to shore up Social Security, monthly checks could get cut 23% by 2034.”

I think it’s a safe bet that China’s government will do something similar to what it did in and after 2008.

The United States will probably also do the same thing it did last time: bail out the banks and big corporations while continuing to keep cutting taxes for the wealthiest one-percent of Americans. As for the social safety net that’s supposed to be there for most U.S. citizens, who knows how it will weather another economic crises since it is already at risk.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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How the Chinese saved GM’s Buick Brand and Donald Trump is killing American Jobs

December 5, 2018

Malignant Narcissist and the embarrassingly ignorant Donald Trump used his “BULLY” pulpit as the president of the United States to threaten: “General Motors Should Pay Back Bankruptcy Aid.”

Trump said this, “One day after General Motors reported it will shutter five North American assembly and powertrain plants.” The reason: the tariffs President Donald Trump has placed on steel and aluminum in his trade war with the world.

After Losing $1 Billion to Tariffs, General Motors Announces 14,000 Layoffs

And the BBC.com reports. “(Trump’s) Critics point out the US gets most of its (imported) steel from Canada and the EU – staunch US allies.”

In addition, ABC News reports, “The U.S. produced 81.6 million metric tons of steel in 2017, according to steel trade group The World Steel Association (WorldSteel).” How much steel did the U.S. import: “In 2017, there were 36 million metric tons of steel imported to the U.S.”

In June, Trump already had “imposed a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese goods, including China-built cars such as the Buick Envision.”

The Envision was first introduced publicly in China on July 1, 2014, with a photo of the car under a cover and placed between a Buick Encore and a Buick Enclave.

The Buick Envision has never been manufactured in the United States and no American jobs were lost jobs because of the Buick Envision being produced in China.

Back in July 2014, NBC News reported, “How China, Not Your Grandfather, May Have Saved Buick’s Future.

The reason China saved Buick is because in China Buick became a luxury car equal to BMW and Mercedes Benz. “In the late 1990s, when General Motors wanted to become one of the first Western automakers to set up a plant in China, government officials told then-CEO Jack Smith they wanted GM’s ‘best brand,’ he once recalled — not Cadillac, not Chevrolet, but Buick. Today, GM is the second-largest automaker in China and Buick is its top brand.”

How many GM Buicks are sold in China vs the United States?

Forbes.com reports, “When GM went through bankruptcy a decade ago and euthanized Saturn, Pontiac, Saab and Hummer, the custodians also pressed the case to relegate Buick to the automotive graveyard along with Mercury, Plymouth, Hudson, Studebaker, AMC, LaSalle, etc. But they were deterred by a passionate case for Buick made by GM executives stating that if the brand were killed in the U.S., it would probably dramatically impact the brand’s bizarrely healthy business in China. That’s right. Buick sells more than 800,000 Buicks a year in China. In the U.S., Buick did about 220,000 last year.”

Do you think the Chinese would be willing to buy that many Buicks if China allowed them to be imported, with a price increase, if GM moved manufacturing back to the United States for Buicks sold in China?

In fact, some U.S. made vehicles are exported to and sold in China. USA Today reports, “Altogether, Chinese sales of U.S.-made vehicles totaled about 266,657, representing less than 1% of the world’s largest automotive market.” Compare that number to how many cars made in China were sold in the US: USANews.com provides the answer: 50,000.

What country will lose the most jobs if the U.S. is forced to stop selling more than a quarter million cars made in America to Chinese consumers while China stops selling fifty-thousand to U.S. consumers all thanks to Donald Trump’s trade war?

Let’s not forget that Donald Trump has said he is a stable genius, very intelligent, and a great businessman … that caused U.S. banks to lose more than a billion dollars from Trump’s six biggest bankruptcies. Did you know that Donald Trump said during the 2016 presidential election debates that he never had a bankruptcy?

It is safe to say that if Donald Trump brags about how great he is, he is lying.

If you are curious how to sell China manufactured products in China, visit the China Law Blog here.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Is China already the World Leader in Climate Strategy

November 14, 2018

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports, “As the United States steps away from global climate leadership, China is stepping up. EDF has been working there for more than 25 years, and now we’re helping the Chinese government launch a national system to control climate pollution.”

How serious is China?

In 2017, the BBC wrote, “China leads world in solar power production” …

“The largest solar farm in the world – Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, all 30sq km of it – is a Chinese project. And the country recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, in Huainan, Anhui Province.”

CNBC reports, “China continues to lead global wind energy market, says new report.” …

“The GWEC said that Asia would lead growth, with China – which installed 23 GW in 2016 – leading all markets.”

CNBC also says, “China now produces more solar, wind and hydro power than the US and EU combined.” … “And, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), last year alone China pumped over $44 billion into increasing its renewable energy reach.

“This model of renewables replacing coal is now being replicated throughout Asia.”

