By Bob Chapman
NAFTA is an economic failure for both Mexicans and Americans. It has caused a massive exodus across our borders. In 1995, there were 2.5 million illegal aliens in the US. Today there are more than 20 million. NAFTA was sold as a program for inexpensive imports and for higher wages and living conditions for Mexicans. The subsidy structure that was the foundation for Mexican farming was ended and two million Mexican formers were economically driven off their land. The Maquiladoras on the border boomed due to low wages. In 1994, Mexican wages were 23% of US wages, today they are 12%. The official Mexican poverty rate rose from 45.6% in 1994 to 50.3% in 2000. And, that was before competition from China began to shutter the Maquiladoras and reduce Mexican wages even more.
NAFTA established a system that increased investment opportunities for elitist, transnational conglomerates and diminished the rights, income and living standards, both in Mexico and the US. As long as free trade, globalization and NAFTA exist, both American and Mexican workers will remain desperate and anger will grow, which could lead to very unpleasant consequences. If we want to stop illegal immigration and solve the problem of illegal immigrants already in the US, NAFTA has to be cancelled. Then we can deal with the 20 million people who are illegally in our country.
America has been and is still being bamboozled by terrorist propaganda and it’s not going to stop. It is a battle for the minds of the people and they are oblivious to it. They are being manipulated and their Xenophobe, fears, hatreds are being and will continue to be exploited. The corporatists have hijacked our country and our people. This is a massive exercise in psychological warfare. Fifty percent of our citizens are confused and off track as a result of television brainwashing. We have a manufactured enemy in terrorism and Osama bin Laden. Terrorism and fear are being used to control a goodly portion of our population. The creation of the unseen supernatural evildoers are being used to brainwash America - the constant theme of good versus evil, sensationalized and fantasized and, of course, with a happy ending. That is, everyone in the world is forced to accept the Bush-neocon version of democracy, the villains die, the good guys win and we live happily ever after.
The propagandists have created the new threat Muslim extremism. We are told they are all terrorists and extremists. Enemies are needed for the military industrial complex to reap their profits. Thus, the faux conflict will last as long as the elitists want it too. We are descending into an Orwellian nightmare and entering a New Dark Age. The signs abound and they are unmistakable. If it wasn’t terrorism, al Qaeda, Muslims, etc., other enemies would be created. Trotsky called it perpetual revolution. It’s a price we do not want to pay, but do we have any choice? Our culture has been distorted and degraded, and we are not only invaders, but also torturers, occupiers and murderers, as we destroy history and the culture of ancient civilizations. Absolute and utter madness. You ask, is there still room for decent people in such a world? Of course there is. Civilization has not changed, its predictable, because man keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.
You probably won’t read about this elsewhere, but the Bush-neocon Social Security plan was tucked into the latest budget proposal. This is the defeated plan for private accounts to start in 2010. George did not mention this in his State of the Union Address. Not only does he want 4% of wages in voluntary private accounts, but he wants SS calculated via progressive indexing. The higher income benefits would be tied to inflation. The lower wage people would stay just ahead of inflation and higher-paid workers would pay substantially more into the system. This is a social-justice concept of socialist-fascist origin. The program got nowhere before and will fair little better this time around.
Our President has come up with another real beauty. He wants to end the seniors’ food program and switch it to food stamps. The food is distributed to 500,000 poor and elderly people. It has a mix of foods, such as cereal, peanut butter, fruit, vegetables and pasta. This is one of 141 initiatives that his proposed new budget would scrap. The problem is the elderly are reluctant to sign up for food stamps. It’s a cultural thing from back in the 1930s to 1960s. As a matter of course they won’t sign up for government welfare, but yes, they’ll take packages of food.
The move by Mr. Bush is another example of misplaced priorities. How do you justify something like this, while at the same time giving the rich 97% of the recent tax cuts? This is cutting budget costs on the backs of the needy. It just isn’t fair. The program costs $107 million a year. They know that only 28% of seniors will apply for the new program. This is a poor group of people who have to choose between paying a utility bill, prescription drugs or whether they’ll eat. The seniors in their 70s, 80s and 90s can’t stand the stigma in accepting food stamps.
It is the beginning of payback time. The number 1 target of the United Steelworkers of America are gunning to defeat Rep. Henry Cuellar because he is one of 15 Democrats who broke ranks and voted for CAFTA. The entire AFL-CIO is involved in this race. In the primary, which is essentially a final because there is no Republican candidate, Cuellar runs against Ciro Rodriquez who was nominally defeated by Cuellar in the last election and Victor Morales. Cuellar still says his CAFTA vote made sense.
