Sirota on Perot, Hillary and NAFTA, Was Ross Perot Right?
And so without further ado, let’s answer the question Clinton ducked: Was Ross Perot right?
In 1993, the Clinton White House and an army of corporate lobbyists were selling NAFTA as a way to aid Mexican and American workers. Perot, on the other hand, was predicting that because the deal included no basic labor standards, it would preserve a huge “wage differential between the United States and Mexico” that would result in “the giant sucking sound” of American jobs heading south of the border. Corporations, he said, would “close the factories in the U.S. [and] move the factories to Mexico [to] take advantage of the cheap labor.”
The historical record is clear. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reports, “Real wages for most Mexicans today are lower than when NAFTA took effect.” Post-NAFTA, companies looking to exploit those low wages relocated factories to Mexico. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the net effect of NAFTA was the elimination of 1 million American jobs.
Score one for Perot.
What about immigration? In 1993, the Clinton administration pitched NAFTA as “the best hope for reducing illegal immigration.” Perot, by contrast, said that after NAFTA depressed Mexican wages, many Mexicans “out of economic necessity” would “consider illegally immigrating into the U.S.”
“In short,” he wrote, “NAFTA has the potential to increase illegal immigration, not decrease it.”
Again, the historical record tells the story. As NAFTA helped drive millions of Mexicans into poverty, The New York Times reports that “Mexican migration to the United States has risen to 500,000 a year from less than 400,000 in the early 1990s, before NAFTA,” with a huge chunk of that increase coming from illegal immigration.
Score another one for Perot.
Clinton may continue to laugh at Perot and plead amnesia when asked about trade policy. And sure, she and her fellow Democrats in Washington can expand NAFTA and ignore the public’s desire for reform. But these politicians shouldn’t be surprised if that one other Perot prediction comes true again â€” the one accurately predicting that Democrats would lose the next national election if they sold America out and passed NAFTA.
Foreshadowing that historic Democratic loss in 1994, he warned, “We’ll remember in November.”
Yes, indeed, Ross. America probably will.
The AAS Editorial Board thinks Chris Bell’s lawsuit has merit and eviscerates Perry and the RGA, No ducking truth behind Perryâ€™s gift.
Now the governor is saying that concealing Bob Perryâ€™s name was an oversight, a clerical error. And the Republican Governors Association is saying it isnâ€™t a political committee, so it didnâ€™t have to disclose the donors. Sorry, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, itâ€™s a duck.
This year-old episode not only quacks, it stinks. And Travis County Attorney David Escamilla is reviewing the circumstances of the two $500,000 contributions dumped into Perryâ€™s treasury in the final two weeks of the campaign.
Texas GOP and corporations still go together like white on rice, and Rep. John Carter (R-Exxon-Mobil) is number 5 on the list ($31,000 so far), Texas’ top corporations stay loyal to GOP.
Bucking a national trend, Texas-based corporations have remained loyal to Republican congressional candidates in the 2008 campaign.
And finally Waco Tribune columnist John Young, Sociallzed medicine saved my life; yours, too?
I had no idea at the time that I was being a pawn in a plot to undermine our American way of life.
I had no idea that I was being fed socialism in a sugar cube.
I thought the sugar cube contained serum to thwart polio. Little did I know. I was in third grade. How could I?
Yes, we all lined up on that day and took the polio vaccine in those little cubes. Then we hopped and skipped off to class, and never had to worry about a killer that had crippled hundreds of thousands.
Socialized medicine, it was.
You see, everyone in my class got the sugar cube. That included people, like me, whose families could afford inoculations, and others in my class who couldnâ€™t. They got one, too. I didnâ€™t realize it then, but that was wrong, wrong, wrong.
No one has a right to be inoculated against polio. No one has the right to health care.
Just the highlights, they’re all great reads.
It’s nice to see some recognition from the traditional media for blogging with Netroots Nation coming to Austin in July. Here’s the article, Texas bloggers reap the fruit of their new political clout.
