Commerce Secretary Ross Discusses NAFTA and Other Trade Initiatives…

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appears on CNBC to discuss ongoing trade initiatives including NAFTA, China and the more broad Asia background.  Additionally, Wilburine discusses growth in GDP and anticipated economic enhancements from the tax cut legislation.


Earlier today it was announced that ADP private payroll growth for January has exceeded 234,000 jobs gained.   “The job market juggernaut marches on,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Given the strong January job gain, 2018 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year in which the economy creates over 2 million jobs.  (read full story on payroll report)


President Trump’s State of the Union address has successfully turned a mirror on the Democratic Party. They appeared confused and angry as the president listed his first year accomplishments. In addition to a roaring economy he reaffirmed his pledge to secure our borders while showing a willingness to compromise on the illegal immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

The Democrats’ disdain was on display as the president honored our veterans, showed pride in our flag and paid tribute to our national anthem. They refused to stand for the families whose children were murdered by the savage M-13 gang. They even refused to honor a 12 year old boy whose mission it was to place flags on the graves of veterans on Veterans Day. The Congressional Black Caucus wouldn’t even acknowledge the lowest in history unemployment rate for African Americans.

For eight years America survived a president who stood proudly over the demise of our republic. We were told the rotting of our nation’s foundation was the new norm and the Democrats were the right party to manage this decline. Freedom loving Americans rejected this lie and did something about it.

Donald Trump was elected to “Make America Great Again” and as his speech suggested, he’s just getting started. Democrats fear a successful Trump presidency and their behavior at the SOTU address helps prove that. What Democrats understand, and what will become apparent to the American people, is that resistance is all they have to run on.

Jeff Longo

North Royalton

Transcript – President Trump State of The Union Speech…

[Transcript] TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

Less than 1 year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People — and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.

Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.

Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.

Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.

We saw the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.

We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania. Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee.

We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.

To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.

Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House — a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.

We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.

In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.

Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.

So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.

And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.

Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.

Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.

Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.

And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.

Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit.

A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half.

This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.

We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.

We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.

Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

One of Staub’s employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax‑cut raise into his new home and his two daughters’ education. Please join me in congratulating Corey.

Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.

This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.

So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.

Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.

We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.

Together, we are rediscovering the American way.

In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is “in God we trust.”

And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.

Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.

Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.

For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government.

Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country.

We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.

And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.

I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.

All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.

In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.

We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.

In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America’s autoworkers — so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again.

Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing — for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.

Exciting progress is happening every day.

To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history.

We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives.

People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the “right to try.”

One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.

America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation’s wealth.

The era of economic surrender is over.

From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal.

We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones.

And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.

As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.

Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.

Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.

We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.

We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.

As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training. Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.

As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.

Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.

For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives.

Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home.

These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ‑- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.

Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.

The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.

Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez — he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ’s murder. But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13.

CJ: Great work. Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.

Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package.

In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.

Here are the four pillars of our plan:

The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.

The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of “catch and release.”

The third pillar ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.

The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.

In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford.

It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.

These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.

For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen.

Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.

These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction.

In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.

My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail.

As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America.

We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico. Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby.

In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: “You will do it — because you can.” He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope.

Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you, and congratulations.

As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.

Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.

For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.

As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.

Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight. Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city.

Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton in bad shape. He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 hours of emergency surgery.

Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin’s selfless love for a fellow warrior. Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a “V” for “Valor.” Staff Sergeant Peck: All of America salutes you.

Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.

In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.

So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.

I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa’ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.

Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.

Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.

As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.

When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.

I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.

My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.

But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.

We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.

Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June — horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return.

Otto’s Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight — along with Otto’s brother and sister, Austin and Greta. You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.

Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.

In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves — permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had — and he resolved to be free.

Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death.

Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most ‑- the truth.

Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.

Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.

It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the world.

That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done.

Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her.

Monuments to Washington and Jefferson — to Lincoln and King.

Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga — to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.

And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people.

A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us — defending hope, pride, and the American way.

They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines.

But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation, belong to them.

Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them.

Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.

As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.

Our families will thrive.

Our people will prosper.

And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.

Thank you, and God bless America.


January 30, 2018.

