In The Marketplace: Why 'American Made' Matters (part 1 of 5)

Editor’s note: This article was written by Colin Balfe, Director of The Marketplace by TheBlaze, and is part of a series of articles highlighting businesses in TheBlaze’s eCommerce channel.

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In this series, we’ll introduce home-grown American shops that recently joined The Marketplace by TheBlaze, a small business marketplace focused on remarkable people, extraordinary small businesses and exceptional products.

In addition to high quality items, The Marketplace looks for quality people -- entrepreneurs who are living their own version of the American dream. Each of these shops are U.S.-owned and operated, with products made in America for Americans. These are people who have built their small businesses with hard work and integrity, with a goal of improving the nation. By refusing to outsource, they drive our nation’s economy by creating jobs, paying taxes, giving to charities and keeping the American spirit alive.

1. Georgia Chair

A lot of things change in 100 years, but since 1914, Georgia Chair has been family owned and operated with a commitment to American-made quality and excellent service. At Georgia Chair, faith in God and family tradition are infused into their products, allowing them to transform fine-grained oak heartwood into the most beautiful, solid oak furniture on the market. Using a manufacturing process that blends old fashioned, hand crafted methods of wood working with modern industrial techniques, every piece of solid oak furniture is crafted with heirloom quality. All of the wood Georgia Chair uses grows within 300 miles of the company headquarters to ensure top quality while staying rooted in American greatness.

2. Meco Grills

Meco Grills has been producing American-made grills since barbecue grilling became an American tradition. Since their beginning in 1969, Meco has continuously manufactured grills from their factory in East Tennessee while standing for “Honesty, Integrity, and Fun” as a family-owned business. Whether you’re shopping for an electric smokercharcoal combo water smokerelectric table top, or the swinger, you’ll find an American owned and oriented family business steeped in barbecuing lore from the very beginning. As the originator of the classic square charcoal grill—almost a necessity in American homes—Meco is now one of the very few remaining USA manufacturers of barbecue grills. Having always believed in “made-in-America” as the only sustainable strategy to uplift the lives of all Americans, they don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

3. Patriot Outlet

Patriot Outlet began when an uncertain economy made one family want to become more self-sufficient. They decided to sell a variety of high quality, American-made outdoor equipment to supply hard working, self-reliant people like themselves. When asked for his business philosophy, Patriot Outlet’s founder, Gregory Sprading says, “I think the Christian principles of freedom, self-reliance, hard work, and determination are the real drivers behind our business.” In a society that is continuing down the path of entitlements, Patriot Outlet enables its employees to make ends meet for their families, while at the same time, promoting the values of work and self-reliance to customers through its products and messaging.

4.  Minuteman Watches

The owner of Minuteman Watches, Thomas Carey, has a soft spot for active and former military, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS professionals and other civic duty servicemen and women. His father, who is the CFO, is a disabled Vietnam veteran. When Thomas decided to launch his own watch brand, it was only natural that it would be a US focused brand with a military flavor. Like the Minutemen who responded to the call of freedom during the American Revolution, Minuteman Watches represent the same passion, sacrifice and pride that gave birth to our nation. With the Minuteman logo proudly displayed on each watch, Minuteman Watches are designed to remind us of our nation’s beginnings and the liberties we enjoy. A company inspired by the veterans it employs, Minuteman Watches are designed, assembled and tested in the U.S. and 25% of profits go to charities to support America’s veterans.

As you can see, The Marketplace is made up of amazing small businesses. But more importantly, we’re made up of extraordinary people. Generations of family businesses, husband and wife teams and veterans all tirelessly working to earn your trust. Thank you for supporting them and proving how important small business is in America. If you're interested in discovering more made in America products, visit the made in America page in The Marketplace.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

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Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?

These days, when Americans decide to be outraged about something, we really go all out.

This week's outrage is, of course, the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration along the southern border. Specifically, people are upset over the part of the policy that separates children from their parents when the parents get arrested.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

Lost in all the outrage is that the President is being proactive about border security and is simply enforcing the law. Yes, we need to figure out a less clumsy, more compassionate way of enforcing the law, but children are not being flung into dungeons and fed maggots as the media would have you believe.

But having calm, reasonable debates about these things isn't the way it's done anymore. You have to make strong, sweeping announcements so the world knows how righteous your indignation is.

That's why yesterday, the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut declared they are withholding or recalling their National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border until this policy of separating children from their parents is rescinded.