The decidedly liberal Texas blogosphere, once content with its role as outsider critic, is finally putting its money where its mouse is.
Earlier this year, bloggers formed a loose coalition, the Texas Progressive Alliance, and soon began raising money for Democratic candidates through the state’s first blogger-created political action committee, TexBlog PAC.
But the biggest coup of all is the recent announcement that the daddy of all blogger meet-ups â€“ Netroots Nation â€“ is bringing its third annual conference to Austin.
It shows that the Texas blogosphere has arrived, members say. And they’re confident their groundbreaking activism in Texas and efforts to raise the national profiles of their favored candidates â€“ such as Democrat Rick Noriega, who is trying to unseat GOP Sen. John Cornyn â€“ have begun to pay off.
“What started as just a way for Democrats to vent in a Republican-controlled state has turned into a way for us to organize,” said Matt Glazer, 25, the editor in chief of the Burnt Orange Report and a director of the TexBlog PAC, which has raised more than $10,000. “We’re learning how to be more than just an echo chamber. We’re really getting out there and informing people.”
The decision of Netroots organizers to bring an estimated 2,100 bloggers to Austin was not simply a response to the hip culture and cheap hotels that are attractive to the young, not-always-gainfully-employed blogger set.
Organizers said they also chose Austin to highlight races such as the Cornyn-Noriega contest and as a nod to the increasingly vibrant progressive blogosphere in this notable red state.
It was, in fact, the recognition of a new era in Texas politics: the metamorphosis of online commentators from a sea of disorganized, anti-establishment voices raging to each other into a cohesive community that could affect elections in a real way.
“Texas is pretty amazing when it comes to people getting organized and trying to create the change they want,” said Gina Cooper, executive director of Netroots Nation 2008, formerly known as the YearlyKos convention. “It reflects a bigger trend, but they also seem a little ahead of the curve.”
Rick Noriega’s race will be a center piece of the convention next year. While the GOP is trying to make inroads into the blogosphere it’s doubtful they’ll ever have the same presence as Democrats and Progressives do because they already have so much with the likes of Fox News and talk radio. The “wing-nuts” don’t need to read blogs. There’s much more in the article including quotes from Karl-Thomas Musselman and Charlie from Pink Dome.
It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round Up, compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.
Dealing with recalled toys that contain lead is putting a damper on charities’ holiday toy drive efforts. Muse discovers some charities are not accepting toys or are throwing donations away.
Despite the Dallas Morning News article claiming the Texas Railroad Commission is stepping up Barnett Shale inspections, an injection well in N. TX remains seriously out of compliance. TXsharon has pictures, history and solutions at Bluedaze.
Who wont be President in 2009? John Coby at Bay Area Houston compiles an obvious list of Who wont be President in 2009 Any Republican candidate. The Republican party must have worked overtime to find this bunch of losers for President. White. Old. Dull.
McBlogger takes a brief look at the concerns of a Republican Bexar County Commissioner who doesn’t realize the Republican Party of Texas is already known as the Tolling Party of Texas.
North Texas Liberal reports on President Bush’s loss of an ally in staunch conservative PM John Howard of Australia, whose Liberal Party lost handily to the Labor opposition in Saturday’s elections.
The Texas Cloverleaf visited Capitol Annex for Thanksgiving with a guest blog about Turkey, Football, and JFK. Oh my!
Off the Kuff looks at mass transit versus highways for dealing with traffic congestion.
Vince at Capitol Annex reprises his holiday tradition begun last year by reprising his Laws of Thanksgiving–with a 2007 update.
In “Giving Thanks for the Corporations”, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has a few choice words from David Van Os, Jeff Cohen, and John Edwards.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson notices the conspicuous absence of Rep. Mike Krusee since a rumor surfaced that he may be retiring in Where’s Krusee?
CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme notes Lyndon Johnson was right, but demographics are having the last laugh.
The insanity of the WCCC. They obviously put in a dress code when they instituted their new rules. It was vague, and probably not legal, but they did it anyway. And Judge Gattis admits they didn’t know how to do what they wanted to do so they just did something. No matter the legality.
