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20 years


ool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault. Fool me three, four or five times and it can be correctly assumed that I deserve the corrupt, bribery-riddled government we have, where politicians are given carte blanche to repay the princes of industry and the barons of banking and business for their campaign contributions by allowing them to strip the United States not only of jobs, but the factories that historically created those jobs. And then, adding insult to injury, to have the audacity—after they exported the jobs that made the goods we bought in bygone years—to import the goods made by those jobs today in the third world and slap American brand names on slave labor products made in the third world. And, in an economic coup d'etat, to arrogantly pass them off on US consumers as American products. Frankly, I still can't rationalize the mindset of the American wage earner and consumer—particularly those who used to make the products that are now made elsewhere, and who matter-of-factly buy those products which are now made in China, Indonesia, Europe and in Central and South America. A consumer product made in China is Chinese—not American. Regardless of the brand name sewn on it. A consumer product made in Indonesia is Indonesian. One made in the Philippines is Filipino. And, so on.

Those goods, sitting on the shelves at your local Wal-mart, Target or K-Mart were made with your jobs. In China. Aren't you mad? You should be! Why are you buying them? Because they are cheap? Wrong. They are the most expensive goods in the world. They cost you your livelihood! You might think it's too late. Soon, it will be. Right now, it's not. Stop buying US products made in foreign countries on your dime. If you do, you can still reverse the tide that is stripping the United States of its manhood and making it an impotent dwarf among the human capital-rich nations which have been claimstaked by the overlords of the global economic community as the primary consumers of the merging world.

If every American stops buying those products, the following sequence of events will happen. First, the US retailers who buy those products from overseas vendors will stop buying them. Retailers are in business to make money. That's why they bought that foreign crap in the first place. It looks like the old US products, only a lot cheaper. So, there's a greater profit margin. Businesses love profit margins. But, they have to sell the goods at a profit to make a profit. When the products don't sell, they lose money. When they lose money, they stop buying the products they can't sell. If all the foreign products they buy from overseas vendors stop selling, or sales slow down enough that they can't turn the goods fast enough to make carrying them profitable, they will look for domestic sources to replace the foreign goods. Increased sales of domestic products means increased jobs in domestic companies. It's hard to do, but it's that simple. Trying to get US consumers who love a bargain more than life itself to pass up the foreign-made "bargains" and buy more expensive US goods, however, is not that easy. Because even though every American you talk to about not buying goods made in the third world will agree with you in principle, most of them expect someone else to do the sacrificing even though its our jobs the rest of us are trying to salvage.

In 2007, I wrote an article on entitled "America's Bargain Basement: You Gotta Love Those Trinkets From China." In it, and in several other pieces I've written on the exporting of US jobs, I have consistently advised readers that regardless how much you need the foreign-made products, or how cheap they appear to be, not to buy them.

We live in a society in which the core principle of free enterprise is based on the law of supply and demand. If there is no demand for a particular product, it dies in the marketplace. If goods made in China sit on store shelves and no one buys them, the princes of industry and the barons of business are forced to replace them with goods that are acceptable to the consumer. You may do without some good buys. You may do without products that make your life easier. But remember this: it's much easier to do without those products than it is to do without your livelihood. Because, all things other things aside, you need to have a job to buy. If your job is exported, you won't be able to afford the imported products your former job is now creating.

After reading one or more of the many pieces I've written on NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA and now, KORUS-FTA, a reader wrote to say he had been downsized when his job went through the swinging doors at Brownsville, Texas after the political rhetoric about US job growth through NAFTA morphed into the first phase of the redistribution of wealth of the industrialized nations to the jobs-poor third world. The reader chastised me—whom he labeled the "gainfully employed"—for suggesting that US citizens not buy the cheap goodies their jobs were now producing in China and Indonesia since, he observed, that's all they can afford now. He said, since losing his job, he had to take early retirement and was now on a fixed income far below what he earned before his job was exported.

Free trade, which sounds like free enterprise, is anything but free. Free trade was best described by Mark Twain in an essay entitled "To The Person Sitting in Darkness" when he likened the United States' role in the Philippines to European imperialism. The author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn said: "It is yet another civilized power, with its banner of the Prince of Peace in one hand and its loot-basket and its butcher-knife in the other." (1901). More bluntly, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote on March 28, 1999 that "...the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist." Friedman's was quoted in an op-ed piece by Karen Talbot entitled "Backing Up Globalization with Military Might" that appeared in Issue 68, Fall 1989 of the Covert Action Quarterly. In her article, Talbot quoted then President Bill Clinton who praised NATO for its campaign in Yugoslavia, and for crushing the Serb government which opposed the formation of the European Union. Clinton noted that the globalist alliance could intervene elsewhere in Europe or in Africa to fight what he termed as "repression." Clinton said, "We can do it now. We can do it tomorrow, if it is necessary, somewhere else." I wonder if it occurred to Clinton that the "somewhere else" might be the United States when it resists hemispheric government in the Western Hemisphere?