Trump’s First State of the Union Speech

President Trump delivered a conventional State of the Union address and moved to turn the successes of his first year in office, tax cuts, deregulation and an offensive against the Islamic State,  into a second-year agenda that he said will bring about a “new American moment.” Given all the hatred that has been poured out against this president, it is amazing he managed to get a lot done. However, he also said he was signing an order to keep Guantanamo Bay open because terrorists are criminals. What he obviously fails to understand is if they were really terrorists, then put them on trial. They not been given trials because they are casualties of a war on terror that went too far. The one terrorist they did put on trial who was their best case, the jury acquitted of 223 counts finding him guilty of only a conspiracy. After that stunning defeat, that was the end of trials.

The government tried to release some, but they were killed back home assuming they had become CIA spies. That was the end of that programs. Then they gave 5 terrorists for one American soldier to try to get rid of some that way. Trump seems to be completely in the dark on this issue.

President Trump State of The Union Address – 9:00pm EST Livestream….

Tonight President Donald J Trump delivers one of the most widely covered speeches of the presidential year when he addresses a full congress during the State of The Union address.

The start time is 9:00pm, with speech remarks scheduled for 9:10pm EST. Every broadcast station and cable news outlet will be covering the speech.  There are multiple livestream options available.

WH Livestream LinkRSBN Livestream LinkGST Livestream LinkABC Livestream LinkNBC Livestream LinkCBS Livestream Link

NAFTA Round #6 – USTR Robert Lighthizer Highlights Canada’s Deceptive Negotiation Approach…

NAFTA renegotiation round six ended yesterday in Canada will no substantive progress on the most contentious trade issues.  One negotiation chapter on corruption was closed, but there was little to no agreement on much else.

Each of the primary Trade Representatives gave a closing statement at the conclusion of Round #6.  U.S.T.R. Lighthizer blasted Canada for attempting to inject schemes, fraud and deceptive dealing within the negotiations. Princess Rainbow Sparkles from Canada tried to pretend the Canadian proposal was realistic.  It was all awkward.  Hopefully President Trump will soon get us out of this nonsense. Lighthizer Transcript below video:

Ambassador Lighthizer: It is a pleasure to be here in Quebec. Montreal is one of the great cities of the world, and I have not been back in many years, and I’ve missed it. I used to come here in the 70s and 80s with my wife and children to go to Mont-Tremblant and learn how to ski. We loved the French culture, we loved the excellent food, the wonderful skiing and as I recall, it was cold all the time. That hasn’t changed at least.

I always thought that Quebec has the greatest motto anywhere: “Je me souviens.” It is a perfect comment on history, culture, and even the future. I think it is a perceptive motto for a trade negotiator. Maybe we’ll put it up at USTR – “Je me souviens.” You can see it when you walk in.

Since we are in Canada, let me talk a bit about our bilateral trade relationship. I think there is some misunderstanding here that the United States is somehow being unfair in these negotiations and that is not the case.

Free trade agreements are essentially grants of preferential treatment to other countries in exchange for an approximately equal grant of preferential treatment in their economy. Thus, it is reasonable from time to time to assess whether the bargain has turned out to be equitable.

Using Canadian statistics, Canada sold the United States $298 billion U.S. dollars in goods in 2016, the last numbers that we have. We sold Canada $210 billion dollars in goods. Now that’s a lot of two-way trade, but it also means that Canada has an over $87 billion U.S. dollar surplus with the United States. To put this in perspective, that figure is equal to approximately 5.7 percent of Canada’s GDP. When energy is removed, and in some people’s opinion that’s a fair thing to do, the number is still $46 billion dollars. The projected figures for 2017 show that the surplus will be even larger when those numbers are in.

Now I ask Canadians because we’re in Canada, is it not fair for us to wonder whether this imbalance could in part be caused by the rules of NAFTA? Would Canada not ask this same question if the situation were reversed? So we need to modernize and we need to rebalance.

Now let me turn to the Sixth Negotiating Round and the status of our talks. We believe that some progress was made. We closed one chapter, as Ildefonso [Guajardo] said it was the chapter on corruption, which is a very important chapter, and we made some progress on a few others. More importantly though, we finally began to discuss some of the core issues. So this round was a step forward, but we are progressing very slowly.

