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A matter of survival

Published: Sun, May 17, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

A matter of survival


The recent letter from a Youngstown woman concerning the recent ENOUGH rally in Warren and how she feels threatened because she owns a Honda Accord certainly deserves a response.

Although I have been employed by General Motors for over 3 decades, my opinions on this subject are based more on being a lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley than an autoworker.

Ever since Honda opened their plants in Marysville, Ohio, I’ve heard the same tired argument that the cars they assemble are in fact American cars because they are made in Ohio. My first thought is, why would someone want to help the Marysville economy instead of our area economy by purchasing an Accord instead of a Cobalt? Another salient point is, where do the profits from purchasing a foreign car end up — Detroit or Tokyo?

Does the letter writer have any idea how much money GM and all the workers associated with GM pump into the area economy, not just in taxes and purchasing power but charities also? If the Lordstown complex ever closed, the economic tsunami that would bury the Mahoning Valley would be horrific. But I guess some people would find solace in the fact that the Marysville economy will be humming along.

The Honda owner writes she wants to feel safe in her auto and worries it could be vandalized by people like those who attended the Warren rally. She must have visions of angry autoworkers wielding torches and pitchforks rampaging through the mall parking lots like a scene from an old Frankenstein movie searching for the foreign car monster.

She can relax. Autoworkers are much more intelligent than some people believe they are. They will show their power with money not menacing. A business owner in the area that caters to the public and owns a foreign car or uses foreign vehicles in their business should prepare themselves for fewer autoworkers both active and retired walking in their door. We indeed have had enough and just as someone enjoys the freedom to buy a foreign vehicle in they so desire, we enjoy the freedom where to spend our hard earned paychecks and pensions. Rest assured, we will. It’s not personal, it’s business. The business of survival.




1gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

We own four cars. They are all foreign vehicles.
They are better made, need less maintenance, never recalled and do not BREAK down.
The ONLY "vehicles" we own that are "American Made" are Harley Davidson Motorcyles.
We do not feel the least concern over spending our money, wherever we choose to, or driving a "foreign vehicle".

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2valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago


When the Big 3 build better cars, then maybe this wouldn't be an issue.

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3AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

There is nothing to get OVER.Just as consumers enjoy the freedom to buy foreign vehicles,autoworkers enjoy the freedom to spend their money where they desire.Why should they buy a pizza from or shop at a store where the owner drives foreign, contributing to their job loss.Now that`s CAPITALISM at it`s finest.The Big 3 are building better cars,even Consumer Reports,which traditionally loves foreign products will attest to that.

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4JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Correction on where the profits go:
Honda built a plant 15 miles from the Marysville location (in East Liberty) entirely from profits from it's Marysville plant. Another plant was built and opened last year in Indiana.
Can you really say that GM is doing the same?
GM is investing it's small profits in other countries - have you heard the recent news abouth building cars in China and importing into the U.S.?

Another questions about supporting the local GM plant. Are all of the GM Lorstown employees driving a Cobalt? Why not, you expect the residents to support the local plant.

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5valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

FYI: In 2009 Consumer Reports said, “The best vehicles are built by Honda, Subaru, and Toyota. They make well-rounded cars that excel across the board, getting very good scores in our road tests and high marks in reliability from subscribers in our Annual Auto Survey.”

Really looks like GM and the Big Three are faring well in the unbiased Consumer Reports.

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6JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

How intelligent are those who feel they need to seek out the advice of a magazine prior to making a buying decision? Also, everyone has an agenda and there is no such thing as unbiased.

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7AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Why does it matter if every worker at Lordstown drives a Cobalt?(many do) Does everyone that works at Wal-Mart only shop there? I never wrote that Consumer Reports said the Big 3 built the best cars but better cars than in the past.Also see J.D.Power for more info on that.I wonder where the information on Honda profits came from? Could it be, Honda? I`m sure they would say they sunk all their profits back into the USA,whether it`s true or not is the question.