US workers who pass scores of empty, boarded-up factories as they drive to the unemployment office, or to their new jobs as temps without benefits, or burger baggers at Mickey D's, have flatly repudiated the rhetoric that NAFTA was somehow going to increase jobs in the United States. When it comes to jobs, Americans now subscribe to the "fool me twice" theory. When Phase One of the Free Trade Area of the Americas [FTAA], more commonly known as NAFTA, was legislatively enacted rather than ratified as a Treaty (because Clinton could not get the necessary 67 votes in the Senate to ratify NAFTA as a treaty). Clinton could only muster 61 votes, with 38 nays and one abstaining. Backing NAFTA in 1993 were 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats. Yet, the Democrats took the full brunt of the jobs drain in 1994 and lost control of both Houses of Congress for over a decade. The American people need to understand that NAFTA is not a treaty. NAFTA is a law as far as the American people are concerned. In the world at large, NAFTA is a treaty by international law.

The same is true of the Central America Free Trade Agreement that was promoted by the Organization of American States. In the United States it is statutory law. Throughout the world, CAFTA is a hemispheric treaty. Since no Senators in the GOP-controlled upper chamber wanted their names on the public record as ratifying what everyone now understood would be a jobs drain treaty it, too, was enacted as law and not a treaty. With scores of empty factories to testify to the effect of NAFTA on America, everyone from the labor unions to environmental groups to community action groups to the voters themselves opposed CAFTA. Yet, that did not stop President George W. Bush and the leaders of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua from signing it in May, 2004. On Aug. 5, 2004 the Dominican Republic signed on with a separate agreement sometimes called DR-CAFTA. CAFTA did not come up for a Senate vote until June 30, 2005—seven months after the Election of 2004. Had Bush-43 pushed CAFTA through Congress when he signed the agreement with five Central American presidents, he would likely have been a one-term president. Social progressive Sen. John F. Kerry would have become the 44th President of the United States. And, Barack Hussein Obama would still be a US Senator with questionable citizenship credentials.

Again, the US Senate could not muster the votes it needed to ratify CAFTA. In fact, this time around, it barely eked out enough votes to enact it as law. The vote was 54 to 45. (Sen. Joe Lieberman was absent and did not vote. In an unusual move, the Senate recast the vote on July 28 so Lieberman could cast his vote in favor of CAFTA. That incident clearly shows that Lieberman, like every other politician in Washington, is more afraid of the princes of industry and barons of banking and business than they are the voters. After dodging the bullet by missing the vote, Lieberman put himself on the record as favoring a measure opposed by the American people.) In a midnight vote, the House voted on CAFTA on July 27, 2005. It passed—but only because the House broke its own procedural rules by holding the vote open for an hour and forty-five minutes longer than the fifteen minutes it normally allows for votes to be cast. The measure passed by a vote of 217 to 215 with two members not voting.

However, because CAFTA and NAFTA are laws and not treaties (which supersede national law) CAFTA and NAFTA have never been fully implemented since many of their provisions violate domestic law. Those laws would have to be amended or repealed before the US Code complies with the Free Trade Agreements. And, that's not likely to happen.

It's important to understand precisely what NAFTA and CAFTA do. We're told they are "free trade agreements" that will expand the free enterprise system throughout the western hemisphere and help spread democracy through the Banana Republics in Central America. Thoughtful rhetoric. Then, almost as an afterthought, the spinmeisters of Utopia add that by eliminating all of the trade barriers over the next decade, the markets in those countries will open to American products—made in the United States by the US labor force. After 18 years of NAFTA we know that's a lie because the only job-producing things the United States is exporting through NAFTA are factories. And all of the jobs created by those "exports" are being generated in the countries where the former US factories are now churning out US-branded products.

Thus, both trade agreements protect the interests of the princes of industry and the barons of banking and business who lost billions of dollars at the end of World War II when they attempted to harness the human capital in the third world colonies of Europe in Africa and Southeast Asia. Not only did both free trade agreements protect big corporate interests in the emerging nations, it guaranteed that the cheap goods made by American corporations in the third world could return to the United States, sans tariff, as US branded products for premium sale to US consumers.

