Sunday, November 19, 2017


Deplorable whisperer Salena Zito wonders why everyone hasn't heard the awesome news:
Glen Dale, W. Va. — Bad news travels fast. Good news, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to travel at all.

Last weekend in Beijing, as part of his 12-day trip to Asia, President Trump announced that the US and China had signed an $83.7 billion memorandum of understanding to create a number of petrochemical projects in West Virginia over the next 20 years.

If the agreement holds tight, it is an economic game changer for the state.

And yet, speaking to the locals here, you wouldn’t even know it had happened.
Much of the blame, she believes, falls on the mainstream media:
“I am surprised I heard nothing about it on the national news, nor in my local paper and newscasts,” said Jerald Stephens, 67, a West Virginia native and union rep, who has been a keen observer of local politics for as long as he can remember.

The BBC and CNN covered the news in their business sections, while The New York Times picked up a short story by The Associated Press on the deal. The stories’ headlines were muted; their placement low-key....

Stephens finds the lack of coverage telling. “I can guarantee you if anyone not named Trump had made this kind of deal for West Virginia, it would have at least been a panel discussion or two on a cable news channel.”

Once again, the media is missing a story that matters to the American people outside the liberal echo chamber.
I found plenty of stories about this -- and one reason it's not getting massive headlines is that the deal isn't really a deal at all. Here's one response to this and other U.S.-China deals that were announced during Trump's trip, which were valued at a total of $250 billion:
“I am somewhat skeptical of such a large number,” Alex Wolf, senior emerging markets economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum....

“I suspect they might be primarily MOUs (memorandum of understandings) instead of actual contracts and the actual contract amount may be substantially less.”
In fact, a memorandum of understanding is exactly what was signed -- and for West Virginia, nothing is guaranteed:
Governor Jim Justice and state commerce secretary Woody Thrasher held a press conference Monday to outline how the deal came about, but didn’t provide specifics about the memorandum of understanding, or MOU, between Chinese industry leaders and West Virginia government officials.

Thrasher revealed last week that early projects would include two natural gas-fired power plants, likely in Harrison and Brooke counties, with construction potentially starting in the next six to eight months. He and officials from the Shenhua Group, who are part of the state-owned China Energy company, have agreed at this point to not release additional projects or the MOU, which is understood to not be legally binding.

“I don't want to get into the specifics of the projects," said Thrasher. "There's a whole wide series of projects. Can I guarantee you that they're going to spend 83 billion dollars in 20 years? No. But what I can guarantee you is: the governor has directed me to do everything within my power to facilitate these projects going forward.”
So even the governor isn't prepared to say that it will really be an $83 billion deal. And no official will identify the forthcoming projects apart from two that will "potentially" begin this year.

As a Bloomberg story noted,
Without a contractual obligation, there’s no guarantee developments agreed to in an memorandum will get funded and built.

"At the end of the day what really counts is contracts," Jason Feer, head of business intelligence at Poten & Partners Inc. in Houston, said in a phone interview Wednesday. "An MoU is usually an agreement to continue talking."
And this deserves huge front-page headlines, Salena?


UPDATE: A reader emails me:
I am always suspicious of highly political quotes with vague attribution. So my eye was struck by that quote in the Zito item you cited from "Jerald Stephens, 67, a West Virginia native and union rep, who has been a keen observer of local politics for as long as he can remember" ...

Well, here is what is apparently Jerald's Facebook page and surprise surprise he turns out to be a right-wing loon:

As you see, it is replete with over-the-top deification of Trump and damnation of Clinton, along with generous sprinklings of racism and homophobia. Funny how Zito left all that out in her bland description of Jerald.
My correspondent also couldn't find any online evidence of Stephens's union activity or reputation as a political sage. But the Facebook page is a gold mine of wingnuttery, from the avatar...

... to the featured and recent photos...

... to this shared post (of course):

Yeah, just another proud, honorable working man whom we liberals disrespect because we're hate-filled elitists.

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