Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bust the Labor Busters

It's always time for a vomit-laugh when Republicans - who are primarily in the pay of the corporations and their lobbyists - point their fingers at Democrats who sponsor pro-labor legislation as "serving the interests of Big Labor".

The Bush Administration is threatening vetoes of proposed Labor reform laws that puts a check on labor busting activities of Big Business, and Republican Congressmen such as Pete Sessions and John Mica are belly-aching about Labor Union "earmarks", since Labor usually contributes to Democratic candidates come election time. In comparison to the corporate funding that Republicans rake in, Labor lobbyist monies are rather insignificant. And by the way, I think that the Dems are merely doing their jobs of looking out for the working class, which is the majority of the population. When have the Republicans in the last generation did anything to help working America? Federal income tax cuts don't really count since every tax-cut from a GOP Administration has benefited their rich friends. When people like me mention this, the rebuke is always that the Dems are engaging in envy and class warfare. Even if it is class warfare, the Republican Party from Ronald Reagan on started it. Envy? No, it is called 'survival' for desiring worker protection and attaining the living wages that they deserve. If the GOP had it's way they would allow their corporate buddies to pay wages in pesos and would re- institute the 14 hour day, seven days a week. Worker's Compensation, safety laws would be annulled. Their vision for Working America is that of absolute feudal slavery and they've been edging that way in leaps and bounds since their Gimp, the Gipper, came on the scene in 1980.

Any economic nationalist, even a 'conservative' one, should be a cheerleader for the Union Label. This edifice is trying to put a roadblock on the designs and ways and means of globalism and needs all the support it can get.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A anti-homily on Classicalism

The title of this blog is written under the spirit that I am an American in the Federalist Tradition of the USA, and 'left' because I am a feverent opponent of laissez-faire globalization and seek a return to the New Deal social-market consciousness. This may be redundant to state this. But the program is both conservative and liberal. However I've addressed little on social and cultural issues for a reason: the United States of America was born 'modern'. Its birth signified a split with the organic European consensus, though the umblical cord remained attached.

European critics of globalism of whatever ideological stripe dwell on the culture thing in contrast to the economic, especially those of the so-called Nouvelle Droite. Not that I oppose the culture thing in itself, don't think that it doesn't need to be discussed and what have you. Some dialogue is needed and culture does matter. But it has more significance across the Pond than it does on this side of it. Organic Europe has thousands of years of culture and economics did not play a huge role with its intelligentsia until very recently in its long,long history. Americans were born homo economicus and political economy was the big controversy at the genesis of the United States. The Founding Fathers of the Republic were not uncouth dummies, however. Many were steeped in the Classics of Europa, and had the classical education which was the rote of 18th Century men. But they faced the prospect of building a new nation and knew that they couldn't rely on Hellenism to do it, that culture is not what an economic infrastructure makes, or what has been called the physical economy.

Much of the American conservative intelligentsia today preach for a return of classical education as if it alone will solve our problems. This puts them out of the Federalist Tradition that stressed political economy. A historical reminder is that it was the agrarian Physiocrats like Jefferson, who hated Federalism, who were all gaga on finding a natural aristocracy via study of the Classics. The Federalists were elitists as well, but believed in a more practical meritocracy of economic diversity, where those who are on the bottom could use what inherited and acquired talents that they had to hopefully rise. That was the American Dream that never materialized in its projected form, yet it was much better than the reactionary agrarian idea of the Jeffersonians who based their meme on that of old Republican Rome( that was a slavocracy) like classical scholars always do to this very day. Most Federalists were early proponents of Manumission not just for humane or economic reasons. Alexander Hamilton, for one, correctly viewed slavery as a tremendous waste of talent and believed that gifts and potential transcended all races of humanity - something that was considered a radical idea to hold in the 18th Century. Most manumission advocates of that era were 'Free Soilers' and thought the freed slaves should be "re-colonialized" somewhere else on the Earth (including Harriet Beecher Stowe and initially Abe Lincoln). Hamilton wanted them to have the same rights and citizenship of Americans of whatever color or race.

Today's classical education fanatics react against the post-modernism, the secularism of what they deem a virus from the radical left, or 68ers. It is very true that some of academia have utter contempt for Western Culture and see it as the root of all evil, a notion that is indeed harmful and ridiculous. For every "evil White Man" there are three brown and black devils standing beside him. Yet conservative classical boosters think that everything post-modern is malignant as well and see the world in strict Manichean terms. I believe that reading of the Western Canon is important for anyone in intellectual endeavors, but I fail to see how Homer, Pythagorous , Thomas Aquainas will turn the American people away from their pancem et circenes and most notably, what the Wise Ones of ancient history can give us advise on how to prevent the global hegemony of the economic-predators? The Men of the Classics had no idea that they were to be revered hundreds and even thousands of years after their expiration from the dark Earth, anyway. Though they had an interest in the future, they wrote and composed for their contemporaries, and none ever claimed, to my knowledge, of being fortune-tellers.

The 'good' about post-modernist thought, or de-construction, is that it taxes the brain muscles just as much as studying classical Greek would. De-constructionism, in a nutshell, innocently lifts up to the surface that whatever notion, idea, world-view that an individual possesses could be possibly in error? It is not nihilism(true nihilism is impossible, in my judgment) but just as much dialectical in format as Aristotleian logic is, but is more free-flowing and not as rigid as the former. Instead of telling a person how to think, de-constructionism mounts the podium, begs the question -

"I already know 'how', I want to know - 'why'?

-George Orwell

Classicalists can better present their case by adopting the cream of nominal post-modernist thinking, perhaps. This doesn't mean adding Dada or Foucault to the Western Canon, but not appearing so ancient which few people ever has embraced. Let's face it: every attempt to promote The Great Books down to the ranks of the hoi poli has been a failure. Those antiquarian texts are usually just 'show-books' that line the shelves in a suburban living-room seldom opened and read. A relative of mine once got into the Great Books discount- buying and when queried who the names were on the titles she couldn't really give a good answer. I remember that she said that Adam Smith was "some physicist from England". My cynical snicker at this led to her admitting that the Great Books in her possession were mere decor for her new Study in her house where she didn't have the time to study anything. Her copies of Stephen King and Jacquline Sussan looked well-thumbed, however.....

Again, Homer and Bach will not tackle the essential dillemas of Americans in America. We can still learn from Plato and Aristotle and appreciate Voltaire, Erasmus, etc. Though I am a critic of the eggheads of Classicalism, I never want to see the Western Canon abolished as the extreme cultural Left wish it to be. Yet, even if a Halliburton executive, for instance, can recite The Inferno canto by canto, he or she remains an economic-predator. A construction worker who's well-versed in Shakespeare will not improve his income and general existence; the tele-marketer who can hum note to note from begginning to end Handel's Messiah is still stuck in a thankless and abusive low-paying job. A Fast Food worker will not impress his/her employers because he/she knows Plato's Dialogues....

One needs to consider who these folks in the UsofA that are promoting classical education are, where politically they are coming from. Both NeoCons and paleo-conservatives are hung up on the Classics to the nth degree. We all know about the Straussians already, but the paleoconservatives, the types that read the neo-Confederate mag, Chronicles, are in the Agrarian/Physicocrat/Jeffersonian memes &often merged with various degrees of religious fundamentalism. Their theological beliefs usually have little to do with the benign Renaissance Christian Humanism, but post-Reformation dogmaticism and intolerance whilst they be Catholic or Protestant. Today's paleo-classicists reject the syncreticism of Pico, Cusanus, Erasmus and others of the Renaissance and offer us a medieval either-or Return quite like the medievalism of Luther, Calvin and the Vatican's counter-reformation. This is what killed off the Renaissance in the first place. Classicists want bright minds only if they are inside the box.

