VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: President Trump in Meeting with the National Governors Association

White House File Photo

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence addressed a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House on Monday, Feb. 27. Trump touched upon a variety of subjects, including the federal budget, defense spending, immigration, Obamacare and the relationship between the states and the federal government.  The transcript follows below the video.



(WhiteHouse.gov – Feb. 27, 2017)

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2017
Remarks by President Trump in Meeting with the National Governors Association

State Dining Room

9:45 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) That is pretty good, I’ll tell you. Coming from governors, I can’t really — I can’t even believe it. That’s so impressive. And I very much appreciate you being here. And thank you to Vice President Pence. He has been so wonderful to work with. He’s a real talent, a real guy. And he is central casting, do we agree? Central casting. He’s been great. (Applause.)

Good morning, everybody, and welcome back to the White House. The First Lady and I were very, very happy last night to host you. We saw some real talent, military talent, musicians who were fantastic. And everybody enjoyed it. (Applause.)

I’m very proud to have so many former governors in my Cabinet. Vice President Pence, as you know, big governor from a very great state — I state I like very much — Indiana. Nikki Haley at the U.N. — is Nikki here someplace? I think so — yes. We have Rick Perry — is going before. We’re trying to get people approved, we can’t get them out. But Rick is going to do a fantastic job. Sonny Purdue will be joining the Cabinet very soon. Terry Branstad will be our ambassador to China. And an interesting story on Terry — every time I spoke in Iowa, he’d say, please don’t say anything bad about China. (Laughter.) I said, what do you mean? What do you mean? He said, I like China and we do a lot of business with China. “And really, just don’t” — and I said, “hmm.” So when it came down to picking an ambassador, I called him up, I said, you like China. And I can tell you, China is very, very happy with our choice. So we made everybody happy. (Applause.) Right? These governors — thank you. And thank you, Terry.

These governors have been bold reformers, and their success shows why we need to make states the laboratories of democracy once again. Many of you have shared past frustrations with waiting for permission from the federal government and agencies — and I understand that, and I’ve had many people tell me about it, and it’s been catastrophic for some of your states. You know your citizens and you know they want things done. But they don’t get things done and it’s not your fault. Sometimes it’s your fault, but they understand that. But sometimes it’s not your fault. We’re going to speed it up.

Because that’s not how a partnership is supposed to work. The government should not stand in your way in delivering needed reforms and services — and it won’t. We’re going to move very, very quickly, environmentally, with Scott and so many others that are involved in the process of regulation. We are going to be cutting — we’re going to be doing the right thing. We’re going to be protecting people environmentally and safety-wise, but we’re going to be moving it quickly, very quickly. (Applause.)

And speaking of that, I know many of you — and I’ve spoken to some of you last night about it — have many projects that are — I mean, just literally tied up because of environmental concerns, and it’s been in for years and years and years the project your state wants, great for employment — everybody wants them — and they couldn’t get them out of environmental protection. And we will get them out. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be approved, but they’ll be rejected quickly one way or the other. They’ll be either rejected quickly or they’re going to get approved. I would say most will be approved, but you’re going to know you’re not going to wait nine years or eleven years — some of the horror stories that I’ve heard.

Under my administration, we’re going to have a true partnership of collaboration and cooperation. We will get to the answers and we will get them quickly, and the flexibility you need to implement the reforms that you are going to have in order to make decision-making proper and decision-making fast. So we’re going to do both those things — proper and fast.

One of the most important responsibilities for the federal government is the budget of the United States. My first budget will be submitted to the Congress next month. This budget will be a public safety and national security budget, very much based on those two with plenty of other things, but very strong. And it will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it. (Applause.)

And you’ll be hearing about that tomorrow night in great detail. This is a landmark event, a message to the world, in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve. We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight in our name only do one thing: Win. We have to win. We have to start winning wars again.

I have to say, when I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say “we haven’t lost a war” — we never lost a war — you remember. Some of you were right there with me, and you remember we never lost a war. America never lost. And now we never win a war. We never win. And we don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win. So we either got to win, or don’t fight it at all. But where we are — 17 years — almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East. I saw a chart the other day — as of about a month ago, $6 trillion we’ve spent in the Middle East — $6 trillion. And I want to tell you, that’s just unacceptable. And we’re nowhere. Actually, if you think about it, we’re less than nowhere. The Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago. There’s not even a contest. So we’ve spent $6 trillion. We have a hornet’s nest. It’s a mess like you’ve never seen before. We’re nowhere. So we’re going to straighten it out.

