Made In America (Just Not Yet)
Making money for the Little Princess in Ethiopia. AP photo.
To take our wee minds off all that silly fake news on Russia, our Glorious Leader has declared another theme week - think middle school - akin to earlier, somewhat forgettable ones like Infrastructure Week and Really I Didn't Do Any of Those Things Week. This one is notable for its deranged hypocrisy: "Made in America Week" offers a Monday showcase featuring products from all 50 states, and a presidential declaration Wednesday on the importance of American manufacturing. "For too long our government has forgotten the American worker," the Drumpf team blathered on the subject. "Under the leadership of (The Big Cheeto), not only will the American worker never be forgotten, but they will be championed."
R-i-g-h-t, jeered pretty much everyone with a brain, who knows that despite Drumpf's bad joke of an inauguration pledge that, "We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American," he and his full-of-shit family continue to rake in millions on tons of clothes, shoes, hats, household items, beauty products, construction materials et al outsourced to low-wage sweatshops in China, Mexico, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia and other hardscrabble countries. Ivanka, that wide-eyed Princess of Complicity, is especially busy: One investigation found that from election day through February, her business brought in almost daily shipments of over 53 tons of stuff, including 23 tons of shoes, from China and elsewhere with maybe a nudge from the crassly hawking Kelly Anne Conway - an impeachable offense, sure, but look at the profits!
The announcement of the shiny new week was met with, umm, some skepticism on social media. "Irony weeps," notes one tweeter, adding that this administration "has her working overtime," like Ivanka's Chinese workers. Others noted that not even Trump's kids, "opposition research," or election were made here, wondered, "Does that mean they're sending Melania home?" and noted, "That's all good, but why do all of the pillow cases he puts on display have two eye-holes cut out of them?" A visit by The Daily Beast to Trump's D.C. hotel gift shop found it packed with Trump-adorned, overpriced gimcracks from China and Bangladesh ($32 golf hat), Vietnam ($80 pullover), Peru ($35 kid's t-shirt) and - really not that far from here! - Canada ($15 body butter).
The massive hypocrisy has an ugly, sometimes life-threatening component. A Washington Post investigation into Ivanka's so-called fashion line found that much of it's made in slavery-like conditions in China, Indonesia and Bangladesh, where workers toil not just in unsafe factories but for one of the world's lowest wages - and that some of the work in China is now being moved to Ethiopia, where wages are even lower. “We are the ultra-poor,” said Kalpona Akter, a Bangladeshi labor organizer and former garment worker from the age of 12. “We are making you beautiful, but we are starving.” On Monday, a White House spokesman was asked if Trump would use the "Made in America” week to urge Ivanka to halt those abuses and start making her blood-sucking products in America, like, you know, the slogan says. Her response: "We'll get back to you on that.”
Making America great again in Peru. Photo from The Daily Beast
Dormitory night life at the factory. Getty image.