Former Democratic Congressman from Illinois and now Judge Abner Mikva of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, who served on the NAFTA panel in 1998 said, on the record, that "...[i]f Congress had any idea what they were voting on back then, they would never have passed NAFTA." Once again, Congress voted on a bill they never read. They voted on it because the special interest groups that fill their campaign war chests with money told them the princes of industry needed their vote on this one. When CAFTA reared its ugly head in 2004 and 2005, members of House and Senate knew from NAFTA that this was not only a job-killer for the American worker, it was a job-killer for the American politician. Members of the House of Representatives should have flatly refused to even entertain as legislation a Treaty they knew would further devastate the economy of the United States. Fifteen House Democrats who survived NAFTA, voted for CAFTA. One of them was Rep. Gregory W. Meeks [D-NY] who has campaigned eight times as New York's champion of economic justice for New York workers. Also voting for CAFTA was scandal-ridden Rep. Charlie Rangel, the black archangel of Harlem. Both men campaign as the protector of African-American rights. Both voted for CAFTA. Both share the blame for massive job losses in New York City and the New York metropolitan region. Joining Meeks and Rangel was 15-term New York Congressman, Edolphus Towns who made floor speeches denouncing CAFTA, but who cast the deciding vote for its passage.

But like NAFTA, it was free trade Republicans in the House, who should have denounced running an international treaty through the House as statutory law, who enacted it in a photo finish vote. After Rep. Robert Aderholt [R-AL] lobbied the White House to include provisions in CAFTA that would protect Alabama's sock industry, he became the 217th vote for passage. Aderholt's constituents were left wondering why their congressman did not fight for them, but they reelected him anyway. It was pretty much the same with Rep. Robin Hayes [R-NC] not fighting to protect North Carolina's textile industry. Hayes managed to eke out a 50% win in 2006, but was defeated by Larry Kissell in 2008. Another North Carolina congressman, Charles Taylor was very outspoken in his opposition to CAFTA which would complete the erosion of the North Carolina's textile industry. When it came time to vote, Taylor was not in town. North Carolina voters remembered him during the midterm elections and replaced him with a Democrat, Heath Schuler.

A State away where the apparel industry used to boom, Rep. Bob Inglis [R-SC] and J. Gresham Barrett [R-SC] turned their backs on struggling textile and apparel industry workers in South Carolina's 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts and backed CAFTA. Constituents were outraged that their voice in Washington spoke with a forked tongue. But, when it came to voting for them or a liberal Democrat in 2006, they chose the lesser of two evils. But, South Carolinians have long memories. When the right Tea Party conservative runs against them, both incumbents will fall.

The most misinformed congressman in Congress, Rep. Steven Latourette [R-OH], flipped at the last minute and voted for CAFTA because, he said, Ohio's plywood industry buys most of its plywood from Central America. Only, plywood from Central America has been duty-free for decades. Where Democrats don't mind putting thieves into office, Ohio Republicans apparently favor hiring the handicapped—stupid, uninformed people. A Bill O'Reilly "Talking Points Memo" questioned whether Latourette was too stupid to remain in Congress. Apparently not. His constituents in the 14th Congressional District reelected him.

Remember the election battle in Pennsylvania during the midterm Election of 2006 when "conservative" first term Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick [R-PA] lost to leftwing military veteran Patrick Murphy? The media attributed Murphy's win to Sen. John Kerry [D-MA] and Rep. John Murtha [D-PA] campaigning for him. Fitzpatrick lost because he voted against the will of his constituents on CAFTA. They fired him.

In Mormon-rich Utah, the State's three GOP Congressmen—Chris Cannon, Jim Matheson and Robert Bishop joined establishment Republicans backing Bush-43. Once again, by not reading the 1,000 pages of boring international law that coupled CAFTA to NAFTA and NAFTA to CAFTA, Cannon, Matheson and Bishop helped undo a Mormon law in Utah that banned legalized gambling anywhere in the State. Among CAFTA's non-trade provisions is the right of foreign casinos to provide Internet gambling to customers in the United States. The law also provides foreign gamblers the right to use the United Nations and World Bank tribunals to demand payment of US taxpayer funds if the new CAFTA rules are not respected—regardless of existing or contradictory US law.

CAFTA requires the United States to modify their national laws to comply with CAFTA's investment laws. In 2003 a World Trade Organization tribunal outlawed Utah's anti-gambling law. In doing so, it pledged to enforce its edict on the State of Utah by opening the door to millions of dollars in fines and penalties against any State with anti-gambling regulations. The World Trade Organization's judgment came from actions filed by Antigua which claimed that the United States was preventing it from offering US citizens access to Internet gambling. Antigua also challenged Utah's ban on gambling. By not addressing Antigua's challenge of Utah's ban, the WTO left it vulnerable to future challenges.