Personally, I have never met a Classical scholar who seemed to be very liberal on much of anything, with the exception of one, who claimed to be a Buddhist and a socialist as well as a devotee of the Western Canon. That was very unique. Most classicalists seem to pine for that Golden Age in antiquity that never existed in actuality. In music, Beethoven was considered 'too loud 'by the musical reactionaries of his day who stressed adulation for JS Bach. I'm certain that Bach was criticized by Old Foggies of the Lutheran Hymnal too in his composition days, and so on. Every generation coming up has been accussed of perverting and losing the 'wisdom' of the former and some predict the destruction of society, Zeus thunderbolts of doom unto the Earth -

" Hey, but look at me Joey - I'm still standin'!"

-Robert DeNiro, Raging Bull

The Classics need to be syncretic, brought into the general memes of social thought. The Western Canon can be added on to. American homo economicus, circa 2007, cannot live hardly on Homer & Hayden and fellow travelers alone. The paleo-classicalists today are hung up on the very word -classical. That Predator Economics is dubbed as 'Classical Economics' automatically finds those scholars of Thomas Aquainas endorcing it, it seems. That's interesting since Aquinas himself was a strong enemy of usury and held the mercantile class as suspect of impiety, and he never endorced the rugged individualism that predator/classical economics holds as sancrosanct.

'Tis interesting that a good percentage of American classicists today(the political ones) who claim to be "proud to be also American", find a nice home for themselves in one of the most anti-American think-tank called the Ludwig von Mises Institute, headquartered in Alabama. Ludwig von Mises is the avatar of the Vienna School of Economics and he had utmost contempt for anything from 'the Herd' in proper aristocratic Habsburg fashion. The Vienna School's founder was Carl Menger, though not a hereditary aristocrat himself, he like Cicero and Cato of Rome was an ass-kisser to them. Menger's prime motivation was to attack the German/American Historical School of Economics that dominated the Wilhelmian Era of the 19th Century. The titled nobility felt their previous hegemony slipping badly and needed something else for a restoration of their elite. So why not individualist based "free-market" economics that denied the role and even existence of society ? In such a anarcho-capitalist utopia, the 'Vons' would be restored to lords of the Manor, once again. The Vienna School had utter contempt for the United States, but found some Americans to be their useful idiots to broadcast their message. It is remarkable that the free-market economics of von Mises never caught on in Austria or Germany, but flowered in the USA in post- World War 2 amoung the Old Right opponents of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal which was the fruition of the *American System*. The American System was brought to Central Europe via Friedrich List and later had the 'Historical School' label. The Historical School metamorphed into the "Social-Market", the plan that re-built West Germany into an economic titan following the Second World War. This, the Vienna School of aristocratic predators from Menger, von Mises,von Hayek, and the Catholic bigot&monarchist, Erich von Kuehnhelt-Leddihn, sought to destroy as well as the soverignty of nation-states. It is humorous that Hayek readers were accusing everyone else of being 'socialists', when the Vieena School had much more in common with the Trotskyite globalist Left than they cared to admit, or acknowledged.

That the Vienna School hated the Federalist Tradition of the United States is a no brainer, obvious. But they found a fellow-traveler in America with the Jeffersonian/States Rights/laissez-faire contingent. It is no surprise that Americans who slobber over the Vienna School are also tied into the traitorous neo-Confederate movement. People need to remember that the aristocratic old European Right of the 19th Century hated the very existence of the United States of America and clapped their hands with glee when it looked like the American Republic was going under during the Civil War, 1861-65. The European reactionaries were as a whole pro-South in that conflict for this very reason(also for the prospect of duty-free exports in Southern ports). The Southern slavocracy was aristocratic, classicalist, fundamentalist Calvinist, Anglophiliac free-traders during this era. Plantation owners imitated the ways of British Imperial country gentry and some even advocated of rejoining the Empire if need be. Only Russia and Prussia were pro-North/Union during the American Civil War out of all the European powers, but could provide little assistance. If it wasn't for the restraint of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's hubby, Great Britain would had jumped into the conflict on the side of the traitorous Confederacy with both feet during the Trent Affair. This is what Jeffersonian neo-Confederates sigh over to this very day.

Southern partisans need to remember that the person more tied with the 'Yankee' Federalist Tradition is the Virginian, George Washington. There was no other place on Earth than his Mount Vernon that George wanted to be at. But during his service as Commander-in-Chief of the revolutionary Continental Army, George Washington became a nationalist and endorced the Federalist program of Hamilton, both politically and economically. Washington also released Mt. Vernon's slaves from bondage at his death. None of the other plantation- owning classical 'democrats' - Jefferson, Madison, Monroe - followed Washington's example. In fact, Jefferson increased his slave-ownership over his long years and only granted manumission to a mere five of the hundreds of slaves that this hypocritcal bastard owned. Let's not forget that Jefferson was always going-off about classical Roman virtues.

Ergo, 'classical 'doesn't mean that everything 'good' was ever intwined with it. One can see just as much that was and is bad. And a note to leftists is that not everything dubbed 'traditional' is and will be a hindrance to socio-economic progress, either.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Unearned Citizenship

Robert B. Reich has a grand idea. In a article in The American Prospect, Reich matter-of-factly stated that American rich folks who have Cayman Islands tax-shelter accounts should also forfeit their citizenship. If they purposely take revenue out of the United States(and also capital) they annul themselves of their claims that they are producers, and it's bona-fide proof that the OverClass have no interest besides their own. The hot issue now is a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants; perhaps a better issue should be earned citizenship. I can see how illegal Mexican fruit-pickers, meat-packers are earning their way to be Americans much more than the super-affluent families in the USA who can trace their ancestors back to The Mayflower, or Sons of Cincinattus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spengler Reconsidered?

The paleoconservatives are up in arms over the immigration bill. Reading Pat Buchanan' latest diatribe of gloom and doom about the south of the border invasion, I was disappointed in the man that he didn't address the why in his rant. Buchanan sees things in ethnics and race first, trade/economics second it so appears. The Paleocons could make their case more presentable by reversing this order; with the Mushy Middle who believe but are skeptical of TINA globalization, racialist concentration of this tribe gives trade protectionism a not so good name, and alienates a good portion of the anti-globalist left. Being convinced that the best way to fight against TINA is a synthesis of both arms of the anti-globalization movement uniting at least on these core issues, reading Pat's column lately makes me think that there is more work in store than originally thought.

But I'll tackle this immigration/race issue anyway here. Mainly I am not a builder for this above proposed consensus, but just another poor slob with a blog that apparently only spammers ever grace. I do assign some of the blame to the 68er New Left who abandoned the Melting Pot concept and chose Identity Politics of hyphenated Americanism, radical-feminism, deep ecology and what have you. This not only contributed to the unraveling of the New Deal coalition but also alienated the Average Square and this helped breed that species called 'Reagan Democrats' later. Because of the obsessive Third Worldism of the 68ers, illegal immigration was seen by many as a good thing since these people are brown and alleged to be exploited by 'evil white males' and such other tripe like this. Instead of wanting to Americanize immigrants, legal and illegal of whatever color, they were encouraged to keep and foster their own cultural identity while living in the USA. Combine this with the laissez-faire economic predators who benefit from illegal immigration, a lethal potion has been concocted. The Culture Elite and the economic OverClass are in collusion.