Via RRL, Flip-flopping on flip flops?
According to section 4D of the new rules: “Proper attire for all persons is mandatory. Specifically, appropriate dress entails attire suitable for professional or business engagements. Those members of the public who are inappropriately attired and/or will not conduct themselves in an orderly and appropriate manner will be asked to leave the meeting. Refusal to abide by the court’s order and/or continued disruption of the meeting may result in a contempt of court citation.”
So what is appropriate or inappropriate attire?
Commissioners say they are not really sure.
Court critics – such as former Georgetown Mayor Mary Ellen Kersch – say the new policy is a bad idea; stating it would never stand up to a legal challenge.
Commissioners Court sessions are public meetings and members of the public can attend them dressed as they see fit, Kersch said.
When questioned this week, Gattis and Birkman each acknowledged how people come dressed to commissioners court has not been a problem in the past.
“We don’t what short shots and flip flops but how do you write that (intothe rules)?” Gattis wondered. “We ought to live through three or four meetings and come back and revisit it.”
They’re just going to leave this likely illegal dress code rule in place for a little while and revisit the issue later. While it’s doubtful that these current rules of dress for the meetings will keep anyone from speaking this is a window into the decision making process of the WCCC. They’ll make rules, sign contracts, etc.., that are wrong, against the people’s wishes, or illegal, and they won’t worry about fixing them until they’re called on it. I don’t think that’s what the citizens of Williamson County would like their representatives do conduct county business. They’d probably like them to follow the rules/law from the beginning.
Last we heard we weren’t sure whether or not Rep. Mike Krusee (R-Irrelevant) was retiring from the legislature to take a state appointed transportation job. It’s been a long silent week since the rumor of his retirement came to light. While it’s not clear at this time what kind of face-saving retirement job Krusee will get,Â as long as he’s no longer representing HD-52 we’ll be happy.
What is pretty evident is that the retiree in question has done nothing to quell the rumor. He has made no public pronouncement that this is all hogwash and he’s in this fight to the end, etc.. He’s sitting on $300,000+, in a race that will cost him much more than that for him to win, and from what we hear, he’s not calling his donors reassuring them that this rumor isn’t true. And the WCGOP is actively recruiting candidates and, from what we hear right now. All signs which point to the fact that Krusee’s legislative career is over.
Gov. Rick Perry has called for a special election runoff in state house district 97 one week before Christmas, a move critics denounce as a voter suppression tactic. District 97 was vacated in August when Rep. Anna Mowery (R-Fort Worth) resigned rather than serve out the remainder of her term. Capitol Annex predicted accurately that HD97 would be the first of many House districts where Republicans would employ the strategy in order to gain an advantage.
For one thing, in somewhat-better-than-marginal districts like Moweryâ€™s, and in far-to-the-right districts, early resignations of Republicans easily enables candidates chosen by the right-wing GOP establishment to get a leg up and, of course, a much easier chance of winning. It also gives the opposition a more difficult time, especially when it comes to Democrats.
In addition, the special election format where numerous candidates from all parties can file allows Republicans to be able to ensure that third-party and Democratic straw candidates enter the races to help ensure runoffs in especially tight districts. It also allows Republicans to take advantage of especially large fields by defining all but the most ultra-conservative of Republicans as too liberal.
Indeed a special election was called November 6. Democrat Dan Barrett bested a field packed with 5 Republicans and earned a spot in the runoff. Republican Mark Shelton made the cut, but his vanquished opponents are crying foul over an allegedly deceptive robo-calling campaign.
Two weeks later — today — Perry picks the Tuesday before Christmas for the runoff.
With House speaker Tom Craddick’s tenuous hold on the gavel, and Democrats poised to take majority control, the stakes in the 2008 election are extremely high, hence the extreme measures.