China is also in the process of replacing its taxi fleet with electric cars.  Quarts reports, “China added as much battery-storage capacity in 2018 as all previous years combined.” … “China isn’t building gigafactories,” says Patrick Hurley, chief technology officer of A123, a lithium-ion battery company. “It is building gigacities.” … “In 2017, CNESA estimates that China built 40 GWh worth of batteries for electric cars and buses. That accounts for the batteries in more than 50% of all electric vehicles sold globally in the same year.”

“Beijing Leads China in Promoting Battery Electric Vehicles,” Inside EVs says. “Beijing is one of the most EV rich places in the world with 188,000 all-electric vehicles, which is 11.6% of all electric cars registered in China.

“The Chinese capital increased the number of BEVs this year by 17,000. Around 140,000 out of a total of 188,000 were purchased by individuals and companies, while the remaining 48,000 were used in the public sphere.

“All those vehicles can use roughly 130,000 charging points – 93,000 privately installed for home use, 20,000 accessible to the general public, and 17,000 installed for the public transport system.”

And Vox.com reports, “By 2020, every Chinese coal plant will be more efficient than every US coal plant.

China’s efforts to tackle coal are comprehensive and ambitious, a new report shows.”

What has President Donald Trump done in the U.S. to cut back on fossil fuel emissions/pollution?

Nothing!

 

In fact, Trump has signed executive orders that allow coal mines to pollute US rivers and coastal waters with more toxic emissions. … “Old coal-fired power plants may get to keep polluting the air we breathe and the atmosphere that sustains life on earth, thanks to Trump’s call to toss out the Clean Power Plan. And future power plants may not be held to tougher standards that would have largely prevented new coal plants from coming online.”

Vox continues, “China is waging an aggressive, multi-front campaign to clean up coal before eventually phasing it out — reducing emissions from existing plants, mothballing older plants, and raising standards for new plants. Unlike the US, it is on track to exceed its Paris carbon reduction commitments.

“In short, while the US dithers along in a cosmically stupid dispute over whether science is real, China is tackling climate change with all guns blazing. The US, not China, is the laggard in this relationship.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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What Nixon Built with China Trump’s Wrecking Ball Destroys

October 24, 2018

In 1969, the Soviet Union was planning a nuclear attack on China. The USSR only backed down when President Nixon’s administration warned Moscow that such a move would start World War Three since the US would bomb Russia in retaliation.

The United States, under President Nixon (1969-1974), clearly indicated that China’s interests were closely related to America’s.

Then in February 1972, President Richard Nixon went to China and changed the course of history. His motives may not have been meant to encourage China to become the economic powerhouse it is today. However, if it weren’t for Nixon, the odds say the Soviet Union would have bombed China with nuclear weapons and China would have retaliated.

Nixon’s trip to Beijing wasn’t to see if China would help get the US out of Vietnam. Instead, the trip was designed to put pressure on the USSR with a goal to make them agree to strategic arms limitations.

Trump’s trade war with China is reversing everything President Nixon achieved with China.

The Financial Times reports, “Chinese soldiers join Russia’s largest military exercise since cold war.”

“Russia’s biggest military exercise since the cold war, and its first to be conducted with a country not from the former Soviet bloc, is the strongest sign yet of the deepening strategic bond between Moscow and Beijing that has been prompted by Russia’s souring western relations and may herald a redrawing of the region’s geopolitics.”

The Washington Post reports, “Washington is fighting a trade war with China and imposing mounting sanctions on Russia. The Trump administration has reoriented the U.S. national security strategy toward “great-power competition” with Russia and China, describing both countries as seeking to “shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests.” …

“The Chinese right now are sending a clear signal that, one, they don’t see Russia as a threat, which already should be a concern to the United States,” said Michael Kofman, senior research scientist at CNA, a U.S.-funded research organization based in Arlington, Va. “They are increasingly wishing to signal that increasing confrontation with the United States will drive them toward greater balancing behavior with Russia.”

But it isn’t just China Trump is alienating.

Business Insider says, “Trump’s fight with Turkey is helping Russia and Iran” … Trump is strengthening alliances between countries that don’t have America or the West’s best interest’s at heart. By punishing Turkey with sanctions, he is only pushing the country closer to other nations who see the strategic importance of having Turkey on their side.”

My question is this: Is Trump doing what Putin wants him to do, to alienate the United States from China and the rest of the world so Russia can step in and replace the U.S.?

What’s more alarming is what CNN Money says, “Russia has rapidly sold off the vast majority of its stash of American debt.” … “Between March and May, Russia’s holdings of US Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total US debt holdings.”

While Russia’s holdings of US debt are insignificant, China’s are not, and Asia Times asks, “Russia is dumping US Treasuries. Will China be next?”

The Council on Foreign Relations attempts to answer the previous question. But no matter what happens, the fact is that what Nixon built with China is being dismantled by Donald Trump and the winner will be Russia.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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