Adding to the media stunt nature of this entire "crisis," it turns out this defiant announcement from these five governors is mostly symbolic. Because two months ago, when President Trump called for 4,000 additional National Guard troops to help patrol the border, large numbers of troops were not requested from those five states. In fact, no troops were requested at all from Rhode Island. But that didn't stop Rhode Island's Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, from announcing she would refuse to send troops if she were asked. She called the family separation policy, "immoral, unjust and un-American."

There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York all used the word "inhumane" in their statements condemning the Trump administration policy. There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

In a totally unrelated coincidence, four of these five governors are running for re-election this year.

I've made my position clear — separating these children from their parents is a bad policy and we need to stop. We need to treat these immigrants with the kind of compassion we'd want for our own children. And I said the same thing in 2014 when no one cared about the border crisis.

If consistency could replace even just a sliver of the outrage in America, we would all be a lot better off.

I think we can all agree, both on the Left and the Right, that children who have been caught up in illegal immigration is an awful situation. But apparently what no one can agree on is when it matters to them. This past weekend, it suddenly — and even a little magically — began to matter to the Left. Seemingly out of nowhere, they all collectively realized this was a problem and all rushed to blame the Trump administration.

RELATED: These 3 things need to happen before we can fix our border problem

Here's Rachel Maddow yesterday:

I seem to remember getting mocked by the Left for showing emotion on TV, but I'll give her a pass here. This is an emotional situation. But this is what I can't give her a pass on: where the heck was this outrage and emotion back in 2014? Because the same situation going on today — that stuff Maddow and the rest of the Left have only just now woken up to — was going on back in July 2014! And it was arguably worse back then.

I practically begged and pleaded for people to wake up to what was going on. We had to shed light on how our immigration system was being manipulated by people breaking our laws, and they were using kids as pawns to get it done. But unlike the gusto the Left is using now to report this story, let's take a look at what Rachel Maddow thought was more important back in 2014.

On July 1, 2014, Maddow opened her show with a riveting monologue on how President Obama was hosting a World Cup viewing party. That's hard-hitting stuff right there.

On July 2, 2014, Maddow actually acknowledged kids were at the border, but she referenced Health and Human Services only briefly and completely rushed through what was actually happening to these kids. She made a vague statement about a "policy" stating where kids were being taken after their arrival. She also blamed Congress for not acting.

See any difference in reporting there from today? That "policy" she referenced has suddenly become Trump's "new" policy, and it isn't Congress's fault… it's all on the President.

She goes on throughout the week.

On July 7, 2014, her top story was something on the Koch brothers. Immigration was only briefly mentioned at the end of the show. This trend continued all the way through the week. I went to the border on July 19. Did she cover it? Nope. In fact, she didn't mention kids at the border for the rest of the month. NOT AT ALL.

Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not?

Make up your minds. Is this an important issue or not? Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not? Do you even care to fix it, or is this what it looks like — just another phony, addicted-to-outrage political stunt?

UPDATE: Here's how this discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Glenn gives Rachel Maddow the benefit of the doubt

Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on her MSNBC show over border crisis.

Progressives think the Obamas are a gift to the world. But their gift is apparently more of the metaphorical kind. It doesn't extend to helpful, tangible things like saving taxpayers money. Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation upgrades around the planned site of the Obama Presidential Center. The catch is that Illinois taxpayers will have to cover $200 million of that cost. For a presidential museum.

Eight years of multiplying the national debt wasn't enough for Barack Obama. Old fleecing habits die hard. What's another $200 million here and there, especially for something as important as an Obama tribute center?

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That's all well and good except Illinois can't even fund its pension system. The state has a $137 billion funding shortfall. That means every person in Illinois owes $11,000 for pensions, and there is no plan to fix the mess. Unless Illinois progressives have discovered a new kind of math, this doesn't really add up. You can't fund pensions, but you're going to figure out a way to milk the public for another $200 million to help cover the cost of a library?

It's hard to imagine who in their right mind would think this will be money well spent. Well, except for maybe Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who said, "The state's… investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent."

Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

The spending has already been signed into law, even though the Obama library has not received construction approval yet. Part of the holdup is that the proposed site is on public land in historic Jackson Park. That doesn't seem very progressive of the Obamas, but, you know, for certain presidents, you go above and beyond. It's just what you do. Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

Here's the thing about taxing the peasants so the king can build a fancy monument to himself – it's wrong. And completely unnecessary. The Obamas have the richest friends on the planet who could fund this project in their sleep. If the world simply must have a tricked-out Obama museum, then let private citizens take out their wallets voluntarily.

As the Mercury Museum proved this weekend, it is possible to build an exhibit with amazing artifacts that attracts a ton of visitors – and it cost taxpayers approximately zero dollars.