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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Japan And Donald Trump

American politics, like it or not, often has global ramifications.

There was the old rallying cry of "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!"… by Democratic presidential candidate James Polk back in 1844 who wanted control over all of the Oregon Territory up to the northern boundary of 54°40'. The problem was that the U.S. and Great Britain had controlled that territory - sharing it…  but eventually, afterwards, the boundary between the U.S. and Canada was established at the 49° with the Treaty of Oregon in 1846. Polk, however, had wanted to go to war with the British to grab that land all for the U.S.

U.S. president Millard Fillmore wanted his commodore Matthew Perry to 'force' Japan to open itself up to trade with the still fledgling United States back in 1853, as a means to help legitimize the country as a global power… perhaps one still smarting from its war with Great Britain, a war the U.S. started over Britain's war with France and the impressment of up to 10,000 American merchant sailors into the British Navy. There was a lot of give and take about lands now constituting Canada, and as we Canadians are proud to state, we did indeed burn down the U.S. White House. Victories by Lower and Upper Canada and more over invading U.S. armies helped Canada gain a strong identity of itself as a separate nation, while still remaining loyal to Great Britain. It helped Canada remain its own country rather than be annexed by the U.S.

There's plenty of others, if we want to get right down to it, Grenada, The Middle East… it's almost like whenever a country is in a depression, start a war, and the money rolls in. It's complex, but it happens.

So, wither Donald Trump, the latest hopeful candidate for the nomination to lead the Republican Party in the upcoming U.S. elections.

Here is a man who was filthy rich. Went bankrupt. Got massive loans. Became filthy rich again.

Y'know… if that was you or I… a common sort of person, do you think anyone would allow a former-bankrupt person to get such loans to begin anew? To his credit, real or imagined, Donald Trump has money again.

"When did we beat Japan at anything? They send their cars over by the millions, and what do we do? When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo? It doesn't exist, folks. They beat us all the time," Trump said during a speech that announced his candidacy in 2015 to run for the Republican nomination.

Uh, you did bomb the hell out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and let's not forget that whole firestorm on Tokyo during WWII, that ended the war. No one is speaking German or Japanese as a first language in the U.S.

The U.S. did help prop up the economies of both Germany and Japan at the war's conclusion… and with Japan, especially, you helped mold the country into what it is today…

But yeah… I get where he's coming from, even though it sounds like sour grapes.

If the U.S. automakers had got off its collective butt during the oil crisis of the 1970s and tried to design and manufacture cars people could afford to purchase and to drive that were not gas guzzlers, Americans and especially us dumb-ass Liberal Canadians, wouldn't have purchased Japanese cars like it was porn candy.

Trump fails to mention that those same Japanese automobile companies have provided a tremendous amount of employment and thus money into local, State and federal economies.

Hells… gross mismanagement by many American auto manufacturers helped bankrupt themselves and Detroit, as predicted in the movie Robo-Cop. The original.

I recall driving my Hyundai Tiburon down into Chicago back in 2001, and the oohs and ahhs I got were amazing… wanting to know where they could get a cool-looking car like mine. How does Hyundai do it? They are Korean, by the way…. not Japanese. 

The cartoonish former TV star of the The Apprentice, who loudly bellowed "You're fired!" when it was time to whittle down the show's failed would-be apprentice's to his Donaldness, is now running—and doing rather well—in his attempt to lead the Republicans… and with the hope then to become the so-called leader of the Free World.

The world is already a racist and violent place, and for many U.S. citizens, Trump will make it even more so if elected president.

We all know of his much ballyhooed plan to erect a tall wall across the U.S.-Mexico border to keep illegal aliens out. To be honest, as a Canadian who came to the country legally from England, I respect the process to enter a country legally… it's not without difficulty, but it is worth it.

Trump sees the influx of illegal aliens as something that hurts the American economy, as they are taking away jobs from 'real' Americans.

They are. However, it should be pointed out that these illegal aliens are taking away and performing jobs few legal Americans want to perform. These aren't high-level occupations with salaries and a retirement plan. No… these are low-level jobs that someone has to do for the country to proceed.

Let's suppose (and I'm pulling numbers from my imaginary hat), that some 20 percent of the people working the night shift to clean buildings are illegal workers. Why don't Americans have those jobs in the first place?

It's because companies seek to find a cheaper alternative, but illegally paying less than minimum wage. That's problem number one… the companies who break the law. These companies - probably good, old-fashioned American companies, are creating a problem.

Now… let's suppose that all the illegal Aliens are removed from the U.S. and kept out (Canada is also building a huge wall to keep draft dodgers and Trump-lovers out of the true North America - kidding. We should)… there will be a huge opportunity for employment… now let's suppose (glass half-full) that legal Americans will snap up those jobs, because everyone wants to work and earn a living.

Companies will be forced to pay higher, legal wages to these employees… perhaps benefits, if they are employees of said company.

Can they afford it? Many American companies won't be able to stay in business… heck, many are already out-sourcing manufacturing to countries with a cheap labor force (such as China), or countries where materials can be purchased cheaply (it was China, but they are developing a middle-class there that expects to be paid better... so some poor country willing to do work for cheap).

It's a merry-go-round… perhaps the money will stay in the U.S. if there are legal Americans doing all the labor. Perhaps some companies will go under from rising labor costs. Perhaps the cost of everyday items will rise meaning the average family will have less money to get by on.