Earlier this week Rep. Dianne Delisi (R-Bell County) announced her intention to resign her district 55 seat, and rumors surfaced that Rep. Mike Krusee (R-Williamson County) might be about to vacate his district 52 seat. More “retirements” are sure to come.
The GOP strategy behind this chicanery is to drain Democratic challengers of resources, forcing them to fund multiple election campaigns to take a seat. The effect is to disenfranchise, and avoid accountability. The Republicans feel that the low turnout of special elections increases the benefit of their organized ground operations. This is the part of the campaign that pries the party’s most die-hard supporters off their sofas and into polling booths. Those who work, don’t have time to follow the news or meet the candidates and make an honest evaluation are left at home.
The strategy is the last-gasp attempt by the right-wing political machine to extend their majority for a scant few years, pass their extremist agenda, preserve their rights to despoil the environment, exploit workers, loot the treasury and widen the gulf between rich and poor.
EOW denounces this short-sighted, anti-democratic and destructive practice as dirty politics. The numbing effect on the disenfranchised has driven participation in the political process to abysmal lows.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that such practices cannot achieve permanent results. In the end the scoundrels will be exposed for the frauds that they are and voters will demand reforms that will close these loopholes that exist only for the benefit of the corrupt.
While the 39%’s people are trying to play this off, $1 million donation dogs Perry to national stage, there may actually be a case.
OffTheKuff reminds us that DeLay’s downfall started with a case that was written off by the GOP and state pundits:
Back in 2002, I scoffed at some losing Democratic State House candidates when they filed a suit against the Texas Association of Business. Not only did those plaintiffs win their suit, they uncovered evidence of fund-shifting not unlike what’s being alleged here that led directly to the criminal indictments of Tom DeLay and three of his cronies. You never know what might happen during discovery. Most people have better things to do than file frivolous suits, so let’s see what happens when a motion to dismiss is made.
Did he say “fund shifting”? Cue Harvey Kronberg who thinks Chris Bell might have a case, $1 million Perry donation could be illegal.
Rick Perry’s people dismiss the complaint as nothing more than a clerical error.
Nevertheless, Travis County Attorney David Escamilla is considering whether RGA not registering and not reporting was a criminal violation.
But what if we find out Bob Perry’s million was deposited in an RGA bank account along with corporate contributions? Texas law explicitly prohibits corporate contributions to political campaigns. Once deposited, the homebuilder’s personal dollars are indistinguishable from the other corporate dollars sitting in the account.
Now that would be a real problem for the governor.
That corporate money will get a GOP politician in Texas. What EOW doesn’t get is why Perry needed this late infusion of cash? From what I recall Perry was never really in danger.
News 8 has the story, Soldiers’ wives trying to lure presidential candidates to Fort Hood.
As most the country watches the presidential debates from their living room, one group of military families at Fort Hood wants the candidates to come to them.
Military Spouses for Change is trying to lure Democratic and Republican candidates to address the largest military community in the country face-to-face.
“These candidates are asking to be the next commander in chief. I feel like our families and service members, if nothing else, deserve an audience,” organizer Carissa Picard said.
“If they were to come here it would mean that the soldiers make a difference, the soldiers mean something. That their lives and their families mean something. That they’re not just talking the talk, that they are actually going to make some changes and support the troops,” military wife and mother Inga Guenther said.
Seems fair enough. On their web site they have a handy Candidate Comparison. They also have a page about the forum scheduled for February 1, 2008. Here’s the first paragraph describing what they would like.
This forum is NOT about being for the war in Iraq or against the war in Iraq. This is about the fact that there IS a war in Iraq (as well as Afghanistan) and there are CONSEQUENCES to that war–consequences for our service members, for their families, for our country. We believe the candidates should have to talk about how they plan to identify and deal with these consequences.
It’s the least they should do for these families that have and continue to sacrifice so much.