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8rmzrez(134 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I can not believe how many of you people hate GM and America so much that you would drive a Foreign company car that has so much blood stain on it . How do you ever wash it off or our a proud of it ??? Do you have a support our troops sign on it. OR have you forgotten Pearl Harbor , the Buttan Death March . and more???? WE WILL NEVER FOR FORGET. B.S. !!!!! OH look we we can save a little money.

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9valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

O here we go with the typical union-held response. Let's say those that buy foreign cars HATE America. That is could not be further from the truth! If you close-minded people want to believe that, then go right ahead.

We live in a capitalist nation and we can purchase whatever we want. If we want to spend our money WISELY on a QUALITY product, then by all means we will do just that!

I drive a Honda that has been around for a decade and has 0 issues with it. It still runs like it came off the Marysville, OH Assembly Line. Why would I change car makers now???

This is not even a Republican/Democrat issue. I know many Democrats, even of the far left variety, that proudly drive Honda's and Toyota's. Don't believe me, get a hold of me and I'll put you in contact with them.

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10epicfail(217 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Anytime I hear a variant of the line, "You hate America because..." used I roll my eyes in disgust. That's one thing. However suggesting a connection between Toyota and the Bataan Death March... C'mon! Tune into sanity FM there chief!

During World War II...
- GM manufactured for both sides during the war.
- VW was started by the nazis to sell Beetles.
- IBM helped provide the actual logistics used to commit the holocaust

GM is just another greedy multinational corporation. Next time you think GM or any other company cares about any of us drive out to Flint, Michigan or Gary, Indiana. Or better yet, look out your own window.

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11AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I keep reading the word capitalist on here,that`s what the autoworkers are that won`t spend their hard earned capital at businesses that have foreign cars.This isn`t about GM,it`s about the workers who are the lifeblood of this valley.Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.Buy foreign and suffer a loss on your bottom line.What`s the problem? God,I love this country

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12rmzrez(134 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago


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13JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Axel, to answer your questions with a question, which auto companies are building manufacturing plants in the U.S., and which are closing them? It is obvious were the profits are going, and it’s obvious that GM is not keeping profits in Detroit, or the U.S. I worked at Honda-Marysville and saw where the money goes. Spend some time in central Ohio and you will see how much Honda gives back to the community.

The letter writer suggests that the lady buy a Cobalt instead of an Accord, which would keep the money in the Valley instead of Marysville. If that is your logic, then shouldn’t GM Lordstown workers buy/drive Cobalts?

This is a Union vs. non-Union issue, not a U.S. vs. foreign car issue. Those are blue-collar Americans building Accords in Marysville, along with all of the suppliers that support it - isn’t that what the Unions are always crying about, protecting the middle class jobs? Apparently the Unions are only concerned about themselves, and not the middle class workers. If the UAW could organize in Honda, Toyota, etc., there wouldn’t be any issues.

I don't think there is hate towards GM. People just want a better vehicle and take exception when the GM people whine about not buy there auto's.

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14JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Forgot to add, the Democrats are another group that say they are fighting for the working class, but want to bash the companies that are providing those jobs - Honda, Toyota, etc.

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15valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Unions served their purpose years ago and they need to move on. The economy of the 21st century does not need unions, hence the reason the liberals want to pass the employee free-choice act to try to bring unions back.

Unions are dead.
All they do is protect their lazy workers.
UAW is overpaid.

Enough said.

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16AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Actually unions are not dead.In fact after the EFCA becomes law,we will see how many workers want to join without the usual threats from their employers.A majority of workers polled say they would join a union today if they had a level playing field which now is tilted entirely against them.History will repeat itself.Unions were born during the economic strife of the 30`s and they will be reborn again.How much should UAW workers be paid? I think it`s amazing that a shift at Lordstown produces 500 quality cars a day when all the workers are so lazy.How does this happen? Is it magic? Or maybe some people just don`t know anything about the topic they are writing about.Maybe we need a program where all the people that constantly bash the workers at Lordstown are able to go and work an 8 hr shift so they can see just how lazy the workers are.Probably won`t be many takers.Would be like Sean Hannity volunteering to be waterboarded for charity.Still waiting for that to happen too

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17JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Card Check is dead - even the democrats see that nonsense. If people really wanted to join unions, don't you think the secret ballot would show it? The threats and coercion come from Unions forcing workers to sign the cards, or the fraud of fake signatures.