This defense spending increase will be offset and paid for by finding greater savings and efficiencies across the federal government. We’re going to do more with less. I got involved in an airplane contract, I got involved in some other contracts, and we cut the hell out of the prices. I mean, we saved a lot of money, tremendous amount of money, beyond anything that the generals that were involved — they said they’d never seen anything like this before.

On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use. (Laughter.) Because if we can do that, our budget will be — might be my highest and best. (Applause.)



And there are many other places; it’s all the same. And in one way, that’s a good thing because we have an answer. And David is going to do a fantastic job at the VA. I see David is sitting there, shaking his head. Stand up, David. (Applause.) So we can’t get our people through Cabinet, but he went through — was it 95 to nothing?

SECRETARY SHULKIN: A hundred to zero.

THE PRESIDENT: How the h[***] did you do that? (Laughter.) Boy, oh boy. He must be good. You were the one. One hundred to zero, wow. Chose you — hey, we can do it. But we do — we have still quite a few Cabinet members, and they’re just in limbo waiting and waiting. It’s like obstruction. It’s obstruction. But eventually we’ll get them, and they’ll put their people in, and we’ll get those agencies, et cetera, to work.

We’re going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people. We can do so much more with the money we spend. With $20 trillion in debt — can you imagine that — the government must learn to tighten its belt, something families all across the country have had to learn to do, unfortunately. But they’ve had to learn to do it, and they’ve done it well.

My budget increases spending, and the increase in all spending, for federal law enforcement also. And activities having to do with law enforcement will be substantially increased. And we will fight violent crime. If you look at what’s happening in our cities, you look at what’s happening in Chicago, what’s going on in Chicago — we will fight violent crime, and we will win. And we’ll win that one fairly quickly. Once we give the local police, the local law enforcement the right to go in and fight it, and we back them monetarily and also otherwise, we’re going to win that one. We’re going to win it fairly quickly, I believe.

My budget also puts America first by keeping tax dollars in America to help veterans and first responders. So important. This budget follows through on my promise to focus on keeping Americans safe, keeping out terrorists, keeping out criminals, and putting violent offenders behind bars, or removing them from our country altogether. And I must say that we’ve been treated very well — very, very well — on the job that General Kelly has done at the border. It’s tough, it’s strong.

I was talking last night to Terry McAuliffe, and he said, you have to mention this — because he met with — where is Terry? He’s around here someplace. Terry — he met with General Kelly, and I think I can say you were impressed with General Kelly. And he said, you have to get the point out that they’re removing the bad ones. And that’s where our focus is — it’s the bad ones. We’re getting some very, very bad players out of this country — drug lords, gang members, heads of gangs, killers, murderers — we’re getting them out. That’s what we’re focused on.

The press isn’t covering that, unfortunately, but it’s something that is very important. We’re getting the bad ones out. And that’s always where I said I was going to start. I was going to start with these bad players. And they are bad. They are rough and tough, and we’re getting them the hell out of our country, and we’re bringing them to where they started out. Let their country do what they have to do with them.

So the budget, which is going to be a very big part of tomorrow night’s speech, it’s going to be I think a budget of great rationality. But it’s going to have to do with military, safety, economic development, and things such as that. Great detail tomorrow night.

We’re also going to do whatever we can to restore the authority of the states when that is the appropriate thing to do. We’re going to give you back a lot of the powers that have been taken away from states and great people and great governors. And you can control it better than the federal government because you’re right on top of it. You have something that’s controllable. So I think that’s going to be very important. You see that already taking effect.

We have to let the states compete and to see who has the best solutions. They know the best how to spend their dollars and how to take care of the people within each state. And the states are different, and people are different. So the governors are going to have a lot more decision-making ability than they have right now.

All states will benefit from our economic agenda. We will reduce taxes very, very substantially, and simplify the tax code. We’re also going to make taxes between countries much more fair. We’re one of the only countries in the world that people can sell their product into us and have no tax, no nothing, and they get rich. And yet if you want to do business with them, you’ll have taxes, I’ve seen, as high as 100 percent. So they sell into us, no problem; we sell into them — because we don’t sell them because the tax is so high that they don’t want us to sell into them.

