Trump Tariffs, Facebook and State Fairs

With all the scandals Donald Trump is connected to, none affects us like the tariffs.

Not to get personal, but does it really affect your life to know who an elected official had sex with many years before holding public office? Or how much she charged? Is it important to know if a candidate for President paid someone to dig up dirt in Russia on their opponent?

Why President Trump jumped on the tariff bandwagon is a puzzle because every other president with “political knowledge” was against ‘em (see quote below). Trump has also said he wants zero tariffs worldwide. So are the tariffs on steel, aluminum and other imports a bargaining ploy? He even got the European Union to agree on the idea of no tariffs on automobiles, and to buy our soybeans.

Farmers hope Europe and other countries follow up and buy the excess of whatever they produce. That’s a whole lot easier than figuring a fair way to divide up $12 Billion as kind of a refund from the tariff (a sales tax) our federal government might collect on imports.

Of course that $12 Billion don’t seem so massive when you consider that Facebook dropped $120 Billion in one day. Our farmers have a whole lot less invested in Facebook (if anything) than they do in corn, soybeans and other crops and livestock. All that Facebook has available to sell is ad space on a screen. But with farm products, you get to eat it, wear it, or use it to help fuel your car.

It’s State Fair time in Ohio. A few thousand 4-H youth come to Columbus to compete in various events, including engineering related projects. A lot of photos are being posted on a Facebook page ( And in an ironic twist, Facebook charges us nothing.

Now whether this State Fair, or any other State Fair, can match the “State Fair” movie in 1933, I got my doubts. Blue Boy (a 900 pound hog) was my co-star, the best ham actor in Hollywood.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“We have made [China] keep what we call the ‘Open Door.’ That meant that they wasn’t allowed to charge too much tariff on our stuff coming in.” WA #346, Aug. 11, 1929

“The United States Senate passed the Tariff Bill… Of course Tariff has been to a Politician about what a bone is to a Dog, and a fixed jury is to a Los Angeles Culprit. It’s not only his bread and butter, but it’s his desert and toothpick. Any President with Political knowledge always fights (any) Tariff coming up during his Administration.” WA #380, Apr. 6, 1930

“I lost old Blue Boy… Going to miss him, for I got along with him better than any actor I ever played with. He was just 900 pounds of harmony. Me losing him would be just like Laurel and Hardy splitting.” WA #548, June 25, 1933

Putin, Trump and a different kind of student loan

Trump got himself into a pickle last week with Putin. I missed all the commotion as it was happening because I was at a convention in Dallas with 1400 professional speakers. (To add diversity, we allowed in 47 professional listeners.)

Years ago, Jefferson bought all of Louisiana Territory from France, and Seward, with Lincoln’s blessing, bought Alaska from Russia. But according to recent reports it seems that 98% of the population thinks Putin tricked Trump into selling him the other 49 states. There’s nothing to be concerned about because Congress would never approve such a deal, no matter the price. But the Republican leaders might go along if Putin agrees to only take the new one-third-of-California state that includes San Francisco and Sacramento.

The joint press conference caused the most consternation. Apparently President Trump was bending over backwards to be nice to Putin in public. But like a boy on a first date with a pretty girl, he misspoke a few times and got slapped. Not by Putin; by the media and a whole slew of prominent folks. Trump should have known better; after all he’s had plenty of dates with pretty girls, and he’s lost a bundle on ‘em.

My advice to our President: never hold a joint press conference where most questions will be aimed at causing friction between you and the “bad guy” you are trying to convince to become a “good guy.” Older folks will remember that when Reagan said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,’ he was not in a press conference with the Russian leader.

I read in the newspaper that a college in Vermont is offering an alternative to student loans. Instead, Norwich University will take a percentage of the student’s income after they graduate and get a job.

I suggest that all universities do this. They would have to offer classes that lead to good careers and let go of the others. Professors will teach material to increase the students’ job prospects and income. Why? Because their future salaries depend on future collections from those students. The university V-P in charge of collecting the future payments will be in constant contact with the students, insisting they go to class, study late, and stay sober.