Look at all of the good that the democrats and Unions have done for this area.

Back to the U.S. vs. Foreign owned topic, Anheuser-Busch is now owned by a foreign company, does that mean people should stop buying Budweiser Beer?

Buy American doesn't just apply to auto's.

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18valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

EFCA Passing.. The odds of that happening are about as good as the GOP taking back the House and Senate in 2010..

The Dems got a super-majority and 60 seat filibuster proof Senate. If they can't pass EFCA now----> THEY NEVER WILL.

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19JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago


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20TylerDurden4Unions(3 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

If "Union" is such a dirty word and UAW workers are all lazy and overpaid, are we going to lump teachers, nurses, newspaper writers, steelworkers, carpenters, bricklayers and any of the other number of our union brothers and sisters into the same category? You may argue that 'they've got an education and deserve their pay (i.e. teachers, nurses),' but that's not to say there aren't college-educated UAW members. Sometimes the benefits of being a proud UAW member outweigh the parallel career that our degrees can support.

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21henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I have put 125,000 miles on my 2005 Toyota Corolla since August,2005 and not 1 breakdown. Oil changes, tires and brakes are it. If I could be reasonably assured of doing that with a Cobalt, I would own 1, but I can't be.

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22AtownParent(564 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

You never tried. I have had owned 5 cars in my life and they were all GM cars except one that was a Ford. The only major repairs I had to do on any of them was on the Ford. All of my vehicles have been driven on city and highway roads, taken trips up and down the east coast, and have done this under and over 100,000 miles, all with no problem (except for that Ford).

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23valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

GM lost hundreds of thousands of potential buyers when their cars from the past few decades were notorious for breaking down or having other issues with them. These consumers went to Toyota and Honda and most of them have been satisfied.

The only way GM will get them back is if Toyota and Honda slack on the quality front, which we all know will never happen.

I love my Honda.

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24AtownParent(564 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Good for you valleyred. I hope where ever you work you do not rely on GM workers to keep your business afloat.

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25AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Just as I assumed, the elite anti-union,autoworker bashers writing here didn`t answer my question of how lazy workers manage to build 500 quality vehicles per shift at Lordstown on a daily basis.Shocker.....Here are some facts for them to ponder as they dine on their caviar and weiners this holiday weekend.Every job at the Big 3 supports 9 other jobs in the U.S. Between the yrs.1980-2005 for every dollar invested in the U.S. by automakers all the foreign companies totaled 14 cents while the Big 3 invested 86 cents.GM employs almost as many Americans as all the foreign automakers combined.As far as the comments that EFCA will never happen.... Weren`t they saying the same thing about the chances of a black man being elected President last year at this time? Hmmm

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26mgood0730(7 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago


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27Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

"If the Lordstown complex ever closed, the economic tsunami that would bury the Mahoning Valley would be horrific"

It would make black tuesday one of the good old days. There is nothing that would even remotely replace GM Lordstown in the volume of money brought into the Valley. The malls in the area would all wither away from lack of money for their goods.

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28valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Honda and Toyota really put it to the Chevy brand in April '09...

Link: http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page...

-PS: I think GM builds great trucks, but everything else they build is just 2nd rate in my eyes. I'd buy a truck from them or Ford or Dodge before I'd ever drive a Honda or Toyota truck..... WHY? Because they are QUALITY trucks.