What is the WCGOP to do? They’ve got a lame (duck) candidate that, one way or another, won’t be in sworn in January of 2009, in a Democratic-leaning district. They’re intimidated by the leadership of the announced Democratic candidate Diana Maldonado. And are apparently having trouble finding someone that wants to run as a Craddick lackey. At least at this point Nyle Maxwell doesn’t want to be called “The Honorable Craddick lackey in HD-52″ by his daughter at bed time. I’m sure they’ll continue through their magic rolodex for the proverbial rabbit-in-the-hat but it just might be too late. With Perry and the Texas GOP not getting the results they’ve wanted from recent special elections, they may try and keep Krusee from “retiring” until after the Primary. That way they can appoint a pro-Craddick shill without a bloody primary battle. The name, however, would have to surface soon. To qualify for the November general election, candidates must file by January 3. Only 45 days remain for the GOP recruiters. Anyone care to jump into an expensive battle in a trending Democratic district against a well-respected and funded Democrat? Oh yeah, and you get to carry Krusee’s toll-everything luggage with you. Come on wingnuts, surely one of you can gather the courage.
What all of this makes clear is that the Republicans – in Williamson County and in the state – have acknowledged the fact that they’re extremely vulnerable in HD-52, and now those that didn’t already know it, now know it too. They’re also having trouble finding a candidate that wants to take on Diana Maldonado. We don’t blame them.
From the post on immigration last week, I will reiterated what EOW’s stance on the debate is: What is going on is a debate between the racists and the corporatists in the GOP and the Democrats should largely stay out of it.
David Sirota in his column last Friday, The Immigration Con Artists, did a damn good job of explaining the problem:
What is illegal immigration actually about?
The answer is exploitation. Employers looking to maximize profits want an economically desperate, politically disenfranchised population that will accept ever worse pay and working conditions. Illegal immigrants perfectly fit the bill.
Politicians know exploitation fuels illegal immigration. But they refuse to confront it because doing so would mean challenging their financiers.
Instead we get lawmakers chest-thumping about immigration enforcement while avoiding a discussion about strengthening wage and workplace safety enforcement â€” proposals that address the real problem.
As anyone who’s familiar with the “conservative” resurgence well knows a big part of that has always been about courting racists in the South, aka, the Southern Strategy.
There’s been much back-and-forth lately about St. Ronnie’s use of that strategy during his career. The modern GOP has used race to further it’s agenda by trying to make less affluent white people put aside their economic best interest out of a fear of “those people”. The current “those people” that their trying to make their new target are, of course, illegal immigrants.
And today in his column Paul Krugman, Republicans and Race, points out that this time it’s likely not to work:
Reaganâ€™s defenders protest furiously that he wasnâ€™t personally bigoted. So what? Weâ€™re talking about his political strategy. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.
Why does this history matter now? Because it tells why the vision of a permanent conservative majority, so widely accepted a few years ago, is wrong.
The point is that we have become a more diverse and less racist country over time. The â€œmacacaâ€ incident, in which Senator George Allenâ€™s use of a racial insult led to his election defeat, epitomized the way in which America has changed for the better.
And because conservative ascendancy has depended so crucially on the racial backlash â€” a close look at voting data shows that religion and â€œvaluesâ€ issues have been far less important â€” I believe that the declining power of that backlash changes everything.
Can anti-immigrant rhetoric replace old-fashioned racial politics? No, because it mobilizes the same shrinking pool of whites â€” and alienates the growing number of Latino voters.
Now, maybe Iâ€™m wrong about all of this. But we should be able to discuss the role of race in American politics honestly. We shouldnâ€™t avert our gaze because weâ€™re unwilling to tarnish Ronald Reaganâ€™s image.
For more evidence of how freaked out the “wing-nuts” are on this issue go watch this video at Crooks and Liars. See Rachel Maddow’s logic almost make Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan’s heads explode. (We all get a little window into Pat’s soul as he talks about taking corporate money on the speaking circuit, and then calls this the most important issue facing this nation, what a hypocrite).
With their “government is bad” mantra in a shambles, their “voodoo economics” exposed, let’s hope permanently this time, for the scam it’s always been, it appears all the GOP thinks it has to fall back on is fear mongering and racism.
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