We owe it to our citizens, who are operating in a state of uncertainty, to move much faster. Of course, negotiating as a group of three is more difficult than bilateral talks. Often, issues become more complicated and contentious when there are three parties.

I would like to comment on two proposals by the Canadians, one of which has been in the press quite a bit, and that is a presumed compromise on rules of origin.

We find that the automobile rules of origin idea that was presented, when analyzed, may actually lead to less regional content than we have now and fewer jobs in the United States, Canada, and likely Mexico. So this is the opposite of what we are trying to do.

In another proposal, Canada reserved the right to treat the United States and Mexico even worse than other countries if they enter into future agreements. Those other countries may, in fact, even include China, if there is an agreement between China and [Canada]. This proposal, I think if the United States had made it, would be dubbed a “poison pill.” We did not make it, though. Obviously, this is unacceptable to us, and my guess is it is to the Mexican side also.

Finally, I would like to refer, because I think it fits into this context to an unprecedented trade action that Canada brought against the United States very recently. It constitutes a massive attack on all of our trade laws. If it were successful, it would lead to more Chinese imports into the United States and likely fewer Canadian goods being sold in our market.

Now we understand that countries often challenge specific actions taken by another country in the context of trade laws. This is normal and what we expect. But this litigation essentially claims that 24 years ago, the United States effectively gave away its entire trade regime in the Uruguay Round. Of course, we view this case as frivolous, but it does make one wonder if all parties are truly committed to mutually beneficial trade. It also underscores why so many of us are concerned about binding dispute arbitration. What sovereign nation would trust to arbitrators or the flip of a coin their entire defense against unfair trade?

To conclude, some real headway was made here today. The United States views NAFTA as a very important agreement. We are committed to moving forward. I am hopeful progress will accelerate soon. We will work very hard between now and the beginning of the next round, and we hope for major breakthroughs during that period.

We will engage with both Mexico and Canada urgently, and we will go where these negotiations take us. Thank you very much.

(Transcript Link)

Three Deplorables Went to Davos…

In September of 2015 we shared one of the overarching reasons why CTH would support Donald Trump for President. – SEE HERE –  This week, the sentiment behind that reasoning showed up in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum; we could not be more proud.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (Wednesday), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Thursday) and U.S. President Donald Trump (Friday), collectively outlined how our new U.S. trade and economic policy would engage with the world.

Many media voices (narrative engineers) will, and have, continue to obfuscate, spin, and make predictive declarations about U.S. economic policies based on their ideological views of what President Trump could do, should do, or will do.  They will try to convince the  American electorate of POTUS Trump’s forward plans.  Most of what they declare is false.

In case you missed it, and if you want to know what the accurate compass heading is, skip the media and allow yourselves to rely on the direct message as delivered. You’ll avoid a great deal of heartburn.

The MAGA economic policy explanation begins with trade, Wilbur Ross:


The MAGA economic policy explanation is enhanced by finance, Steven Mnuchin:


The America-First economic policy is wrapped up by President Trump (transcript here):


[…] America is roaring back, and now is the time to invest in the future of America. We have dramatically cut taxes to make America competitive. We are eliminating burdensome regulations at a record pace. We are reforming the bureaucracy to make it lean, responsive, and accountable. And we are ensuring our laws are enforced fairly.

We have the best colleges and universities in the world, and we have the best workers in the world. Energy is abundant and affordable. There has never been a better time to come to America.

[…]  In rebuilding America, we are also fully committed to developing our workforce. We are lifting people from dependence to independence, because we know the single best anti-poverty program is a very simple and very beautiful paycheck.

To be successful, it is not enough to invest in our economy. We must invest in our people. When people are forgotten, the world becomes fractured. Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all.

The nation’s greatness is more than the sum of its production. A nation’s greatness is the sum of its citizens: the values, pride, love, devotion, and character of the people who call that nation home.

[…] Each of you has the power to change hearts, transform lives, and shape your countries’ destinies. With this power comes an obligation, however — a duty of loyalty to the people, workers, and customers who have made you who you are.