Every Congressman who caved-in on the Patriot Act should be thrown out of office. One of the most troubling aspects of the Patriot Act is the gag order, which prohibits anyone holding financial medical and other private records of ordinary Americans from saying anything when the government issues a subpoena for those records. That means that a person whose records are being taken, and whose privacy is being invaded, has no way to know about the subpoena and no way to challenge it. The compromise also fails to address another problem with Section 15: it lets the government go on fishing expeditions, spying on Americans with no connection to terrorism or foreign powers. The Act should require the government, in order to get a subpoena, to show that there is a connection between the information it is seeking and a terrorist or a spy.
One of the most publicized objections to the Patriot Act is the fact that it allows the government to issue national security letters, an extremely broad investigative took, to libraries, forcing them to turnover their patrons’ Internet records.
V. P. Dick Cheney has made it quite plain that he believes in the principle of absolute executive power. He had admitted that he came into the Vice Presidency, fully committed to the imposition of rule-by-decree government. His personal view expressed a number of times that it is our obligation and responsibility to make sure our President has Constitutional powers unimpaired in terms of the conduct of national security. This view is shocking, but it is there for all to see. This is the way our Executive Branch is run, just like it was in Germany between 1933 and 1945. He believes what has to be done has to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if they are to be successful. This is the dark side, the side that has convinced Congress to surrender dictatorial power to the White House, including the authority to spy on American citizens without the legally mandated court orders. The theory is you use any means necessary even if it breaks our laws. White House attorneys have repeatedly claimed that any law or act of Congress, which infringes on the “inherent authority” of the President as Commander in Chief to conduct war, is unconstitutional. It is the President, and the President alone, who decides what is necessary to defend the nation. The contention is that in times of crisis, legal norms are suspended, and the President, both is and creates the law. This theory was grounded during the 1930s in Germany. The state of exception present in times of war allows legal norms and notions, such as separation of powers, and constitutionally guaranteed checks and balances no longer apply.
This is what is known as unitary executive theory, which favors an extraordinarily powerful president. The President as presented under this dogma has as much right, perhaps even more than the Supreme Court, to interpret the Constitution and the President should have no interference from Congress. That means the President is entitled, indeed obligated, to disregard any laws as unconstitutional. This doctrine has been applied to military and national security matters in an unprecedented manner, even to the chagrin of some of its proponents.
While their 9/11 attacks were the pretext, the Times noted that the strategy was shaped by long-standing agendas, of expanding Presidential power and downgrading international treaty commitments that had zero to do with fighting terrorism.
Homeland Security completed its “Cyber Storm” war game to test how our government would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers. There are indications that the Bush administration deems bloggers well within the reach of any definition of terrorist, if for no other reason than the crime of dissent and criticism. There are also indicators that relevant parties would be somewhat prepared to assist in the nabbing or kidnapping of terrorist bloggers.
The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and emails to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity. As well, the CIA is funding federal research into surveillance of Internet chat rooms as part of an effort to identify possible terrorists. Already Internet providers have assisted foreign countries in jailing bloggers for substantive content posted on their blogs.
Microsoft and Yahoo have turned Chinese into the Chinese government and the victims went to jail for a long time. Indymedia was subject of a secret, international terrorism investigation in which the US government seized its hard drives. A Texas Internet company turned over hard drives pursuant to a court order under an international treaty governing crimes of terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering.
The CIA now has its own bloggers and a government website that are part of a revised CIA office for monitoring, translating and analyzing publicly available information in the flight against terrorism. Of course, George and the neocons refused to turn over control of the Internet to an international body, preferring to maintain unilateral control over the Internet.
There is no question in our mind that George and the neocons are encircling and once the propaganda has created the perception bloggers are a danger to national security, they’ll make their move to capture and imprison us. We ask is the American public dumb enough and sheep-like enough to believe them? In time we’ll know. We can assure you we will be among the first pursued.
A federal appeals court said it would review a lower-court decision that ruled the government was not entitled to see telephone records of two reporters who talked with confidential sources after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The challenge to the government was by the NY Times whose attorney said, “Telephone records are the extension of the journalist herself. “They are the embodiment of the speech of the journalist and require the same protection.” This case is in relation to Judith Miller and the Plame affair.
It is obvious that the neocons want to strip anyone in media of their constitutional protections.