They will emphasize recruiting the best football and basketball players because those students could pay off their “loan” quickly from their multi-million dollar pro contracts.

The Admissions folks will be asking tough questions of prospective students, such as: “What are your goals for the first 5 years after graduating?”

High school senior: “Well, the first year I want to travel Europe, camping out, to find myself. Then work in the movie business.”

“What role in the movies?”

“An usher. I like to sleep till noon.”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “An awful lot of folks are predicting [the President’s] downfall, not only predicting but praying. We are a funny people. We elect our Presidents, be they Republican or Democrat, then go home and start daring ‘em to make good.” DT #2700, April 1, 1935

“The only salvation I can see for the young is to increase the college term to an additional four years. You’ll say, ‘Well, what could they learn in another four years?’ Well, there must be something about making a living that they haven’t learned yet, and they could kind of work on that for the next four years.” Radio, June 2, 1935

Soccer, Supreme Court and a new Lariat (truck )

While our politicians, and all of us interested in politics, are focused on the next pick for the Supreme Court, the world (including us) is praying for those soccer boys in a flooded cave in Thailand. If they all get out in the next few days [they did!!], the world can get back to focusing on the World Cup, especially Europe.

The United States does not care much about soccer, and it’s not because we aren’t any good at it. We don’t like to watch a 1 to 1 game, with both goals scored on fluke plays, then to break the tie (after kicking the ball back and forth for two or three hours) they shoot free throws. No, sorry, free kicks. (Can you imagine basketball ties being decided on free throws?) My solution, supported by two-thirds of Americans who rarely watch pro soccer, is to double the width of the goal. That may not eliminate all ties, but it’ll be a lot more fun to watch a game that ends 22 to 18.

The Supreme Court nominee may be known by the time you get around to reading this. The Democrats don’t care who President Trump picks, they’re agin’ him. Or her. You’ve got to give Democrats credit; they are unanimous, 100 percent against any Justice not selected personally by Hillary Clinton. Now, I hope both sides can settle down a bit, especially Democrats. They need to save back a few slings and arrows in case Justice Ginsburg decides to retire while Trump is President. Of course, she might serve another ten years, but in case she doesn’t, that new Justice might slant the Court even farther toward honoring the Constitution as written, not as he or she wants it to be.

Let’s get off this serious talk… I got a new truck, called a Lariat (seems appropriate, don’t it?). Actually a Ford F-150 Lariat. There was no special consideration for me; not like Will had when Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, personally delivered the first Model A Ford in California. No, I saved for seven years to replace my reliable Ranger.

This pickup is quite a step up. My Ranger had one interior light, and it didn’t work for the last year or so. Pull in the garage at night, turn off the engine and open the door to total darkness. This new truck, when you open the door at night, the truck is lit by 18 lights! Inside and out. Thomas Edison must be celebrating. It has more computers than a Gemini spacecraft. Each seat has its own air conditioner. Press a button and read the pressure in all four tires. No guessing how far you can drive when the gas gauge nears Empty; it tells you down to the last mile. The owner’s manual is 627 pages; may take me 7 years to get through it.

Oh, my talk to those Mensa folks Thursday was fun. You may think they are “eggheads”, but they are common sense folks just like the rest of us, only smarter. Young and old, they all dressed casual. They have a great “Annual Gathering”, about a hundred speakers, and probably two hundred volunteers helping. The conversations before and after my speech were enlightening. I probably learned more than they did.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

          “Of course (Republicans) say, ‘We got where we are as a great nation by this set of laws that we’re living under, so why change them! Let the Constitution alone.’ And that’s mighty good logic. But here’s something they forgot. You or I can rightfully say we got where we are by these laws, but there’s a lot of folks that haven’t got anywhere under ‘em. So they might not be averse to some small change in the Constitution. They might say, ‘Yes, give us what you’ve got, and we’ll say it’s a perfect Constitution, too.’ So it all gets back to just how good has the Constitution been to you.” Radio, June 9, 1935