So together, let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people — to lift their burdens, to raise their hopes, and to empower their dreams; to protect their families, their communities, their histories, and their futures.

That’s what we’re doing in America, and the results are totally unmistakable. It’s why new businesses and investment are flooding in. It’s why our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in so many decades. It’s why America’s future has never been brighter.

Today, I am inviting all of you to become part of this incredible future we are building together.

Thank you to our hosts, thank you to the leaders and innovators in the audience. But most importantly, thank you to all of the hardworking men and women who do their duty each and every day, making this a better world for everyone.

Together, let us send our love and our gratitude to make them, because they really make our countries run. They make our countries great.

Thank you, and God bless you all. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much. (link)

As shared in September of 2015Why do I support Donald Trump

donald trump smirk… because he says: “Make America Great Again”! And when Trump says that I hear:

Someone who gives a damn about America, without apology; which is more valuable to me than a perfected highly-rehearsed skill set of 30 second sound bites and white paper policy instructions.

From my perspective any average hard-working American could eat every one of these pinky ring candidates’ lunches, all of them; and if they want to go down the intellectual superiority path… well, that stuff is useless.

  • Florida Power and Light won the prestigious International Edward Demming award for excellence in multi-platform engineering and efficiency superiority. They didn’t blow every PhD intellectual out of the water with slide rules, CAD programs and engineering acumen. They did it with hard hats and dirty fingernails.

Because they lost the award, the Japanese spent 6 months studying FPL and later published a 1,000 page dissertation essentially saying FPL “wasn’t really good, they were just lucky”….. FPL field leadership laughed, took out markers and wrote on the back of their hard hats: WE’RE NOT GOOD, WE’RE RUCKY….

  • When every single Kuwaiti oil field was blown up by Saddam Hussein, they said it would take 5 years to cap them all off and restart their oil pumping industry. The Kuwaiti’s and Saudi’s called Texans, who had them all capped and back in working order in 10 months.

We are a nation that knows how to get shit done.

  • When the Northern Chile mine workers were trapped two miles underground, they said no-one could save them. Who did they call for help? A bunch of hick miners from USA coal country who went down there, worked on the fly, engineered the rescue equipment on site, and saved everyone of them….

That’s our America.

  • When a half-breed Islamic whack job, armed with an AK-47 and a goal to meet his seven virgins, began opening fire on a train in France, the Americans on board didn’t run to the nearest safe room and hide themselves amid baguettes and brie. They said “let’s go”, and beat the stuffing out of that little nut with a death wish.

Legion d’Honneur or not, that’s us. That’s just how we roll.

Lady Liberty can stroll along the Champs-Elysées with a swagger befitting Mae West because without her arrival they’d be speaking German in the Louvre. Yet for the better part of the past decade a group of intellectual something-or-others have been teaching an insufferable storyline that it’s better to be sitting around a campfire eating sustainable algae cakes and picking parasites off each other.


When I hear Donald Trump say “Let’s Make America Great Again”, I also hear the familiar echo “cowboy up” people.

It’s high time we stop being embarrassed about our exceptional nature, and start being proud of it again. Because when it matters most, when it really counts, when it’s really needed, there’s a whole bunch of people all around this world of ours that are mighty happy when swagger walks in to solve their problems.

Yeah, “let’s make America great again”. Swagger on !


Trump banner 2

NAFTA Round Six Continues – Canada and Mexico Hope To Manipulate Their Way To Round Seven…

Round six of NAFTA renegotiation talks continue today as Canada and Mexico claim cautious optimism that a round seven will take place.  This round of talks is scheduled to continue through Monday and end with a much anticipated a joint press conference between Ildefonso Guajardo (Mex), Chrystia Freeland (Can) and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer.   There were seven rounds initially scheduled.

Canada and Mexico are trying to close less important, and less controversial, trade chapters in an effort to give the illusion of progress and frame a political narrative that lends itself toward continuing to talk; ie. round seven.

However, if there’s no significant progress on the larger issues it’s doubtful Lighthizer will find value in endless words that amount to nothing.