People need to remember that it was liberals such as the recently expired Arthur Schlesinger who first warned about multiculturalism/identity politics. The right-wingers rose later to dominate the issue and liberals buried it for the sake that they didn't want to sound like racists by criticizing. Now, both the left and right on immigration have demonstrated their lack of responsibility by not focusing on the 'Why' and acknowledging that the economic-trade status quo has to radically change before the hordes from the south will halt their flood. If this is not tackled soon, Buchanan's predictions may very well turn out to be on par and you can kiss the sovereignty of the United States of America good-bye forever. In twenty years, if not sooner, we will then dwell in a corporate feudalistic 'North American Union' totally dominated and ran by the OverClass of all three countries with everyone else being - regardless of race - the peasants of the service-oriented manors that the OverClass will own privately, lock, stock and barrell. Marx and other Enlightenment thinkers of the West were in error. History is not a progression from point A to B, but it seems to run in cycles perpetually.
That last sentence above is in lieu that I have dusted off Spengler and have been giving the author of "The Decline of the West" another reading. I retain a profound distrust of this man, and many if not most of the things that he touches on in his magnum opus are cranky, i.e. cultures are collectively living organisms and each Culture are crafted by some Unseen Historical Law that requires a Culture to cross into decadence of 'Civilization' to eventual fall, dark ages then possibly cultural rebirth. Spengler didn't address that Indian and Sino cultures have survived for thousands of years, largely intact, even during downturns; his historical research was shoddy in many areas. The mysticism of his works set himself up for the ridicule of many historians and sociologists. If it wasn't for the fact that Germany lost the Great War 1914-18, "The Decline of the West" would have been confined to pulp in the publishing house.
Spengler's success was initially with the folks of the Conservative Revolution in the 1920s and he enjoyed every moment of his notoriety. Though he flirted heavily with the Nazis at first, to his credit Spengler later condemned the gross Anti-Semitism and brutality of this regime and seen Hitler for what he really was. Yet Spengler remains to this day a darling of the Far Right intelligentsia which is something that aides in putting more liberal minded folks off from reading him. But here and there, he has a bit to say to everyone regardless of political hue in circa 2007 C.E.?

Oswald Spengler narrated little about America in his chief write and nothing good. Spengler's Gymnassium classical education left him with the typical contempt for the notion of homo economicus, and had the typical prejudice to "shopkeeper commercial republics". In contrast, he admired Friedrich List - the man who brought the American School of Economics to Germany and fitted it in a Prussian way. Spengler didn't mention this fact about List and that List was ever bit of homo economicus as much as Adam Smith was. Spengler further contradicts himself throughout his years about economics. Though he lauded high culture, or what he believed it to be, he initially admonished his young readers to drop the paint brushes and poem writing and pick up the tools of the engineer. Later, in his Man and Technics, Spengler blasted materialism and technological endeavours and waxes like a Luddite. We have the esoteric snobbish Spengler and the practical Spengler waring with one another and he never got over his own confusion.

Probably the most prevalent theme that Oswald Spengler was clued-in on was the subject of socialism. Socialism stripped of it's economics is still socialism anytime the State plays a role in the nation. Economic socialism is "the capitalism of the working-class". This is totally lost on Americans, especially the free-market types. Any social entity is by nature 'socialist' and government, big or small, is socialist regardless of the economic policies it champions. Laissez-faire is the socialism of and for the OverClass, as economic socialism is that of the underclass, or used to be. In a way it can be stated that libertarian-capitalists are 'socialists in denial'. They are at least utopian dupes and dopes.

Spengler seen America as an ersatz pale carbon copy of his Western 'Faustian Man' with it's commercialism and democratic edifice that he assigns to his theme of 'cultural death'. Thus, according to Spengler, America is exceptional, but in a bad way. He warned even in 1917 that the USA will attempt globalizing it's markets for hegemony since economics is it's only function and is neither a culture or a civilization per se. Spengler correctly views money not harnessed to the use of the State as a corrupting influence that will be a major factor in bringing any culture-civilization down in his historical cycle.

One symptom of cultural death in a civilization is what Spengler dubbed as the "Second Religiousness" - a reactionary movement back to the orthodoxy of a nation's respective religion, a SuperNova before darkness. Though Spengler judges America not part of a true civilization, the concept of Second Religiousness is prophetic if one looks at the rise of the Religious Right in the 1970s until presently in the USA. Perhaps Islamic Civilization is simultaneously experiencing the same. According to Spengler, Europe should be undergoing the Second Religiousness, but its organic path points to further secularization. Maybe despite doomsday scenarios for the European Continent, Faustian Man will still be standing with Sinic and Hindu longevity. Spengler aside in this issue, America will go down, and is going down, quicker than any other region on the Globe one can point the finger at.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The current freshmen Democrats in Congress were sent there for more reasons than Iraq. Many of the new class are economic populists with a mandate to do something about the globalization policies endorsed by Wall Street. Currently, the Democratic Party's financier wing is putting pressure on the freshmen Representatives and Senators to toe the Free Trade line of the Clintonian DLC, which is nearly identical to that of the Bush Administration. Again, this laissez-faire lite is where the Democrats went wrong initially, and the freshmen elected officials are under obligation to do something about the DLC and hopefully purge these arrogant economic traitors from their midst. The Democratic Party needs these New People to re-set the paces.
Out of all forms of nationalism, the worst kind of it currently is these neoconservative globalizing goons who masquerade themselves as 'American Nationalists'. Such species are neither 'American' per se nor 'nationalist'. The ABC's of this specious ideology is an ersatz blend of globalistic memes such as Trotskyitism married to the ideology of international free-market capitalism, which is not American. American capitalism traditionally ran based on the national model and retained until recently at least a sense of noblese oblique to the citizenry of the nation-state. Even the Guilded Age barons kept their economic predation at 'home'.
Anyone endorsing and promoting globalization that is sucking the life out of the USA's infrastructure and decaying the political autonomy of the nation/state cannot with a clear, sane head refer to themselves as 'nationalist'. More truthfully they should call themselves imperialists, or Right Wing- Marxists - this is exactly what these people are. Don't let their public claims of dedication to the 'American Way of Life', fool. Their only loyalty is to the corporate elite who have no loyalty to anyone besides their own private interests. Look who's funding these NeoCon think-tanks: Get and pay-off a bunch of Ayn Rand/Hayek reading geeks and classical culture snobs;ex-Communists wanting to make a buck;Chickenhawk foreign policy promoters and Fundy Christians with their 'Family Values' con to write and push the corporate modus operandi - not a bigger and more shrewd racket has ever been created! My hat's off to them.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Morning Sermon

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and architect of the 'Contract ON America', delivered a rousing eulogy at Rev. Falwell's funeral. Newt admonished the Liberty Uni's student body that they are the vanguard against radical secularism and paganism in America and should continue to push for 'Judea-Christian Values'. Onward Christian soldiers!

Mr. Gingrich is obviously spoiling for a comeback in the political realm. Why not use the old trick he pulled before of getting the Bible Beater-theocrats onboard his economic-predator/imperialist program? It is humorous that Newt champions the Christian ethic, having delivered divorce papers to his wife on her deathbed, neglected his children, and confessed to carrying on an affair with an intern himself.

Let's take a look at 'Christian America' here. Western Europe is secular and dubbed 'post-Christian', but these godless folks have a lower divorce rate than the gawd-fearin' USofA does. Europeans are judged by Ami Fundys of having a overly tolerant, amoral society, yet drug abuse and crime is much lower there(especially violent crime). 'Old Europe' might have regulations that some Americans may think is overly restrictive, yet you don't have to fret going to your job,school or visiting a shopping mall in Brussels, Berlin, Rome and wonder if some psycho is going to gun you down in mass murder mayhem. As for career endeavours, there are more people who are 'self-employed' in Europe than there is in the alleged mecca of de-regulated opportunity, the United States.