So I know that’s always been a point of contention, but to me it’s just fair. It’s just fair. It’s reciprocal. It’s fair. And so we’re going to be doing a lot of work on that, and that’s becoming a very, very important factor — fairness. Because I believe in free trade. I want so much trade — somebody said, oh, maybe he’s a total nationalist — which I am, in a true sense — but I want trade. I want great trade between countries.

But the word “free” is very deceiving, because it’s good for them, it’s not good for us. I want fair trade. And if we’re going to be taxed, they should be taxed at the same amount, the other countries. And one of two things is going to happen: We’re going to make a lot of money or the other country is going to get rid of its tax. And that’s good, too, because now the product, like Harley-Davidson — I was talking to them — the product will now flow into other countries where right now they can’t do it.

So we’re going to make it easier for states to invest in infrastructure, and I’m going to have a big statement tomorrow night on infrastructure. We spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, and we have potholes all over our highways and our roads. I have a friend who is in the trucking business. He said, my trucks are destroyed going from New York to Los Angeles. They’re destroyed. He said, I’m not going to get the good trucks. He always prided himself on buying the best equipment. He said, the roads are so bad that, by the time we make the journey from New York to Los Angeles or back, he said the equipment is just beat to hell. I said, when has it been like that before? He said, it’s never — he’s been in the business for 40 years — he said it’s never been like that. Forty years — never been like that. So we’re going to take care of that.

Infrastructure — we’re going to start spending on infrastructure big. And it’s not like we have a choice. It’s not like, oh, gee, let’s hold it off. Our highways, our bridges are unsafe. Our tunnels — I mean, we have tunnels in New York where the tiles are on the ceiling, and you see many tiles missing. And you wonder, you know, you’re driving at 40 miles an hour, 50 miles an hour through a tunnel. Take a look at the Lincoln Tunnel and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and you’re driving, and you see all this loose material that’s heavy. And it was made many years ago, so it’s heavy. Today, it’s light. It used to be better. The problem is, you got to hold it up. And I say to myself — every time I drive through, I say, I wonder how many people are hurt or injured when they are driving at 40, 50 miles an hour through a tunnel, and the tile falls off. And there are so many missing tiles and such loose concrete. So we have to fix our infrastructure. It’s not like we have a choice. We have no choice, and we’re going to do it, and it also happens to mean jobs, which is a good thing.

We’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, and get states the flexibility that they need to make the end result really, really good for them. A very complicated issue. We have Tom Price, just got confirmed — sitting here. (Applause.) Stand up, Tom. And I spent a lot of time with Governor Walker and Governor Rick Scott the other day — we were talking about it. They’re really very expert on the subject, and I want to thank them. They spent a lot of time with me. Governor Christie who’s here someplace. Where’s Chris? Governor Christie, thank you. And so we have a lot of talent and a lot of expertise here, I will tell you. And we have come up with a solution that’s really, really, I think, very good.

Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated. And statutorily and for budget purposes, as you know, we have to do healthcare before we do the tax cut. The tax cut is going to be major, it’s going to be simple, and the whole tax plan is wonderful. But I can’t do it until we do healthcare because we have to know what the healthcare is going to cost. And, statutorily, that’s the way it is. So for those people that say, oh, gee, I wish we could do the tax first — it just doesn’t work that way. I would like to do that first. It’s actually — tax cutting has never been that easy, but it’s a tiny, little ant compared to what we’re talking about with Obamacare.



And you have to remember — and I say this to Democrats in the room — of which we have many — Obamacare has failed. If you go to Minnesota, where they had a 66-percent increase, and the governor of Minnesota, who is with us today, said, Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act — is no longer affordable — something to that effect. I think that might be it exactly. But the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable. Obamacare has failed.

I say to the Republicans, if you really want to do politically something good, don’t do anything. Sit back for a period of two years, because ’17 is going to be a disaster — a disaster — for Obamacare if we don’t do something. Let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Dems that are in our room, and we can blame that on the Democrats and President Obama. Let it implode, and then let it implode in ’18 even worse. Don’t do anything, and they will come begging for us to do something. But that’s not the fair thing to do for the people. It’s not the fair thing.