Canada and Mexico have been lobbying U.S. politicians hard to retain their parasitic trade positions.  Additionally, a significant number of Washington DC politicians are willing to take massive bribes from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyists and support the export of American economic jobs and wealth.   This is another key UniParty indulgence issue.

Big Corporate Agriculture (Big AG), the consortium of massive multinational agriculture companies who hold stakes in the entire continent, are pushing hard to keep their “controlled market” dominance in place, and is attempting to stoke fears using false claims about farms and negative trade impacts to farmers.  Pure nonsense.

The three major sticking points remain (there are more, but these are the best known):

1) Rules of Origin; 2) Conflict Resolution; and 3) Sunset Provisions for renegotiation.

  • Rules of Origin – Team U.S.A. wants car North American auto manufacturers to use at least 60% parts from within North America.
  • Team CanaMex wants to use fully assembled auto parts from China and Asia to assemble cars in Mexico and Canada and sell them as American made automobiles.


  • Conflict Resolution.  Team U.S.A. wants an independent panel to deal with trade disputes, comprised of officials in relationship to the size of each economy.
  • Team CanaMex (the parasites) want to be able to override any U.S. objections to their manufacturing outcomes.  They demand equality in voting. The U.S. is the host.


  • Sunset:  Team U.S.A. wants the NAFTA agreement revisited, reviewed and renegotiated if needed, every five years. Some manufacturing sectors entirely change.  [Example e-Commerce didn’t even exist when NAFTA was created, 25 years ago.]
  • Team CanaMex says no way.  Whatever final trade deal is decided, is put upon the U.S. to deal with forever regardless of any changes in any sector.

It’s all smoke and mirrors at this point.  Hopefully, Lighthizer will show up on Monday and simply say ‘enough, we’re done’.

End NAFTA and do bi-lateral trade deals where the size and scale of the U.S. market -our leverage- determines a more favorable outcome for the U.S. against both Canada and Mexico.  Enough with these silly games.

(Via Reuters) […] During the sixth round, Canada raised what it called creative ways of meeting U.S. demands for higher North American content in autos, a sunset clause that would allow one party to quit the treaty after five years, and major changes to existing conflict resolution mechanisms.

“I think we have demonstrated we have engaged on most of the big issues,” Verheul said in his remarks to Reuters. “We’ve made progress on some of the smaller ones, so I think (it was) not a bad week.”

The Mexican official said that Canada’s proposals on rules of origin for autos, the sunset clause and conflict resolution mechanism were “positive, in as much as they are an attempt to move things forward.”

Speaking separately, a second Canadian government source said Ottawa was cautiously optimistic about the round, given that the U.S. side had not summarily rejected the proposals for compromise.  (read more)

Secretary Rex Tillerson Joint Presser With Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz…

When President Trump left the Davos economic forum, Secretary T-Rex traveled to Poland for a bilateral meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.  Many readers are aware how the U.S. and Poland have formed a very strong bond, a very strategic alliance, since the Trump administration took office.

Last year President Trump visited Warsaw to solidify a geopolitical relationship based on common interests and a desire to help Poland push back against Russian leverage based on energy dependence. Poland is a key strategic ally for the Trump administration, and more importantly a trusted ally; arguably more so than the U.K.

T-Rex held a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz. Video:


After the visit to Poland, T-Rex flew to London (there now) for the opening of the new U.S. Embassy.  While in the U.K. T-Rex will be meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss mutual interests and continue trying to determine if the U.K. is a willing trade partner.

The relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. is unfortunately defined by the downward trajectory of British politics. The level of trust between the U.S. and the U.K. is at historic lows.

Great Britain has shifted far to the ideological left in the past several years, and no longer reflects a positive outlook toward national sovereignty. There is no guarantee -despite Brexit- the U.K. has not past the point of no return.

Britannia might well be lost, and it would be a waste of political energy to keep trying to save the U.K. from herself.  Hence the EU Baltic states gain attention and value.

Did Bureau of Economic Analysis Sandbag Report on 4th Qtr U.S. GDP ?….

The U.S. Fourth Quarter GDP growth was reported two days ago at 2.6% and that stunned everyone who were expecting a much higher number. All U.S. economic indicators including U.S. Holiday consumer spending, which accounts for around two-thirds of total GDP, were off the charts in the fourth quarter growing +5.5% over the prior holiday.