The Euro- bashers never reflect that if the EU is supposed to be so bad, how come Europeans aren't flocking to emigrate across the Pond? The USA used to be the place to be for Europa's poor and disenfranchised class, but that is no longer the case.
As for comparable elites, European political elites are primarily from their educated middle-class. The ruling American elite is the One Percenter economic OverClass. Full circle has manifested: the USA, excluding the institution of slavery, was born a middle-class society when Europe was ruled by the titled hereditary nobility. It was the shot heard around the world when we tossed the worthless parasitical nobility/European colonialism from North America, and it's something to be proud of. Now, Europe is much more democratic than the USA is and certainly has less gaps between rich and poor. Many have public funded elections where $$$ is not the overriding way and means for a candidate to get elected to a political office. In America, you either have to be wealthy yourself to get into a high federal or state office; if not, the candidate had better have wealthy contributors. Our politicians are bought -and- paid for by Mammon in Christian America. We are actually 'One Nation Under Mammon' and not a nation blessed by the Judea-Christian 'God'. The values that Gingrich and his Religious Right minions speak of are the very ones in contrast of those in the New Testament. Give me the secular, godless, amoral Euroweenies any old day!

So, where did we go wrong? Firstly, even Marxist oriented cultural historians such as Morris Berman reflect that the USA began well with the Federalist principles of the nation's founding in the 1780s, 1790s. The Federalists, though they sanctioned private property as much as the Anti-Federalists, kept some of the organic, Old European memes intact with supporting dirgist methods in the nation's economy; the 'Few' had some responsibility to the 'Many', or the Commons. If there is anything good about medieval feudalism it was at least there was the very idea of social responsibility between the classes/castes, though it was hardly practiced. The Jeffersonians were more nativist and coupled the nativism with a Jacobin leveling of all institutions. Federalists didn't want to toss the tub out with the dirty water. The Federalists, the top dogs, served with distinction in the Revolutionary Army whilst many of Jefferson's boys(including Big Tom) had a large percentage of chickenhawks in their midst.

Many historians point to the Administration of Andrew Jackson - who was supposed to be the "People's President" - in the 1830s as when Middle Class America began its unraveling into the gulf of uber-wealthy versus poor. Jackson's first item of business was destruction of the 2nd Bank of the United States. This action turned the very speculators that Jackson hated free and loose from any public oversight and they commenced busting privately owned banks everywhere. Though Jackson was the only President to have paid off the National Debt, he also ruined America's credit rating with other nations.

Jackson's one saving grace is that he believed in tariff- based trade, and threatened to hang all the ringleaders of the South Carolinian 'Nullification Crises' until Whigs such as Henry Clay engineered a compromise regarding the tariff rate. As much as I admire Clay, sometimes I judge that he often compromised too much. Perhaps if he would had let Old Hickory hang a few traitors it would had been a wake-up call to the Southern slaveocracy/Free Traders that they needed to change their ways. Even if Jackson's actions would had led to civil war, it would had been better to have the civil war in that decade than in the 1860s.

The Federalists had a revival with Abe Lincoln's Republican Party where the American School of Economics was pushed with gusto as opposed to the British-Manchester one of laissez-faire - the school that the Southern slaveocracy favored. Lincoln also acknowledged that Capital was dependent on Labor, and Labor should take the top role over Capital. Lincoln, the son of 'yeoman-farmers', knew that the United States had to industrialize asap, but he was obviously not in the pocket of financiers with his championing of the knights of Labor who made the wealth of the manufactures possible. Again, this is the meme of the European concept of responsibility of the elites to the Commons. It is very likely that if Lincoln wasn't murdered by a pro-Confederate chickenhawk actor(John Wilkes Booth), the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons of the later nineteenth century would had been at least more tame. The Populist movement of agrarian America in the 1880s and 1890s had a slogan regarding the Robber Barons - 'This is not what Lincoln would had allowed'. The Populists were correct. It goes to show that anyone who assaulted their respective slaveocracies (coupled with laissez-faire) throughout history from Julius Caesar to Tsar Alexander and Lincoln - paid the price with their blood and lives.

Theodore Roosevelt, though an imperialist, tried to take on the Economic Predators and get the Republican Party back to its Lincolnesque/Federalist roots with just a token measure of success. His populist/progressive model was Alexander Hamilton. In 1912 Roosevelt tried for a third presidential term under the Progressive/Bull Moose Party, yet many of his progressive principles were hijacked by Woodrow Wilson as themes for his own campaign. As we know, President Wilson set the progressive movement back, and he actually employed some of the most reactionary policies( a true-blue Jeffersonian) that was contradictory to the Progressive Movement of the early 20th Century. Wilson was the most racist President we had in the last century, and he outdid the imperialism of McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt in practicing gun-boat diplomacy in Latin America. Wilson was a bigger hypocrite than his poster-child, Thomas Jefferson, and the USA- and the world - would had been better off if Taft won in 1912.

The 1920s was a return to the 'normalcy' of the 1890s where the rich dominated everything, and 'the business of America was Business', to echo Calvin Coolidge. New Technology spawned GNP growth, yet it was a bad decade for the industrial working class and the farmers. The Roaring Twenties had a high tariff trade policy , but because that international trade was dead in that decade because of the Great War 1914-18, little revenue was made of it. A huge speculative Credit Bubble was created in the Twenties(does that sound familiar??) in lieu of the Versailles Treaty provisions that had Peter to borrow from Paul to pay Peter&Paul; de-regulated private banks would give sub-prime loans for stock speculations and it all roared to a huge crash in 1929. Then American history was graced with the appearance of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President in 1933...

FDR was a fifth cousin of Teddy Roosevelt, a old -monied WASP patrician who never worked a day in his life. Unlike other patricians like Thomas Jefferson, Franklin actually cared about the Commons. Undoubtedly when FDR was crippled by Polio he learned the lesson of being powerless, helpless, and being a circumstantial victim of the Tragic Sense of Life. FDR tapped into the old Federalist tradition offering a 'New Deal' for the American people, a social contract where both the private and public economic sphere could work together. FDR was no limp-wristed weenie liberal either. He took on the 'economic royalists' with energy and he welcomed their hatred of him of being a 'traitor to his class'. In hindsight, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the Baddest Ass who ever sat in the White House: FDR smoked three packs of cigarettes, drank five martinis per diem; guided the USA through the Great Depression then through a major two-front World War and he had post-War aspirations of European de-colonialism, the respect of sovereign nation-states to live their lives as they saw fit to do so in a spirit of international peace. Neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln had so much morass heaped on their laps as President than what FDR had to contend with under his Watch.

The social contract of the New Deal, in tune with the Federalist Tradition of America, lasted in both parties, Democratic and Republican, through the 40's, 50's and most of the 60's. A good friend of mine claims it all unraveled with the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. Nixon was actually on the bubble, in my opinion. Nixon inherited civil war conditions and had to constantly play the centrist role between left and right factions. People tend to forget that Nixon pissed-off the right wingers as much as he did the liberals. He made attempts to perfect the social-market by reaching out to Labor as well as Business, and Affirmative Action was Nixon's plan. With good reason even the iconoclast libertarian-socialist, Noam Chomsky, declared Tricky Dick Nixon as our last liberal President. The end of the New Deal was actually in 1973 coinciding with the Watergate Scandal that brought Nixon down. Without Watergate and its results, I firmly believe that such idiots like Carter and later Reagan would had never been elected President and the social-market, American style, would had continued to be better, more efficient. We would had been more ingrained in the organic European genesis, and the NeoCons would be at best a cranky, marginal, spare think-tank of ex-Trotskyites where they belong.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Myths to Die By, etc.

The compromise Immigration Bill has a serious fault from the onset: it doesn't address the why, why illegal immigration is so epidemic. Earmarked to any illegal immigration bill should be a call to repeal NAFTA; because as long as the Mexican economy is tied into this free-trade treaty, as long as the OverClass can hire illegals on the cheap as they do, the flood from the south will keep coming regardless of how many border checkpoints, fences, fines that are imposed on the illegals. Frankly, the businesses that have hired illegal aliens should pay any levied fines. This bill will do nothing to stem the flow of illegal aliens, and Senator Kennedy should know better.