Politically, I think it would be a great solution, because as soon as we touch it, if we do the most minute thing — just a tiny, little change — what’s going to happen? They’re going to say, it’s the Republicans’ problem. That’s the way it is. But we have to do what’s right because Obamacare is a failed disaster.

And it’s interesting, it’s sort of like, when you see — you see it with politicians, you see it with President Obama — when you know he’s getting out of office and the clock is ticking, and he’s not going to be there, his approval rating goes way up, even though, you know, not that active in the last period of time. The approval rating goes up. That’s not him; that’s like almost everybody. I see it happening with Obamacare. People hate it, but now they see that the end is coming, and they’re saying, oh, maybe we love it. There’s nothing to love. It’s a disaster, folks, okay? So you have to remember that.

And, very importantly, we are going to work to restore local control to our nation’s education system. Betsy is here someplace, and she is going to be, I think, fantastic. (Applause.) I think she’s going to be fantastic. Stand up, Betsy. Betsy feels so strongly, and she has had such support from so many people. You know, you don’t see that too much because you see the anti, you never see the positive. But I can tell you, I’ve had so many calls while she was going through that horrible process. That was a tough, tough, nasty process. And she hung in, she was as strong as you get. But so many people were calling Betsy, saying you will do such a fantastic job once you get it.

It’s like sometimes I’d say, it’s much tougher to get into Harvard than it is to stay there. Does that make sense? It’s tougher to get into the Wharton School of Finance — you can’t get in. But if you get in, it’s fine, you get through, right? I think you’re going to do a fantastic job, and we’re very proud of you. And you took a lot of heat, but you’re going to do great. So she wants to bring decision-making powers back to parents, back to the families and back to the states, where they can really control education.

And just finally, I’m looking forward to working with you on these projects and so much more. We’re going to do these projects and so many more. And I thank you all again for being here. It’s going to be a really productive discussion — so productive that I’m going to ask the press to start leaving because I wouldn’t want them to see any great, productive session. (Laughter.) But they’ll be seeing it and hearing about it.

Again, thank you very much all for being at the White House. We’ll do this many times. I want the opinions of the governors of the states of the United States. So I want to just thank you all for being here, and let’s take some questions, okay? (Applause.) Thank you.

END
10:05 A.M. EST





NEWSLINK: “U.S. Demands Russia Observe Cease-Fire; Says Combined Russian-Separatist Forces Attack Monitors” – RFE/RL

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“The United States has called on #Russia to ‘immediately’ observe a cease-fire deal in eastern Ukraine — saying that a combined force from Russia’s military and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine had been targeting international monitors. In a February 26 statement, the U.S. State Department called on “Russia and the separatist forces it backs to immediately observe the cease-fire, withdraw all heavy weapons, and allow full and unfettered access” to the region for monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In a February 26 statement, the U.S. State Department called on “Russia and the separatist forces it backs to immediately observe the cease-fire, withdraw all heavy weapons, and allow full and unfettered access” to the region for monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Washington’s call came a day after the OSCE monitoring mission said armed men in separatist-controlled territory to the north of Donetsk had seized one of the unarmed drones that the monitors use to assess cease-fire violations. …”

NEWSLINK: “Montenegro ‘to indict Russian spy behind coup plot'” – Daily Telegraph

Map of Europe Highlighting Montenegro

“#Montenegro is reportedly preparing to indict the #Russian #intelligence officer it accuses of masterminding a bloody coup plot to stop the Balkan nation joining #Nato. …”

NEWSLINK: “Russian-Backed Militants Open Fire On Civilian Ceasefire Monitors In Ukraine” – Daily Caller/Heritage Foundation

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

Russian separatist militants opened fire Friday on a group of civilian peace monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in eastern Ukraine, sparking condemnation from the group’s chief monitor and the U.S. Militants from the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) fired on the OSCE monitors as they were attempting to launch a drone in order to investigate the alleged shelling of the Donetsk water filtration station. After seizing the drone, one of the militants opened fire near the monitors. …

NEWSLINK: “House Intel Chair: Calls For Trump-Russia Special Prosecutor ‘Almost Like McCarthyism’” – Daily Caller/Heritage Foundation

U.S. Capitol file photo

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said on Saturday that calls for a special prosecutor to investigate possible ties between Donald #Trump advisers and the #Russian government amount to a ‘witch hunt’ and resemble the #McCarthyism of the 1950s. ‘At this point we can’t go on a witch hunt against any American people … just because they appeared in a news story,’ California Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters at California Republican convention in Sacramento on Saturday, according to the San Francisco Gate.