Perhaps everything will work out and the U.S. will enter a golden age of peace and prosperity… who knows.

The thing is… Donald Trump has been spewing a lot of racist comments towards the non-white community - illegal or otherwise - in the U.S. It sounds like he wants to get rid of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it no longer works.

That great American (and former slave owner) Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1879:
No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. From The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
Those same sentiments are in the First Amendment, 1791: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The U.S., being a fair country when it's not trying to take-over Canada, always looks at religious freedoms in its foreign relations.

Trump, has already let it be known that he sees Japan as a freeloader, and chastises Japan in his speeches saying Japan has unfair trade practices.I said Japan three times in one sentence. Ugh.

Japan, like it or not, does ride the coat-tails of the U.S. when it comes to military protectionism. Japan doesn't have an army or navy or armed forces… a solution that was forced upon it, like the Japanese Constitution written by Allied Forces after WWII… aka the U.S…. Japan was naughty during WWII, and the Allies punished the crap out of them for said naughtiness.

But... maybe Trump doesn't need to do anything on behalf of his Red, Very White and Blue.

Japan's King, er, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) has strongly hinted that Japan needs a new Constitution and that it should have its own military (its been 71 years since that war officially ended), and has also been up in arms about American military bases on Japanese soil… so maybe Abe will give Trump what he wants. Good ole Honest Abe.

But Trump wants more by giving Japan less...

Like most political pundits in the U.S., Japan was slow to take Trump as a serious 'threat' to its well-being.

What? A former bankrupt billionaire TV host become president? Heck, there was a peanut farmer, a former slave owner, and a former actor who starred in a movie with a chimpanzee - all became presidents… even for multiple terms. They've even had a singer and a TV/western actor as mayor(s), and had two actors from the movie Predator become governor of two of its 50 beautiful states. Arnie and The Body.

Everyone, Japan included, seemed to think that Trump's talk was just talk… that there was no way his election promises would ever come to see the light. And they may be right.

The last time I checked, the United States is governed by checks and balances… it's the same reason why U.S. president Obama was unable to push through sweeping reforms to the health care system to make it something akin to what we have in Canada - universal healthcare. (It's why, when I have to go under the knife next month, no monies come out of my pocket, and no insurance company need get involved. You Americans missed out. The big winners remain your insurance companies…. and I'm not saying that anyone in that industry was influencing any of those balances with checks… because that would leave a paper trail.)

There's also the TPP - the Trans-Pacific Partnership… a trade agreement amongst 12 Pacific Rim countries signed on February 4, 2016 featuring Japan, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam - that has a stated goal of promoting economic growth.

There's a fear in Japan that even if Japan ratifies it, Trump and the U.S. would not, jeopardizing a lot of good business for the Land of the Rising Sun. That's what Japan is really afraid of should The Donald become Emperor.      

Anyhow… as befitting such a great nation as the United States of America (no, I mean that), other countries are looking upon you with awe and wonder as your electoral process continues.

Japan... Japan, for the most part doesn't want its good buddy America to dislike it, and wonders if Trump's way would trump Japan's chance to right its economic sinking ship.

I'm just rambling an opinion. 

I do have a five-year political science degree (more of a psychological behavior of political science - manipulation and control), and was one credit short from minoring in history. While I am a qualified piano and clarinet teacher, and have coached soccer (for years) and baseball (my first was last year), my real kick is from my diplomas and certificates earned in marketing & advertising, and journalism - all of which helped me go to teach junior high school English in Japan. Did I mention I hated school? It's also why I hate politics.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Brilliant! This may be my favorite analysis of the situation yet. Frankly, it's terrifying. Really.

    1. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that comment! Really! I always wonder if I'm blowing hot smoke... I've also heard pundits suggest that Donald Trump, if elected president, would change his tactics, because bluster and thunder won't work on the global stage (or federal), and he knows that. It's like business... you have to make nice-nice sometimes. That whole Muslim registry thing smacks of Nazism like what they did to the Jews. I understand why he says he wants to do it, but really, the bad guys are such a tiny part of the problem... and it seems like the gov't has a watch on most of them... if the chatter one hears is correct... still... how far back does it go? If your grandmother was Muslim, does that count against YOU? It's a religion just like being Jewish was to the Nazi regime. I understand people and organizations preying on the paranoia, I do, but it flies against the face of the whole American Constitution. That's un-American. That Constitution, for the most part, is a work of art. That whole right to bear arms was put in initially to protect Americans from possible attack by Great Britain and its colonies (Canada). It's not required nowadays. We aren't going to attack with guns and pitchforks. We'll do it via Hollywood and TV and sports.

    2. Well, I've exercised my civic responsibility to vote in this primary. But I still can't believe Trump is probably going to be on the final ticket. You may be getting more refugees from your southern border. (Never thought I would consider making a border run from here!)

    3. The way I see it, all the Trump-less refugees would help Canada with their smarts.

    4. Here's a real obituary from a beautiful lady with a remarkable sense of humor ...
      NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.

      Waiting to see what happens in Cali. Rumor has it that you Canadians have started to build a wall ...

    5. Ha! Yes... but our wall has a door... and a peephole. You know I've been called a snowback by buddies in Illinois. LOL!