It seems like the World Bank is the next stop for foreign policy failures like Wolfowitz and previously the architect of the Vietnam War, McNamara got the post at the World Bank. It was humorous to hear following Wolfowitz's announced resignation from the WB, that George W. Bush lamented that it was regrettable since Paul Wolfowitz was "helping the poor". If anything, the World Bank is an edifice to aide the international OverClass to loot the Third World and privatize everything from pensions to the position of dog catcher.
We need to worry about establishing a true 'National' Bank, and such global entities that serve the interests of the cosmopolitan economic Predators, such as the above, the IMF, WTO need to be strangled and buried.
Have been reading considerably lately about the thing called meritocracy. It is amazing who many people swallow old myths today, and this notion that hard-work, education and the "right attitude" can and will propel anyone to greatness and riches is one of the biggest old wives' tale. Even millionaires themselves do not believe in the core principle of meritocracy - hard work. In a survey of Forbes millionaires, they were asked to list five essential ingredients in what made them tick: 'Work' came in dead last. The very people who lack socioeconomic mobility, the Working Class(who 'work' the hardest),seem to believe in the Work Ethic the most though it perennially gives them fractional and illusionary gains. It seems that meritocracy is the real opiate of the people in this sense. And most remarkably it plays into the hands of the caste that knows that meritocracy is bunk, that is screwing the hard- working worker over.

Meritocracy is something that we all want to believe in, however. It is analogous to an agnostic Christian who wants to believe in salvation, but everything in his/her mind knows that it just isn't so. It is perhaps just another dopey-daffodil utopian scheme, the notion that one can rise based on merit alone. But the desire is to make myth reality here, and many have set at drafting boards trying figure out a scheme to have a natural aristocracy, have the best and brightest running the show.
As usual I am pessimistic. Probably nothing outside The Brave New World can we have anything resembling a meritocracy, and few would sanction a society like that. Yes, the problem, the main roadblock to a meritocracy is THE FAMILY. Family Values is the bugbear. Social conservatives need to get a reality check here that the problem is that we have always had too much Family Values. Or at least the wealthy have.

It is academic that if the 'pull-yourself-up-by-the bootstraps' individualism worked on a utilitarian scale, how come the affluent do not kick their kids out of the house when they reach their majority? Why not have them fend for themselves and get their own money and way through life? Instead, regardless how Mom &Pop came into their fortune, they send their children to the best schools with other rich spawn and fairly much give their own children cradle to grave care. Forty percent of those on Forbes got a large portion of their wealthy via inheritance;the higher a mogul is up on the Forbes list, the more likely he or she had a substantial trustfund from a rich mommy or daddy - it takes big money to make big money is oh so .We must realize fully that we live not in a democratic meritocracy, but an oligarchy. The odds on that someone can start from the bottom and work their way to the zenith of the socioeconomic scale is egregiously astronomical. Winning the PowerBall lottery twice is more practical to compare.

Straussians say that the herd need their myths, and the merit-system is the Numero Ono - even surpassing other myths like those that believe in Adam and Eve, 'Intelligent Design', Tom Jefferson was for the People and Ron Reagan ended the Cold War. Better it is to address the reality that we do not have a meritocracy and never did. Maybe something benevolent can sprout from people dwelling on what Miquel Unamuno dubbed as the existential 'Tragic Sense of Life' than proliferating myths that make us forget it. Or maybe the suicide rate would skyrocket if we all did.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Slapping around Larry and Curley...

The Ten Little Reagans gathered again in S. Carolina for a debate on the 'issues'. According to reports, the 'issues' discussed were the usual ones from the GOP playbook: fetus politics, the right for psychos to buy guns and commit massacres, making Dubya's tax cuts for the OverClass permanent. Rudy Giuliani pledged to cut the federal budget, Reagan style. Half- a -billionaire Mormon, Mitt Romney, spared with John "the Mummy " McCain over flip-flopping..... Duncan Hunter assured everyone that none of the other nine contenders is a bigger warmonger than he is and gave the crowd his best John Wayne persona. What a crew. I was surprised that all the ten didn't slobber over the passing of the Christocrat- Moron Majority Iman, the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

I did catch the Mitt Romney interview on 60 Minutes last Sunday. I was struck by the plasticity of all the Romney family where everyone is good looking, rich, and pious devotees of the cult of the Latter Day Saints. Except for the religious part, they reminded me of characters in a soap opera. Mitt says he looted many companies as CEO and can't wait to get his hands on Washington, tongue-in-cheek. Not only is he a proud economic-predator, he does it without any stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, booze, drugs and cussin'(Mr. Romney emphatically wants the American people to know that he doesn't swear.). His wife is a 'babe' so he won't need oral sex in the Oval Office from an overweight intern. Wow, what a guy!

Puts me in reflection of the founder of Mitt Romney's cult, the shyster flim flam man, Joseph Smith. Mr. Smith wanted to go to Washington real bad and set up a Mormon theocracy. He had something like twelve wives to give him oral sex. But no can do since other religious freaks killed Joe, and his flock high-tailed it to the desert of Utah. Now Romney can fulfill Mr. Smith's dream of being President. Maybe Jesus will come down in a UFO for Romney's inauguration....

It has been said that in these days and times that no liberal should speak ill of another liberal. I think that this is a stupid rule, whoever came up with it. I know that there are bad liberals such as these ones like James K. Galbraith, Tom"the world is flat" Friedman and those immersed in inane 'Identity' politics and love to use hyphens and 'nations' except for the nation that they should be concerned about, the USA. All of these issues - gay marriage, pro-choice, multicultural diversity, sobbing over baby seals and Brazilian rainforests - are at best, marginal topics in the grand scheme, full-picture of things. In fact, dwelling on these issues above plays into the Republicans' hands almost every big election. They need to shuffle these petty things to the bottom of the pile and start hitting the GOP hard on the general economy, trade and foreign policy. And don't take the neo-liberal/ predator-lite, Clinton route doing so. Once we get our store in order - if - they can begin addressing these social issues, or better yet - keep sending them to the bottom of the pile.

James K. Galbraith's apologia for free-trade is based on his assertion that social-democratic Sweden has free-trade, so it must be okay. Thus, American liberals need to get with "reality" and accept the global edifice. Yawn.. Some liberals are as obsessed with Scandinavia more than free-market, minimal government libertarians have Switzerland as their pin-up model. Neither segment factors that both Sweden and Switzerland are not the United States, and they have different situations in the geopolitical and economic scheme of things. Though there are many things about Sweden and Switzerland that is on the surface admirable, neither nation can be transplanted here. Sweden is a small country, already integrated in the European economy that has a broad social safety net that subsidizes their populace where the ill effects of free-trade are not felt as roughly. The USA is in a totally different trade/economic situation than Sweden or Switzerland, and American liberals and Jeffersonian conservatives need to get over their respective womanish attachments to these two countries.

Pat Buchanan would make a better advisor on trade than James K. Galbraith with his weenie hand-ringing apologetics to globalism. Protectionist liberals need to reach out to the conservative economic nationalists given that they know that they aren't welcome in the GOP anymore. Having the Galbraith Juniors and the Tom Friedmans in camp with their Swedish obsessions will not help the cause.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jefferson's Republicans = Dick Cheney's GOP

Last night PBS had a bio of Hamilton, "Reckless Genius", part of their 'American Experience' series. Though there was nothing new to learn from the two-hour documentary, I was struck by a comment made by one of the historians on the panel - " is confusing..because the Republicans of the 1790s had no resemblance to the Republicans of today..."

This got me thinking that the historian is in error. The GOP is now very much like the Jeffersonian version of Republicans :

- Tom Jefferson and company harangued everyone that those who didn't share their dopey-daffodil agrarian vision were 'monarchists'. Feature today that anyone who begs to differ with the Iraq War/ Neocon 'permanent war' policy are dubbed as enabling Al Quaida and giving aide and comfort to 'Islamofascists'.