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29Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago



GM Racing Ecotec Engine designed to take down import racers

The new turbo Ecotec was definitely responsive: GM Racing set idle at 1800 rpm, and if you punched it quick, the unloaded engine would blow completely through the 10K rev-limiter in less than a tenth of a second. The team expected an Ecotec-powered drag car to launch at 8000 rpm and run all the way through the gears in the quarter mile, so they cared mainly about the 5-10K rpm range. In this range, GM Racing wanted the turbocharger to achieve any specified level of "full boost" nearly 100-percent of the time.

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30AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Gee,it`s been 3 days now and still no answer to my inquiry from the autoworker bashing elites concerning how it`s possible for lazy union workers to build 500 quality cars per shift at Lordstown.Come on,there has to be a finance major or MBA out there that can answer that question,because if there isn`t then I guess all the comments from those who posted on here calling the workers lazy and overpaid are only so much drivel.Sort of like Sarah Palin attempting to talk sensibly.You betcha.

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31gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

AXEL69: We do not believe the workers at Lordstown are "lazy union workers".
However, it is a matter of opinion, if the 500 cars built per shift are "quality cars".
We have worked in both Union and Non-Union jobs, as well as serving in the military.
We live in THE USA, pay TAXES and fight for our country. That gives US the right to buy and drive any car we choose. Our 1977- Porsche 911 & 1979-Mazda RX-7, not only look like they just came off the "LINE"; they run like it as well.
So do the Toyotas and BMWs.
Do the people working at Lordstown ever vacation out of the country? Are their Electronics, clothing, etc., ALL made in "The Valley" or even the USA?
Do they eat at Ethnic places?
Just some food for thought.

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32Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Just for the record,I own and drive what I choose to and I have chosen GM. Fuel fillups, regular oil changes, filters,wiper blades,spark plugs and tires are the requirements for GM to offer so much for so little. GM is an excellent value with quality that is "BUILT RIGHT HERE IN THE VALLEY" !

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33gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

ANOTHER QUESTION: Do you all ask in an Emergency situation, what kind of car the first responders, trauma team and ER Nurses/Doctors drive? OR do you just want US to help you and hopefully, SAVE your life?
I highly DOUBT it. People that are in a crisis situation really do not care WHAT WE drive.
WOW!!! Think about it.

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34Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

How about a Chinese vehicle gypsygirl720 ? Nancy in DC has been taking people for a ride in hers .


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35gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

What do you mean by a Chinese vehicle and who is Nancy in DC? Maybe you are referring to a "Rickshaw"...?
I do respect your decision to drive a GM vehicle,
by the way, what year and model is it? If it's that great I may consider it.
hope4thevalley: There is NO HATE what-so-ever.
Nor, do I have to dig deep to justify ANY decisions, I make. Remember, SOME of us fought to make this a FREE COUNTRY.
Today IS Memorial Day.
Have ANY of you even thought of visiting a Veteran's Hospital, let alone DONE it?
They really do not care what kind of car ANY of us drive.

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36gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

hope4thevalley: There is NO WIN. I am not the Best or the Smartest.
I am sorry for the loss of five members in your family that died for America. You have NO reason, what-so-ever, to feel ashamed about questioning my loyalty. I appreciate your 19 years of service.
Thank you.
I sincerely hope that you are well. I certainly did NOT mean to disrespect you. I never said that I {or my family} did so much more, than you did or your family.
I do not HATE anyone; might not always agree, but HATE?...NO.
~~~Semper Fi.

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37AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually Gypsy there is a post on here calling autoworkers lazy and overpaid.It`s sort of the last refuge of a scoundrel to go there because they can`t think of anything intelligent to write.I guess you don`t agree with the lazy part but why imply that the Lordstown cars are not quality built? Have you ever been at the end of the line to see any drive off? Or are you just assuming they are junk. You have every right to drive Toyota or Honda or whatever but the workers at L-Town have every right not to spend their money where they don`t feel they are supported.I believe that was the point of the Vindy letter on May 17th

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38gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

STAN: Finally figured out which "Nancy in DC", you were talking about. Tend to agree with you on that one. Thanks.