NEWSLINK: “Crimea: Peninsula of Torture” – OpenDemocracy/Yegor Skovoroda

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“Three years on since the #Russian authorities took control of #Crimea, Russian security forces’ actions on the peninsula increasingly recall methods that first gained infamy in the North Caucasus. Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists disappear without a trace, people who protest the policies of the new authorities are arrested, Salafi Muslims are persecuted. Just like in the Caucasus, it’s difficult for journalists, rights defenders and lawyers to operate in Crimea — they are all subject to pressure. Torture has come to Crimea, too. In particular, the Russian security services’ favourite method — electric shock. …”

NEWSLINK: “Russians march to honor slain opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov” – Los Angeles Times

Map of Russia with Russian Flag

Thousands of #Russians marched in Moscow on Sunday to mark the death of Boris #Nemtsov, an outspoken opposition leader who was gunned down two years ago. The protesters chanted ‘#Putin is a thief!’ and ‘Give Crimea back!’ and carried portraits of Nemtsov, who was one of the best known critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his policies.

NEWSLINK: “WH Spokesperson: FBI Said Stories on Trump-Russia Contact Is ‘BS’” – Breitbart

FBI Building file photo

… discussing investigations into Russia’s hacking during last year’s presidential election and disputed contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, ‘the FBI has already said this story is BS.’ … “

NEWSLINK: “Facing Russia and Terrorism, a NATO Outsider Urges EU to Step Up” – Bloomberg

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“#Finland is urging #Europe to increase #NATO contributions and focus more on security as the continent grapples with political turmoil from all sides, including from within.

Once the U.K. has quit the European Union, the 27 nations left behind need to double down on the bloc’s founding principle and give the remaining 444 million citizens what they most crave: security, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview at his seaside residence in Helsinki on Friday. The 68-year-old is head of state of the nation that shares the EU’s longest border with #Russia, a country with which Finland has regular contact for security and practical reasons.”

 

NEWSLINK: “Thousands remember slain Russian politician” – Radio New Zealand

Kremlin Aerial View

“Thousands of people have marched in #Moscow to remember #Russian opposition leader, Boris #Nemtsov, who was shot dead outside the Kremlin in 2015. Mr Nemtsov, a reformer, democrat and former deputy PM, was a fierce critic of President Vladimir #Putin. Some marchers chanted ‘#Russia will be free!” and ‘#Putin is war!’ …”

 

NEWSLINK: “Republicans divided on Russia probe, calls for special prosecutor over AG Sessions” – Fox News

White House File Photo

“#Republicans are increasingly divided over the issue of whether members of Donald #Trump’s presidential campaign made illegal contact with #Russia and if a special prosecutor should be appointed over Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate such allegations. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told “Fox News Sunday” that he has confidence in Sessions, a Trump campaign supporter and former AlabamPolia senator, and his judgment.”

NEWSLINK: “Kremlin denies Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador” – New York Post

Michael Flynn file photo

“Moscow on Monday backed national security adviser Mike Flynn, saying he never improperly discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. ‘We have already said there have not been any such talks,” insisted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked whether Flynn and envoy Sergey Kislyak talked about rolling back tough sanctions imposed by President Obama, once President Trump had assumed office, TASS reported.”

NEWSLINK: “Russia and China bombard Blighty with 188 cyberattacks in 3 months; Security secrets and private businesses are all fair game” – Register (UK)

“Britain has been hit by 188 “high-level attacks” in the last three months. Some of these attempts include Russian state-sponsored hackers trying to steal defence and foreign policy secrets, according to the UK’s newly appointed National Cyber Security Centre chief Ciaran Martin. Russian and Chinese attacks on defence and foreign policy servers are among those being investigated by the organisation. Security vendors said that high-level malfeasance by foreign espionage agencies is an issue for Western businesses as well as governments. …”