- Dick Cheney and his Neocon thugs engage in the politics of Fear, stating that if we aren't occupying various nations in the MidEast, the Muslim terrorists will be suicide-bombing Main Street USA enabled by interior 'fifth columnists', tomorrow. The Republicans of the 1790s had similar McCarthyism down pat. Jefferson and his bought and paid for media hacks would have had the public believe that Hamilton's nation-building policies were entirely geared for the restoration of the Hanoverian British monarchy.

- Many of the Federalists served with honor in the Revolutionary Army that tossed off the yoke of the British Empire. It is remarkable how many of the Republicans, who claimed to be revolutionary purists, never fired a shot against the troops of the hated British monarch. Tom Jefferson, George Clinton, and James Madison and other Anti-Federalists didn't serve a day in the Revolutionary Army. Flash today at all of the war chicken hawks: Cheney, Bush II, Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove - who all think that the Vietnam War was necessary - either got draft deferments or cushy placements in the National Guard during this conflict.

- Both Jefferson and Cheney think that they have the 'People' in their hearts and speak for them with code phrases that is in every sentence that they utter such as 'freedom' and 'liberty'. Jefferson's 'People' were largely in his own imagination and he was a slave-owning country squire who spoke chiefly for the interests of his fellow Plantation oligarchs. Jefferson, like most ante-bellum Southern aristocrats, despised the po' White Trash in actuality. Today's GOP preaches the Free Market and privatization which somehow they assure the 'People' it is in their best interests to outsource their jobs, level wages to 3rd World levels and keep them away from labor unions. The GOP are mouthpieces for the tiny OverClass from beginning to end.

- Right-wing radio and television paint anyone not a conservative Republican as 'Elitist' who despise the common people. They assure that the the Democrats are primarily Ivy League, wine-sipping 'cultural Marxists' out to enslave us all to their PC agenda. Meanwhile, these same folks crying about elitists, are spokespeople for the one-percenter corporation predators who are looting the economic infrastructure of the United States and a good portion of the globe.
Again, most of the 1790's Republicans, the top dogs, were slave-owning gentry who dished out propaganda that the Federalists were 'moneyed aristocrats'. The Federalists believed in meritocracy and most Abolitionists were Federalists in that era. Who are the real elitists and oligarchs here?

- Obsession with the Classics and racialist hegemony.
Tom Jefferson was a staunch proponent of Anglo-Saxon supremacy and had, even for those times, a over-bearing veneration of the Old Roman Republic(ruled by slave-owning plantation owners like himself).
Today's Neocons, who have taken over the consensus of the Republican Party with their fundamentalist Christian fellow-travelers, have many of their ideologues who were students and/or influenced by the classical scholar Leo Strauss. Although Strauss was opaque in his teachings and didn't concern himself with economics and foreign policy, he taught that 'modernity' lead to tyranny and only the men of ancient Greece and Rome knew what was correct for society. The men of the classics, Strauss believed, wrote and spoke in 'code' that only they could understand. This hidden elite in a liberal democratic society, had to co-opt and lead the 'People' via smoke and mirrors and give the People their Bread n' Circuses and religious fervour to protect the cloaked elites. If there was not an *Enemy* - an enemy had to be created. 'Islamofascism' is the created enemy by the Neocons, as 'monarchists' were that of the Jeffersonians.
Neocons, many of them, have adopted a neo-imperialist foreign policy called the 'Anglosphere'. They proclaim that only the nations founded by Anglo-Saxons have a monopoly on the memes of liberty, freedom, democracy, that has its roots in the Magna Carta. All the other nations, even those on the European continent that are more democratic than any nation of the English speaking ones, are subject to throw themselves in the arms of dictators and whatnot, according to the Neocons. It is the Anglo-Saxons' burden to push the memes of 'democracy' and 'Free Market' on everyone else, even with bombs and troops. Besides, this is the 'end of history'.

These are the major similarities between the Republicans today and those under the Sage of Monticello. It is now up to the Democrats(who formerly boasted about being the ancestor of Jefferson) to take the Federalist torch with both hands. The torch was passed to them with the New Deal, but they dropped it and must pick it up again with vigor and energy. Reagan was right when he said that the Republican Party was the "children of Jefferson". Let the GOP have him as Papa.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Shenanigans of the plain dressed

When I read that Thomas Jefferson as President adopted plain dress, plain manners while he always lived in the lap of luxury, makes me think of the fad that some rich campus kids adopt in attire to dress down, agrify and proletarianize their clothing,i.e., flannel shirts, ripped jeans,dirty T-shirts, John Deere regalia, etc. Hamilton, TJ's nemesis, was a flashy dresser his entire career. Having grown up poor in the West Indies, he undoubtedly didn't find any reason to don rags as an adult when he could always wear threads that were better and colorful. To put it in early 1960s English terms, Jefferson was a 'Rocker' and Hamilton was the 'Mod'. Mods and Rockers fought over clothing fashions of their day. Rockers preferred the dirtball leather look, as the Mods tried to dress to the nines. Given that many Mods came from the working-class, they didn't see any sense in looking dirty as the Rockers went out of their way to do. The Rockers retorted that the Mods were class-climbers and sell-outs to the bourgeoisie.

Here was an immigrant flashy dresser - Hamilton - having Geo. Washington's ear in the 1790s about his notions of nation-building, prompting the plain-dressed patrician Virginia planters like Jefferson to be overwrought with jealously. Certainly TJ viewed Washington as a "traitor to his class" for endorsing Hamilton's nationalist and centralizing program; at Washington's death in 1799, Vice President Jefferson didn't attend the commemoration ceremony of the Greatest American.

Another plain-dressed man who hated Alexander Hamilton with a passion was John Adams, the 2nd President. His hatred probably made Jefferson's look benign. Adams was a brilliant lawyer and played an early role in the Revolution, yet he always felt in his vanity that other people were stealing his role in history, namely Washington and Hamilton. Whilst Washington didn't want to be President and did so out of responsibility, Adams felt that he was entitled to the executive office. Even when he attained it, John Adams became increasingly paranoid about Hamilton and was prone to irrational rages. Adams believed that negotiating an end to the Quasi War with France was his finest Presidential achievement. It is more likely he sought peace based on his jealously of Hamilton, now Major General of the Army, getting glory and fame that would surpass his own. The XYZ Affair made Adams popular; without Hamilton in the Army there is little doubt that he wouldn't had made later those 'bold' peace initiatives with France. For all of Adams' deep scholarship, the 2nd President was a slave to his passions, and his chief one was hatred of Hamilton. Even following Hamilton's death in 1804, both Adams and Jefferson continued wallowing in their animosity of him, re-writing history of the struggles in the 1790s to give them both a benevolent role, whilst Hamilton was portrayed as an evil genius.Both Adams and the Sage of Monticello had the 'Old Men' snobbery and resentment of New Men, and played very loose with the truth regarding the early years of the Republic. That they both outlived Hamilton 22 years to the day, they had a free hand in writing the history of that era without any rebuttal.

Too many historians used the Jefferson-Adams correspondence as references since then.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Problems with the Floating Tariff

Reiterate here that I have no faith, entertain the notion, that tariffs are a magic wand solution to the current economic morass. I find tariffs as mere tools for national economic re-development and a check on the power of the cosmopolitan OverClass that is taking my country down the commode. Without proper financing and coordinated public-private policy, tariffs can be rendered useless. Tariffs should never be used to eliminate foreign competition, investment and create and endure specific industries that will tend to become monopolized and lazy. Capital needs direction, however, and that direction should come from and for the common good that is geared for a harmony of interests of both the Few and the Many.