Remember President George W. Bush's 700 mile fence between the United States and Mexico? He signed it into law on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006 as he campaigned for GOP candidates in Michigan and Iowa. As he signed the legislation authorizing the construction of the fence, he said: "Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and, therefore, illegal immigration has been on the rise. We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take that responsibility seriously." In his speech that accompanied the signing of the legislation to build the fence, Bush pledged to step up enforcement. It never happened. Why? Because on Feb. 6, 2001a NAFTA international tribunal ordered the United States to open all US roads to Mexican trucks. The tribunal ruling referred to NAFTA as a "binding treaty" between Mexico and the United States even though, in the United States, NAFTA is not a treaty. It is in Mexico. And, it is in Canada. But the US Senate, which speaks for the States, said it is not. But, according to Emer de Vattel's The Law of the Nations, once a treaty is signed by the leaders of the nations involved, it becomes a binding, nonbreakable, agreement between all signatory nations.

Mexico now insists that their citizens have a legal right to enter the United States at will, and to legally take up residency even though the United States has never issued them a visa to entre the country, and views them as unlawful aliens. Why would Mexico think that? Because Mexico read the laws and treaties they helped craft before they signed them. Unlike Nancy Pelosi who told House members to "..hurry up and vote on the healthcare bill so we can find out what's in it..." Carlos Salinas, the former President of Mexico whose administration who was a signatory of NAFTA, knew what the 535 members of the US Congress did not know. He knew what was in the document her ceremonially signed on Dec. 17, 1992. While George H.W. Bush signed it, the task of running it up the American flagpole and saluting it was left to Bill Clinton since Big Labor was opposed to NAFTA and the Democrats would not vote for it.

The American people have every reason to expect their government to seal their national borders and protect them from the job losses that will always occur when whole industries are unceremoniously exported to third world countries where cheap labor abounds, and where the princes of industry who own those factories are guaranteed that the doorway that allows the exportation of their factories also guarantees them the right to import the goods made in those exported factories back to the United States without tariffs or other trade sanctions.

While NAFTA originated in the diplomatic workshop of George HW Bush, the Free Trade Area of the Americas originated on Bill Clinton's watch with the first meeting taking place during the Summit of the Americas in Miami, Florida on Dec. 11, 1994.

With NAFTA still a bitter taste in the mouth of America, the media downplayed the agenda of the Summit of the Americas. FTAA did not find its way into the public arena until Free Trade Area of the Americas legislation failed during the Quebec City Summit of the Americas in Canada in 2001. The prospects of NAFTA expanding to the entire Western Hemisphere was greeted with massive anti-corporation and anti-globalization protests.

In 2003, the Bush-43 Administration agreed to try it again in Miami. The FTAA Summit was greeted with the same protest that greeted it in Canada. This time, organized Big Labor steered the protest. In November, 2005, the summit was moved to Mar del Plata, Argentina. Once again, no agreements were reached. Twenty-six of the 34 nations in attendance agreed to meet again the following year but the summit never materialized because the first topic the United States wanted settled was a comprehensive agreement to reduce and/or eliminate all tariffs and trade restrictions on American goods. Since that was a sticking point no other nation wanted, their interest in pursuing a dialogue with Bush-43 was moot.

As America staggers under a massive trade debt and a runaway social progressive Congress that thinks as long as they have blank checks left in the nation's check book they can continue to write checks—even though the checkbook has a negative balance, the Obama Administration announced on Friday, Dec. 3 that US and South Korean trade representatives had agreed to a free-trade deal that the administration said would increase American exports to South Korea by billions of dollars. In a statement on Friday evening, Barack Obama said: "Today's agreement is an integral part of my Administration's efforts to open foreign markets to US goods and services, create jobs for American workers, farmers and businesses, and," he added, "achieve our goal of doubling of US exports over five years."

The rhetoric sounds nice, doesn't it? But, does it match the reality of today's cheap labor world? Once again, understand who benefits from free-trade deals. It's never the American worker—particularly America's union workers. It is the princes of industry, and the barons of banking and business. The workers are the human chattel or, combined with the working class consumers who not only build the consumer products of the world but buy them as well, they are the human capital that guarantees the wealth of the rich.

There is no doubt that the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement [KOREUS-FTA] will add what is purported to be about $10 billion annually in US exports to South Korea—and add thousands of new jobs to those US manufacturers. The question which remains unanswered is: where will those jobs be located? Will the jobs find their way to the United States where labor costs, and vendor prices, are two to three times what they are in Asia? Or, in the United States where the Pacific Ocean separates the seller from the buyer? Or, will those transnational princes of industry who wave the red, white and blue only when they need to snooker the voter, opt to use the cheap human capital resources they now own in the third world, particularly in China, that can compete with Korean manufacturers? I'll let you answer that one without any further prompting.

What it boils down to is this: when you hear the phrase, Free Trade Agreement remember one thing: they are bridges to no where. They are designed to give the overlords of Utopia control over the nation states of the world for the profit of the princes of industry and the barons of banking and business. Tell every member of the House and Senate...NO MORE! And let them know that any Congressional representative or Senator who votes in favor of anymore bridges to no where will be on one.




Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
All rights reserved