NEWSLINK: “Mike Flynn, #Russia, deportations and real fake news” – AEI

Michael Flynn file photo

“… What is illegal is leaking highly sensitive classified information about signals intelligence from spying on the Russian ambassador. And what also is illegal is the CIA spying, even incidentally, on Americans. This is not a maybe, or an if, or a sorta. It is ILLEGAL. The aforementioned nine officials should be found, prosecuted, and, if found guilty, imprisoned for leaking classified information. That they did so for political reasons is all the more despicable. …”

NEWSLINK: “Emmanuel Macron aide blames #Russia for #hacking attempts; Russia watchers say Moscow is deploying considerable resources to swing the French election.” – Politico.EU

Map of France

“A top aide to French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron accused #Russia on Monday of trying to hack into his campaign’s computer systems and spreading disinformation about him via Kremlin-backed news media.”

NEWSLINK: “#InternationalLaw and #Cyber Operations – Launch of the Tallinn Manual 2.0” – Atlantic Council

Binary Code with Stylized Eye

“… The first Tallinn Manual was the most comprehensive analysis of how existing international law applies to #cyber space, mostly focusing on cyber operations occurring during armed conflict. Four years after its publication, we have witnessed cyber rapidly moving to the forefront of national security agendas in response to the proliferation of cyberattacks against states, companies, and individuals alike. The Tallinn Manual 2.0, authored by nineteen respected international law experts across the globe, adds analysis of international law governing these more common forms of cyber incidents occurring during peace time. …”

 

NEWSLINK: “California crews rush to fix dam before new storms hit” – Reuters

U.S. Map

“Stormwaters receded on Monday behind the nation’s tallest dam, in Northern California, as engineers raced to drain the rain-swollen reservoir and shore up a crumbling overflow channel before new storms sweep the region later this week.

Authorities said they had averted the immediate danger of a catastrophic failure – one capable of unleashing a wall of water three stories tall on towns below.

But evacuation orders for some 188,000 residents remained in effect indefinitely, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a midday news conference. The risk to those living in the Feather River valley below the Lake Oroville Dam, 65 miles (105 km) north of Sacramento, was still being reviewed, he said. …”

 

NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Why foreign companies are shutting shop in #China” – CNBC

China Map

“U.S.-based Seagate, the world’s biggest maker of hard disk drives, closed its factory in Suzhou near Shanghai last month with the loss of 2,000 jobs, in a move that has rekindled fears that #China is becoming increasingly hostile towards foreign firms operating in the country. … Seagate joined a spate of foreign companies to shutter operations in China in recent years, for various reasons, but most have attributed the country’s high tax regime, rising labor costs and fierce competition from domestic companies. Panasonic, for instance, stopped all its manufacturing of televisions in the country in 2015 after 37 years of operating in China. …”

Click here for: “Why foreign companies are shutting shop in China” – CNBC/South China Morning Post







VOA: China’s Two-Child Policy Shift May Be Too Little, Too Late

China Map

(Voice of America – voanews.vom) BEIJING — China saw a smaller than expected uptick in the number of births following its landmark decision to end the country’s controversial one-child policy

In 2016, the number of births in China increased following its landmark decision to end the country’s controversial one-child policy and allow all parents to have two children.

Officials were quick to claim success, arguing that the increase of around 1.4 million new births (compared with an average from 2010-2015) was a sign the new policy was working.



Nearly half of the 17.86 million births last year were second children, but the increase was much smaller than officials and experts expected.

For many families, it is not the statistics that are worrisome, but the financial demands parents face in raising a second child.

Not cheap

Liu, a government employee spending the day with his family at Houhai Lake in the central part of Beijing, said after the policy was rolled out a year ago, he and his wife considered having another. In the end however, they felt the burden was too much to bear.

“[I] wish we could have a second child. One child on his own, is too lonely,” Liu said. “It would be better to have two children.”

Many parents noted the extreme costs of living in China, in particular larger cities such as Beijing.

More than just food and clothing expenses, parents said they spend as much as $1,000 to $2,000 (some even more) each month on extracurricular classes for everything from art to dancing and skating lessons.

In many cases, parents said they are taking a wide range of courses to see where their children’s interests are and to give them an edge in a highly competitive country.

Education and extracurricular activities are not the only expenses, added James King.

“Of course, there’s also travel overseas, which is very expensive,” King said. “We try to travel abroad at least once a year.”