The Floating Tariff concept is an idea that I would personally not like tread, but it can be a compromise, used for a trial period to see how it works. Fixed rate bilateral tariffs work the best in my view, but tariffs that float is worth a look see. In all analysis, I see problems and bugbears that can arise, and it is needed to address these shortcomings.

Will China still 'piggyback' the dollar if tariffs are also pegged to the fluctuating value? This is a pertinent question since the piggyback of the Yuan on the Yankee dollar seems increase the trade disparity. On the surface, China will more than likely jump off since the amount of tariffs they will pay are yoked to the US Dollar will increase in periods and may take away the urge to even try to piggy-back. Instead, they may run their own currency independently, or try to piggyback the Euro or Yen. But then again, they would probably want to stay on the Dollar when it runs high and play a game of on and off. Either way, China will have to pay somewhere in the game.

Some nations will want the Dollar low, others like the Asian Tigers who are dependent on exporting goods into the United States, will most likely want the value high to beat the tariff. If the Treasury Bond window is closed, they won't have much desire as before to maintain a low Dollar. It maybe necessary to open the Treasury Bond window time to time to keep the equailarium up if the dollar is running too high for any length of time.

Another problem would be that companies exporting into the United States would perhaps be at a loss how to price their projects since the dollar-tariff is always fluctuating. Some may fear they will market products low and lose money, or market their product at a time of higher tariffs that lower by the time they hit American shelves. This would be a legitamate reason why not to employ a floating tariff and an argument for the preferered fixed-rate.

However, with the semi-floating rate tariff that's adjusted quarterly, this would not be too much of a problem in commerce marketing. The Dollar seldom fluctuates radically one way or another in a three month period, so neither will tariffs that are pegged to the Dollar. Since those importing nations factor in the fluctuating dollar anyway in pricing, it would not cause undo duress by marketing their goods based on the re-set rate of the fiscal quarter that they are in, or they could speculate what the next quarter's rate will be. What losses caused by a floating tariff will not be that grand. Theorhetorically, the push and pull of the US Dollar on the international currency exchange will render it roughly stable in value. This may be an argument for having the tariff to float fully free without a quarterly re-set based on the previous trade deficit or revenue surplus generated.

What if those nations on the Euro, Yen, etc, get the same idea and adopt a floating tariff linked to their currency? That could create a currency speculation bust and boom and really be cut-throat, friction maximus. Yet such happening could be beneficial in the long term and could single handedly put the bullet in the head of the globalization monster and Free Trade. At least the Japanese would have no reason to adopt the floating tariff since it is already a high protectionist, neo-mercantilist economy as are most of their Asian neighbors. America and Asia have a co-dependency on one another; there is no other place on Earth that they can market their exports that has the Consumer power than North America and the EU nations. Mercantile nations have to have exports to survive and thrive, so they will pay the tariff regardless if it is fixed or floating. If the USA uses the tariffs to re-industrialize and compete with Asian made goods - Japan and China would feel the 'pinch' ultimately, but the ball would be in their court to enact lowering of their domestic walls: American trade negotiators can always say that our tariffs are based on the currency market's waxing and waning anyway and is not directed at really any economic sphere or nation. If they don't like the tariffs and rival competition - good luck finding another market. Otherwise, they can adopt the floating principle of tariffs too, and tear down some of their existing walls to give Yankee products a chance to compete with them on their turf, as their goods compete with America's on theirs.

Some Democrats are haggling over attaching labor and environmental provisions to future free-trade treaties such as Peru and Columbia. This may seem like a step in the right direction to some,yet nobody is raising the issue about the senselessness of having free-trade treaties with developing nations in the first place. Free Trade has never turned an agrarian developing nation into a first rate economic power. Developing nations have taken advantage of others that had free-trade economies and pursued a mercantilist, high-protectionist format.

Instead of nit-picking about another nation's environmental and labor laws, Democrats need to support and push the Surcharge Bill sponsered by Congressman Michael Michaud of Delaware. The said Bill's provisions call for an immediate revenue tariff when the trade deficit grows higher than 2% of GNP. The trade deficit is currently at 6% of GNP entitling the President to slap an immediate 20% import surcharge. THAT is a step in the right direction. This is also in full compliance under the rules of GATT. Bush naturally will veto the bill if it passes, but this can make tariff/trade a vibrant issue for 2008. The Dems need more issues-meat besides Iraq and health care.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Riding the Floating BUS...

Reading the latest at American Prospect Online, fairly much sums up what I have ranted previously on about people who call themselves 'liberals' in the mainstream are some of the biggest pimps for TINA around:

Feature James K. Galbraith, son of liberal economist icon, John K. Galbraith. Galbraith II scribbles an article at American Prospect pleading for economic populists to "get with reality"(accept globalization/Free Trade). James spends the duration of his column slamming populists, yet claims to be a "populist's populist" himself. The man hand rings for everyone to "stop fighting NAFTA" and bashing China and just accept that laissez-faire is here to stay. Populists in America should focus on getting one-legged, single-parent, heroin addicted transvestites service-oriented jobs, according to folks like Galbraith.

Galbraith, James K., ignores the reality that the Free Trade economy has frozen wage growth in the USA for over thirty years, that overall GNP growth is related to domestic manufacturing, and the 'reality' that the predator Overclass - that as a liberal he detests - has made out like bandits at everyone else's expense since Free Trade has become dogma in America. The son of John Kenneth Galbraith is just another stooge, kinder and gentler Free Trader, in the Bill Clinton/Robert Rubin/Tom Friedman mode. For all of his pleas about reality, his claims in being a 'populist' is quite surreal, out to lunch. James K. Galbraith is the archetype of the type of liberal that the Democrats do not need. Undoubtedly, Jimmy G. is campaigning to join the next Democratic Administration, and they would be wise to keep this man out. Let the Republicans monopolize TINA and be the sole pimp of that whore. Democrats need a return to their New Deal roots and be a true alternative, be real economic populists, proud trade protectionists. James K. Galbraiths and fellow travelers need not apply.

More outlines on the *floating Tariff* -

There are many strategic ways to tackle this such as a full floating tariff or a semi-floating tariff pegged to the floating US dollar. Implementing it would be tricky in the first place, and certainly it is not a perfect solution anyway. Frankly, I like the semi-floating tariff and a crude draft of it would be something like this:

Implement the floating tariff at the beginning of a fiscal quarter calculated at a rate to a projected valued trade balance based on the mean of the Dollar and let it float with the dollar's rise and fall. A High Dollar on the market will reduce the tariff rate, the Dollar riding lower will raise the tariff. At the end of each fiscal quarter, audit the total trade revenue of imports and the revenue attained by the fluctuating tariff. If a trade imbalance is the result, reset the tariff rate to make up for the previous imbalance and let the tariff ride along with the Dollar until the next fiscal quarter, audit again. A tariff 'surplus' can be used many different ways such as paying off foreign holders of Treasury Bonds, public investment in new industries, reducing the national debt and so on.

The effect on foreign markets with the floating tariff will likely breed a consensus to keep the USDollar 'strong' to avoid paying a higher tariff rate. China and Japan, however, will no longer see high US Dollar surpluses if the dollar floats high and buying Treasury Bonds to fund the US Debt will dissipate. It may be prudent, anyway, to 'close' the Treasury Bond window to foreign investors: the tariffs accumulated will be used to pay the national debt, and repay foreign holders of T-Bills. The schedule of payments will also be based on the 'floating maxim' :the more tariff revenue the more the return. Thus, this would be a dichotomy. There would be just as much reason to keep the dollar low so re-payments will accelerate, but a high dollar will mean lower tariffs. Any which way the boat is floated, it benefits everyone in some way. Domestically,a high dollar will check the rate of inflation even with tariffs, and private investors will be more willing to keep their money at home and invest in capital and re-tooling with the dollar having more value. When the dollar falls, tariffs automatically rise to generate more revenue. Since it is pegged to the floating rate of the dollar, inflation fear mongers will be likely just crying wolf. And need we remind them that Free Trade has never stopped the rate growth of inflation anyway.

