02.24.14

No longer made in China

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Made in China, Rock 'n' Roll at 10:35 am by George Smith

From USA Today:

Here’s a Stars and Stripes shocker: Prior to Friday, flags bought by the Department of Defense weren’t necessarily 100% American-made.

But going forward, flags purchased by the military must be wholly sourced from the U.S. — and not have any elements from overseas, according to a Department of Defense purchasing rules amendment that went into effect Friday.

While the Department of Defense’s major flag vendors are American companies, the flag material — such as ink and fabric — could have come from foreign markets prior to the change.

“Our men (and) women in uniform should serve under American-made flags,” Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said on his Facebook page last week. He proposed the legislation requiring the flags to be 100% American-made.

“After Thompson posted news of the regulation on his Facebook page, it spurred much debate among users on that site … Some applauded the rule … Others said flag production should be done by the most cost-effective source, even if that meant going outside of the U.S.,” it continues.

“I would like for someone to offer one economically sound reason we should show preference to the more expensive American made American Flags, rather the affordable flags made in other countries,” reads one such comment. “I cannot support this crony capitalism.”

Markets must not be constrained by government order! Liberty! Atlas will shrug!

Whenever you see the slogans and beliefs now it’s always the property of the WhiteManistan boys club, people who deserve a kick in the butt and superciliousness.

China makes American flags more cheaply, the article notes.

In 2003 I sent off a parcel of cheer-you-up-type stuff to an US Air Force friend who was serving in Iraq. In return he sent back an American flag in a box that contained an official notice that said flag had been flown in a combat mission in an A-10.

I was informed the flags were bought and sent out on sorties for just such purposes. The flag, which was made a nylon fabric or something similar, had a made in China identification.

I no longer have it.

I don’t care whether stuff is made in China. It’s all I or lots of Americans can afford.

The piece of minor legislation by a Democrat is very small beer. It makes no difference at all to our collective fortunes. If an American corporation must now have the flags it supplies to the US Dept. of Defense made in America, it will either find a way to still use Chinese-made flags and have them fall under the made-in-America stipulation by having US workers add one little thing before they’re put in boxes or pass the slightly higher price on to the taxpayer.

Big deal.

My Fender telecaster is made-in-China.

It’s part and product of an economy where American corporations have been allowed to prey on the civilian population for decades, pushing pay for work down until all that could be done to keep a semblance of middle class life going was to buy goods made by ever cheaper labor. Nationally, paying people fairly became equated with the source of all evil, government.

Of course, you can have an economy in which people are paid more and the corporations are allowed to do many things, just not cannibalize and liquidate the lives of their domestic workers.

We don’t have it. Some European nations and other more progressive economies, places that aren’t slumped like the US, do.

A telecaster guitar has a simple specification. It can be made anywhere.

A Chinese factory can make them as effectively as the Fender Custom Shop and its alleged Master Builders.

The only reason the “Master Builder” employee description took hold in this country is its convenience as a marketing tool for the artisan work “crafted” for the snob buyer market. In this market the guitar is an investment, to grow in value as it ages.

But electric guitars are by no means scarce goods. They are not precious jem stones, old classic muscle cars, gold, the first Amazing Spider Man comic book or even BitCoin.

Leo Fender would have snorted at the warping in today’s American guitar markets.

“China Toilet Blues” is, amazingly, four years old. Which is when I started doing my “protest” music set to video. It was the first.

At 21 seconds, the commonly seen American flag lapel pin on insincere patriots and politicians. There’s Hugo Chavez, now dead. And who’s the crazy mullah? I don’t remember.

I still have my Mojo Deluxe harmonica but I no longer see the original book it came with and it’s no longer being marketed as new.

The market for weekend retreats in which corporate middle-managers have their leadership and creative skills strengthened by learning to play blues harmonica never blossomed as planned.

The image of a roomful of managers from Kraft Foods or directors from the American Society of Forensic Laboratories learning to “blow their blues away” on Chinese harmonicas during a compulsory leadership get-together is a shattering one. You would be hard-pressed to think up a situation containing less “mojo,” creativity and fun although you might be able to imagine it as a potential TV movie in which special punishments in Hell are meted out to the deserving. — 2008

Of course, you can still buy many harmonicas from China. My favorite package, from a couple years ago, was the Piedmont Blues pack.

The $180 3D-manufactured American super harmonica flopped.

The company, tits up, two years ago:

The only harmonica made in the U.S. was manufactured right here in Rockford. It was a business so unique, many thought it would take-off and create a hundred jobs. Instead, Harrison Harmonicas abruptly closed about a year ago, leaving no employment future and customers without their pre-paid orders or a refund.

Bum-bum-ba-bum-bump!


A blast from the past, February 2010:

Fender Musical Instruments is another example of ‘artisan’ business.

The book on its musical amplifiers entitled The Soul of Tone is an unintentional profile of a company that went from being a middle class employer in California, one making things for the middle class, to a company that sent all its manufacturing overseas, reserving its domestic manufacturing — greatly decreased — to stars and big deal corporate lawyers.

In the context of the book, it’s written of as straightforward smart business. When it was published, three years ago, it seemed that way.

Now it reads poorly. The first part of the book is filled with great amplifiers made in America by guys and gals in Hawaiian shirts.

The end of the book is quite different. It’s filled with oral history from its current designer/artisans explaining how they ship their everyman stuff manufacturing to whatever overseas place is the cheapest.

Coincidentally, all the guys pictured in the front of the book are dead.

This transformation is encapsulated in a quote about one premium domestically made guitar amplifier, the Vibro-King, a $2500 item used by Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend.

“If you’re a rock star or a lawyer who wants a Vibro-King, you’re gonna get one, but the Cyber-Champ (a low end Chinese-made Fender-branded amp) is an example of the relentless march to Asia for manufacturing,” states Shane Nicholas of Fender.

Coincidentally, all economic reports indicate that class hit hardest by the Great Recession has been the low wage earners, those customers targeted by Fender’s cheap goods made in China.

And, of course, the update, a Captain Beefheart-themed version starring Tom Friedman, quoting from one of his columns:

Well, folks, Sputnik just went up again: China is going clean-tech!

What a perfect asshole.

And this week, an odious lecture from someone at Google, passed off as how-to-get-hired advice.

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