~~~AXEL69: Actually see your point, as well.
The "WORKERS" at Lordstown are not the ones that are overpaid and lazy or getting huge bonuses.
Do the "Scoundrels" posting as such, realize the testing procedures/requirements a person has to go through to even be considered for a postion?
Perhaps, they couldn't pass and are jealous.
As for "Quality Built", the line workers are the quality behind the finished product; but they have to follow the blue-prints from GM, I believe. It's not the workers fault when ANY car manufacturer will not stand behind a product.
You are also correct on the point of Mr. O'Hara's rebuttal letter to the woman that drove a Honda and was afraid. I think some of us digressed from the original issue. Thanks for the insight.

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39kecocona(6 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

~~~AXEL69: As for "Quality Built", the line workers are the quality behind the finished product; but they have to follow the blue-prints from GM, I believe. It's not the workers fault when ANY car manufacturer will not stand behind a product.

Absolutely true. It is amazing that GM nearly 70 years later still has not recovered from snubbing W. Edward Demings quality principles (which were widely accepted in Japan after WWII). Decades of building bad vehicles while Honda/Toyota were in continuous quality improvement cycles have proved disastrous for U.S. automakers.

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40Realist(62 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

I work with unions everyday of my life and this is typical union propaganda - "Buy GM or the Valley will die". You say that unions do not threaten or intimidate but what type of comment is this. You are using scare tactics. Bottom line is that if GM built a better more reliable car, we would not be having this discussion right now.

I have owned 4 cars in my life and 3 of them were made by GM (1 of those was from Lordstown) and the other was a VW Jetta. The VW Jetta was the best built car out of them all and was only in the shop for a timing belt replacement at 120,000 miles. Not only were the repairs few and far between but the car drove so much better then any of my GM vehicles.

I recently purchased a G6 with all the bells and whistles and I absolutely hate it. It has been in the shop 4 times (seperate issues) in 8 months and one problem is still not fixed. I wish I would have spent the extra $3,000 and bought another VW.

Now go ahead and place your guilt trip on me with your "I hate America" defense but in America you have the freedom to do anything you want with your money as long as it is not illegal.

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41Ken(153 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

We own three carrs---2002 Buick, 2004 Impala and a 2001 Honda Accord. I have 118,000 miles on the Accord and the only major repair was the timing belt. Everything else is normal maintenance---oil changes, tires and brakes. The Buick had 62,000 miles on it and the Impala 55,000. Both the Buick and Impala have had MAJOR repairs---electric window motors, window bracket, mirror fell off, inside door panel came loose, trunk release problem, air conditioner needed a major repair, brake pad problem,and on and on. In fact, the total dollars spent on repairs would almost buy another new HONDA ACCORD! Will not buy a GM car again!

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42Skipper(2 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Have been reading this for a while, don't often write but I have to share my thoughts. America only works when Americans are working. As a retiree, it sickens me to see how our goverment gives away our money, we literally have no control other than the election booth. WE HAVE POWER IN THIS MATTER Stop buying cars that are not one of the big 3, We already lost our steel, glass, rubber, clothing and electronics. Don't you remember when buying a product from Japan was junk?
How about China with the LEAD ON THEIR TOYS,

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43Skipper(2 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Hey Skyone, not talking about German Cars ie: VW, BMW, Mercedes. Germany is a fair trade country, they beleive in unions and don't subsidize their product as do Nissan, Toyota, Kia, and Hyundi. Maybe you don't know you can't buy one of the American Cars in these countries without paying a rediculous tax. Did you also know that Kia and Hundai are a COMUNIST COMPANIES. I can't ever forget PEARL HARBOOR, don't want to. America needs to stop worrying about all other countries other than USA. Stop the foreign aid, did you know that in Korea we still have a air base, our soldiers are spit on, beat and sometimes killed when they leave that base. I repeat to keep AMERICA STRONG, WE NEED TO BUY AMERICAN.

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