The total growth in fourth quarter consumer spending was almost four percent (3.8%), that’s the highest rate of consumer spending in well over two years.  Q4 investment in new housing increased 11.6%, business spending on equipment surged 11.4% and outlays on structures edged up 1.4%.

Before the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) announcement, everyone predicted 4th quarter GDP growth would easily be over 3%, and most likely in the 3.5 to 4.0% range.

So what gives.  Why did the Q4 GDP only grow at 2.6% ?

It seems a little funny to be griping about 2.6% growth because, well, that’s really good, Bigly even; so hopefully those within the Commerce Department don’t take this review personally.  But, c’mon, we expected more…  Well, the answer to the question is actually in the first few paragraphs of their release, and later in the deep weeds of the data.  I’ll explain.

First, the part of the announcement to note carefully:

[…] The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revisionby the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 3). The “second” estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on February 28, 2018.

The “source data for the advance estimate” is another set of separate analytical disclaimers (pdf here) which informs users there are economic data-sets that contain ‘less than‘ three months of information.  To see what data is missing, and what “assumptions” the BEA  recommends, you to travel to a third level of depth (LINK HERE), and then to the key source data and BEA assumptions (excel spreadsheet here).

Don’t try this at home without a pocket protector and guidebook to the fourth level of Dantes inferno. So let me try to make this easy.

You will remember from prior conversations the U.S. GDP is the combined value of all goods and services produced and sold in the U.S. *minus* the value of all imported goods and services.

The value of imported stuff is always subtracted from value of the stuff we generate because the imported stuff doesn’t provide any economic benefit to America.

U.S. GDP is what we produce, minus what we import.  That’s important to understand.

The BEA is essentially saying there were massive amounts of imports in the fourth quarter, but they are unable to determine exactly how much that was.

That makes sense because all records for American on-line sales were broken; and a lot of those purchases were probably Chinese (and Asian, or EU) sellers, selling clothes and stuff into the U.S. as you purchased Christmas presents etc.

The BEA has no way of knowing from top-line sales (financial data) how much of the small stuff (clothes, gadgets, etc.) came from outside the U.S…. to your doorstep…. Well, not yet.

Additionally, all the inventories of similar stuff, from U.S. manufacturers and retail sellers, is now wiped out (ie. “low inventory”), and as such – the value of that inventory is gone. It is now in the bank.  There is no way of knowing how much that domestic inventory was, as part of the overall record-breaking fourth quarter sales.

So the BEA essentially deduced, ie. guessed, that a massive amount of product value needed to be deducted from U.S. GDP growth.

How much did they deduct?

Try 1.96%

Without knowing exactly how much of the overall 4th quarter retail sales were from imported products and services, the BEA went with the biggest number they could estimate.   The analysis is deep in the weeds on Chart #2 Line #50 (pdf here and below).

I cut it out so you can see:

(click to enlarge)

The 4th quarter import deduction to GDP (goods -1.91%, services -.05%) is the biggest deduction EVER, and potentially, heck, likely, massively over-estimated.

Hence their disclaimer:  “The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency.”

Specifically because the BEA made the biggest deduction in their history to the GDP growth rate; and specifically because fourth quarter sales were so historic in scope; we can expect that on February 28th, 2018, when the full rolled-up data is reviewed, there will likely be the biggest revision ever to their 2.6% GDP growth.  Initial estimate too low.

If you just use import history as a guide the actual 4th quarter GDP growth will end up at least a full one percent higher.  That would put the actual result around 3.6% which is exactly the landscape everyone thought it would be.

To answer the question: Did the BEA sandbag the number?  Well, you decide.  I think the evidence is clear they have been far too conservative with the estimate.


Addendum: To slightly defend the BEA from criticism, it should be noted that foreign manufacturers (think Samsung) fully anticipated a tough year for them in the face of President Trump’s policies to level trade imbalances.  There is actual evidence many Asian companies, specifically Samsung and LE, shipped massive amounts of parts into the U.S. in advance of this year.  Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spoke to this at Davos.