Shared burden

James and his wife Lucy, who have a second child, said that they feel the benefits outweigh the costs, but added each family’s situation is different.

“In the future, [a] child must deal with four elderly parents, but having a brother or sister can make it easier to divide up those responsibilities.”

What is clear is the two-child policy is really more a question that those with residence in China’s major coastal cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, are struggling with. For those from other provinces, bigger families are more common, despite the restrictions.

But that doesn’t mean their children see things differently.

Life’s pressures

Bai, a young hotel management worker from neighboring Hebei province, said his family, like many others where he is from, ignored fines in the past, to have more children. Especially until a boy was born.

Although Bai has two older sisters and comes from a big family by China standards, he was cautious when asked about his eventual plans for having children.

“Life is very stressful, but if I was to have a child, one would be enough,” Bai said. “Either a boy or girl would be fine.”



Demographic juggernaut

Traditional Chinese culture puts more emphasis on giving birth to boys as they carry on the family name. And according to tradition, girls are expected to take care of the family they join through marriage.

The over-emphasis on boys has led to a massive gender gap in China, and for critics it is one of the tragedies of the one-child policy. And that’s not the only demographic challenge China faces despite its massive population.

China’s working population is shrinking as the number of pensioners increases rapidly.

Starting next year, there is likely to be a persistent decrease in the number of children being born, experts say, as the number of women eligible to have a second child will begin to shrink as more fill their quota.

Like many of its Asian neighbors, China has a low fertility rate and so far the government has offered little in the form of incentives to encourage more births aside from ending its one child policy. And because of that, some critics say, the policy shift may be too little too late.





#PopeFrancis Sends #SuperBowl Good Wishes and Plea for Friendship, Peace, Solidarity in #Sports; But Fails to Address Other Issues or Speak in National Language of United States

Pope Francis File Photo, Adapted From Image

The Vatican reports, through News.Va, that #PopeFrancis, in a Spanish-speaking video message, has issued a good will message on the occasion of the 2017 #SuperBowl.

In a specially recorded video message for the event which holds the attention of much of the nation and commands a television audience larger than for any other event of the year, the Pope pointed out that great sporting events like the championship game of the National Football League are highly symbolic, and show that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace. ‘By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest – and in a healthy way – we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world’ he said.

The Vatican version of the video is embedded below, which appeared to lack an English translation.

However, in a Pontificate that sometimes arguably has a passive-aggressive tendency, and a tendency to sometimes brush past significant concerns, the Pope’s feel-good message had several curious twists to it.

One is that, in a very short message targeted at a major event in the United States, he failed to speak in the de facto national language of the United States, American English, nor did he speak in Latin, the universal language of the Church.  Instead, he spoke in his native tongue, Latin American Spanish, at a time when one of the most tragic issues facing the United States is widespread illegal colonization by Spanish-speaking Latin Americans, a number of whom seem more focused on exploiting the United States economically instead of becoming Americans, a number of whom to want to force the United States to change its language to Spanish, or become bilingual.  And the Pope did this in a context where some aggressive elements infiltrating Catholic institutions have tried to distort Catholic messages on migration to promote racial partisan politics, the surrendering of one particular country to illegal colonization by a particular ethnic group from particular nations of origin.

Additional, very serious, issues are the Pope’s apparent failure to address alarms about the Super Bowl alleging drawing attention from person promoting slavery and the exploitation of kidnap victims, as well as the NFL’s scandalous decision to feature an unsavory, offensive fallen-away Catholic as the half-time performer.  Stefani Barotta, who uses a stage name that hearkens back to her days as a go-go dancer, “Lady Gaga,” has been associated with nudity, offensive lyrics and offensive public messages, including messages referencing faith in an offensive manner.

The Pope also failed to address the NFL’s tragic association with medical harm suffered by players over a number of years, including life-altering brain injuries.

 

#NFL Embarasses Itself Inviting Unsavory, Untalented Stefani #Germanotta (so-called “#LadyGaga”) for #SuperBowl Halftime Show

File Photo of Football and Turf Near Goal Line

In one of the most-watched television broadcasts globally, the so-called #SuperBowl, the #NFL apparently has decided to go out of its way to offend mainstream America, believers in God, people of normal taste, and people who can hear pitch accurately, by featuring as its half-time performer the unsavory, untalented, droning Stefani Germanotta. Germanotta, a fallen-away Catholic who dropped out of a religious high school, performs under the stage name of “#LadyGaga,” a title that, according to a biography website, hearkens pack to a former career as a go-go dancer.



