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Protectionism Is Sound Economics

Posted by libhom Friday, March 10, 2006 2 comments

Every nation that has expanded its economy since the industrial revolution has done so using protectionism. This is especially true of the US and Japan in the past and equally applies to China's present situation, which is booming due to protectionist practices.

Corporate interests despise protectionism because it interferes with their efforts to pit workers in different countries against each other, lowering wages and benefits for all workers in the process.

Here in the US, thoughtful observers realize that living standards for the overwhelming majority of Americans continued to improve as long as our country practiced protectionism.

Ever since our government started to abandon protectionism in the 60s and 70s, living standards for all but the wealthy few have gone down. This is hardly surprising because replacing protectionism had its intended effect, making it easier for corporations to export jobs, lower wages, cut benefits, attack unions, ravage the environment, and reduce worker and consumer safety.

The term "free trade" is a misnomer. A more accurate term would be "corporate-controlled trade." Corporate-controlled trade limits the freedom of workers, environmentalists, and consumers to participate in a democratic society and to have any say over their lives.

Support for corporate-controlled trade might be rational for extremely wealthy people who think they can shield themselves from the instability caused by the poverty, debt, war, and desperation that corporate-controlled trade generates. For everyone else, support of corporate-controlled trade is absolutely foolish. Trade barriers protect the vast majority of people on both sides of borders. Unfortunately, those people do not own media outlets and cannot afford major donations to economics departments at universities.

David Broder's column on the Dubai ports deal includes a common mistake in the media, attributing some of the opposition to the deal to “nativism.”

However, nativism is based on resentment against immigrants and a notion that people who arrived in this country first are somehow better than the people who got here later.

This really has nothing to do with the opposition to the ports deal. One might be able to claim that some of the opposition to the deal is based on religious, ethnic, or racial prejudice, but nativism is unrelated to the very nature of the controversy, which has nothing to do with immigration.

However, there also are plenty of legitimate reasons to be opposed to the ports deal which have nothing to do with prejudice.

The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, has been very friendly to terrorists, despite the claims to the contrary by the Bush regime.


  • The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban's government, which included most of Afghanistan. The others, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have been quite friendly to terrorist causes as well.


  • Two of the 911 hijackers were from the UAE.


  • Terrorist financiers, among other financial criminals, commonly operate out of Dubai and the rest of the UAE.


  • The UAE's royal family vacationed with Osama bin Laden and maintained friendly ties to Al Queda, at least until the 911 attacks. When President Clinton asked them to leave the vacation area so that the US could bomb bin Laden, the UAE royal family refused. The UAE claims that the ties have been cut, but we are expected to rely on their word in the matter.

Then, there also is the problem of the growing fanaticism among Muslims. The literally insane reaction by many Muslims to a few cartoons in a Danish newspaper raises a perfectly legitimate question:

How do we keep a bunch of those nutcases from becoming employees of the company that would be running US ports?

It is true that many Muslims reject the lunacy, but ports are so vital to our national security that we cannot have significant numbers of people working in our ports with the same mentality as the terrorists who have made bomb threats, staged and participated in riots, launched military operations against embassies, and shot a man working in Russia merely for being from Denmark.

It would be highly irrational and irresponsible for anyone to suggest that we should compromise the security of our ports under these circumstances. But, that is hardly the only problem with the ports deal. It is in our economic interest to ban foreign ownership of our ports and to restrict foreign ownership of other resources and enterprises. With foreign ownership, the profits of these enterprises are exported abroad, hurting our economy. Level-headed analysis of our economic well-being should overshadow right-wing economic ideology just as level-headed analysis of our security interests should overshadow the ideology of corporate-controlled trade.

Unintentional Humor in Iraq Coverage

Posted by libhom Wednesday, March 01, 2006 0 comments

One current talking point in the corporate media's coverage of the situation in Iraq talks about Iraq supposedly being near civil war.

Report finds Iraq teetering toward civil war (U.S. News and World Report)

Civil War Looms With 66 Killed in Baghdad (ABC)

More attacks take Iraq to brink of Sunni, Shiite holy civil war (The Tennessean)

Similar headlines and statements have claimed that Iraq is on the verge of chaos. Of course, in the real world, rather than GOP/corporate Spinland, a civil war has been going on in Iraq ever since the Bush regime's invasion. The Bush regime's bungling has forced our troops to fight on the side of Iranian-aligned Shi'ite religious extremists, who are doing more than their share of killing as well.

The situation has been one of worsening chaos since the occupation began, bringing a firestorm of undeterred looting. Even before the Shi'ite mosque was blown up, Iraq was so dangerous that most reporters remaining in Iraq are under orders from their employers to stay in or near their hotels. Electricity is a fleeting thing. In addition to the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians being killed by the Bush regime, countless others are being slaughtered by other Iraqis.

Finding humor in the absurd, even surreal, headlines may be gallows humor, but one cannot help but laugh at how hard the corporate media tries to manipulate the gullible.

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