The “performance” itself was largely an exercise in mediocrity.  In addition to being unsavory and offensive, the individual in question tends to be boring, uninspired and droning in her sound, which tends to sound like a more boring, off-key version of dance club background music from the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.  In fact, one has to wonder how many the individual’s fans might be clinically tone deaf.



As laughable as it might seem now, not that many years ago, the NFL said it wanted to be known as family entertainment.  After featuring the likes of Madonna Ciccone, Katy Perry and now the unsavory, offensive, fallen-away Catholic Stefani Germanotta as Super Bowl half-time performers, the NFL has secured itself the branding of being unsuitable for families, unsuitable for people of good taste and, basically, unsuitable for normal people.

Stefani Germanotta has associated herself with nudity, the promotion of immorality and a lack of musical talent.  Her droning, forgetable, unspiring music tends to sound somewhat off-key and out of tune.  Those facts invite speculation that she resorts to shock value as an attention-getter to compensate for the fact that her music is boring and largely featureless.  If Germanotta had tried to emerge on the scene in the 1960’s or 1970’s, or perhaps any time prior to the mid-1990’s, she likely would not have a “music” career at all.



The individual also has shown her contempt for religious faith in a number of ways, including by singing love for Judas, as well as mocking prayer in a morbid manner by announcing at one point that she was praying naked.

#Pepsi shares part of the blame for the offensive fiasco, as the would-be sponsor of the debacle.

#Fox also shares blame, for having its announcers toe the party line by speaking favorably of the individual.

While at least one Fox commentator tried to convince viewers that the would-be “show” at halftime was “amazing,” in reality the show ittself was boring as well as offensive, an embarrasment to the NFL, an embarrasment to football, an embarassment to Fox, and to anybody involved.



There also was the claim that mention of the individual on so-called “social media” was some kind of positive indicator, when, in reality, so-called “mentions” including negative mentions.

Quite frankly, one should question whether favorable commentators should be paid attention or hired for future commentary.  And NFL personnel responsible for inflicting this fiasco on America should be fired, for bad judgment and undermining the good of the sport, as well as for disrespecting the vast majority of Americans whose values and sense of taste have been attacked and disrespected by the trouble-making, unsavory individual the NFL tried to celebrate as something other than that.





 

NEWSLINK: “#Kasparov: Comparing USA to #Russia like comparing surgeon to Jack the Ripper” – The Hill/Garry Kasparov

Kremlin and St. Basil's at Night

“The chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, Russian chess master Garry #Kasparov, criticized President Donald #Trump Sunday for implying this weekend that the United States isn’t so pure when it comes to condemning #Russia’s human rights record. ‘Comparing the USA to Putin’s Russia is like comparing a surgeon to Jack the Ripper because they both cut people with knives,’ Kasparov tweeted, referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin and the 19th century London serial killer who slashed his victims.”

 

NEWSLINK: “#Trump Pledges To Restore Peace Between #Ukraine And #Russia” – Daily Caller

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“… #Trump pledged to work with both #Russia and #Ukraine to restore peace on the border, in a Saturday interview with Fox News. Trump’s comments come amid intense fighting in eastern Ukraine between the military and Russian-backed separatists. Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, and is under international sanction by the U.S. and European Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea in August to reportedly ‘mull anti-terror measures.’ The uptick in violence may be Putin’s first test of Trump. Trump told Fox News, ‘we will work with Ukraine, Russia and all other parties involved to help them restore peace along the border.'”

 

NEWSLINK: “#Trump administration modifies sanctions against #Russian intelligence service”

U.S. Treasury Department North Facade and Statue of Alexander Hamilton

The #Trump administration on Thursday altered #sanctions against companies doing business with #Russia’s domestic intelligence agency. The Treasury Department said it will allow American companies to make limited transactions with the #FSB, the successor to the #KGB, if it needs them to get approval to import or distribute technology products in Russia. The exception will also apply to situations in which companies need to comply with rules administered by the FSB. The implications of the move were not immediately clear, but the U.S. has taken similar steps in the past to help businesses avoid unintended consequences on cross-border transactions.