The goal should be to get the USA self-sufficient and fiscally responsible again. A floating tariff, that everyone pays, will squelch cries of it being unfair and the like. That a tariff is based on market currency value should appeal to more than a few free-market purists and protectionists alike, and I believe it to be a practical compromise.
The money generated from tariffs whilst it be variable &floating or fixed& static, can not only be used to perfect a balance of trade, pay off the national debt to manageable proportions, re-capture sterling credit, but used for a public-private re-industrialization of the United States. To return the USA to a manufacturing based nation again and away from the low-wage service and consumer oriented economy, the Federal Reserve System has to be restructured into a chartered *Third Bank of the United States*. Contrary to accepted belief, the Fed is not a 'National Bank' - it is almost totally privately owned and managed and has no checks on it's power or policies. The very fact that this privately operated edifice controls the money supply independently is a clear violation of the Constitution. Libertarians want the Fed destroyed for this reason. The need is to make the Fed into a true National Bank - something that America has not had since Andrew Jackson broke up the second-charter of the National Bank in the 1830s.

The structure of the 3rd Bank of the United States, BUSIII,should be completely under the umbrella of the Treasury Department, and the directorate of BUSIII will include both private and public officials to operate it, the public and private checking one another. Each director is approved by Congress that gets BUSIII into compliance of constitutional 'implied powers'. The accounts of the National Bank are audited weekly, both by an independent private auditor and a public appointed one. Congress has the power to request audits at anytime regardless. The minutes of any meeting of BUSIII officials are to be made public within three days of said meeting. Congress can remove any BUS III official it deems as corrupt.

All federal revenue collected will be placed into the Bank of the United States to generate interest. The proposed federal budget of any fiscal year will be submitted to BUS for compatibility of existing funds and returned to Congress with recommendations. The primary function of BUS will be to dish out loans to private manufacturers to build industries and to re-tool existing manufacturers based on Congressional approved fair living wages and benefits, demand that 51% of corporate stock be employee- owned; compliance with existing environmental regulations. Any recipient of a BUS loan deemed not in compliance with above will be declared insolvent and the loan will be called in. If repayment is not met, BUS will foreclose on said loan and auction the property of the foreclosure.....

Tariffs, a National Bank, internal improvements', self-sufficiency; dedication to the public good - this is the Federalist Tradition of the United States, what made America great and what can make it great again in the economic-commercial sphere. This is the alternative to the current globalist gnosticism.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Corn Chips, French Fries,floating.....

As tariff-less trade between *equals* proves that there can not be any leveling to put the nations economically on par with one another in utility, we have seen that taking Free Trade to an underdeveloped- agrarian nation such as Mexico has been catastrophic. Noted is that the Zapitista uprising in the Mexican countryside began the same day that NAFTA became official. Their already precarious agricultural base was totally wrecked with a stroke of a pen. Naturally, the dispersed peasantry of Mexico surged across the Rio Grande in search for work which subsequently kept real wages in the USA depressed, further benefiting the feudal-corporate Overclass of America.

Regardless of what walls are erected on the southern border, as long as that monster of NAFTA continues its ugly tread,the illegal immigrant diaspora will continue. Especially with the *biofuels industry* driving up the price of corn and overall food prices. The staple of the Mexican diet is corn tortillas and for the first time the Mexican people are finding it difficult to pay for their subsistence food. Put another notch on the rebuttal stick that Free Trade "keeps food prices low".

The Free Trade/ agriculture destruction link is nothing new. The first nation to implement Free Trade as policy was Great Britain with the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s. John Bull's shift to Free Trade coincided with the worldwide potato blight of the same decade. The reality is that Ireland was the only country that suffered a famine because of the potato blight. The Spud was also a staple with the peasantry on the European continent, but few starved there during the years 1846-49 when the potato failed globally. Other food stuffs were available for relief, and the nations on the Continent didn't wait for the "market to correct" hunger like England did for Ireland. It would be ludicrous to blame laissez-faire for the potato crop failing, yet the policy of it that Great Britain adopted is what induced the devastating famine of deaths(assessed at one to two million) and evictions that created mass immigration out of Ireland. The famine coupled with the repeal of the Corn Laws drove aggregate food prices higher for the common people of England; wages were depressed because of the influx of lower-skilled Irish laborers flooding the manufacturing labor market.

The myth of the 'horrid' Corn Laws persisted in Great Britain for generations following. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Joseph Chamberlain wanted to scrap Free Trade. Though a Tory, a unapologetic imperialist and a wealthy manufacturer, Chamberlain was a reformer and pushed for a 'imperial preference tariff' to protect English industries and farmers. The laissez-faire Liberals then used the Corn Laws as a scare tactic to convince the English that tariffs would raise the prices of their wheat and other staples. Fear prevailed, the Liberals won a landslide election, and Chamberlain was dismissed as a populist crank. Actually, if they would had listened to Chamberlain, Great Britain could had probably avoided the things that caused their Empire's demise decades later, such as World War 1. Chamberlain also wanted an alliance with Germany, and such an alliance, in theory, would had prevented the Guns of August of 1914 - where the imperial cream of the British human crop was ground into hamburger at Flanders Fields and on the Somme.

Chamberlain's later counterpart in the USA could be H.Ross Perot, who's protectionist message was also dismissed as cranky populism by 'liberals' such as Clinton, Gore, and Jimmy Carter. This demonstrates that even when conservative-capitalists assault the dogma and leveling attributes of laissez-faire,they are scorned and shat upon by forces who label themselves 'progressives'.

* * * * *

The Bretton Woods System was launched for post-World War 2 recovery of Europe and was based on the gold-reserve, fixed rate Yankee dollar. The designers of Bretton Woods erroneously thought that the Great Depression was caused by trade protectionism, and thus thought balanced trade could be manipulated by raising or lowering the said fixed-rate of the US dollar. This system seemed to work for most of the 1950s but Europe and Japan were still rebuilding and the Leninist States were closed off to international markets. So US global economic hegemony of the Fifties was primarily unchallenged due to circumstances. Further Trade liberalization was pursued by the Kennedy Administration, when if anything, Washington DC should had been alert that the Bretton Woods status qua was breaking down due to the fact that Western Europe and Japan were booming, and Europe developed their own Common Market to compete on par with the USA. Riding the Yankee dollar, they then held a surplus more than the redeemable gold reserve value to cover it. Hence, the floating rate that we have now. Tariffs will not solve all or even most of economic problems, but if one knows the necessity of 'balanced trade', one idea is to develop a floating tariff rate to complement the floating currency rate? When the dollar falls, aggregate tariffs rise, vise versa.

Though I much prefer fixed-rate reciprocation geared to revenue generation, tariffs do not have to be a one size fits all prescription. Protectionists need diversity. The idea of floating tariffs could probably get a few more monetarist oriented economists - who ordinarily detest tariffs - on board protectionism. This idea would also grounded by the 'market principles' that Free Traders think that they have a monopoly on. The Market is older than Ricardo, Adam Smith and Fred Flintstone regardless.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Tariffs are the Equalizer

Many of the 19th Century tariff protectionists such as Friedrich List were not dogmatically so. List believed that protective tariffs were essential for a developing manufacturing economy, and following industrialization the industrialized nations should develop trade liberalization with one another, or 'Free Trade'.
Wilhelmine Germany followed List's advice nearly to the letter of his program outlined in National System of Political Economy: Bismarck built high protective walls in the 1880s and by 1900 Germany was industrially on par with Great Britain in most figures. Thereafter, Germany began reducing tariffs so that by 1913 their aggregate tariff rate was 13% - one of the lowest in the industrial world at that time. By the time of the Great War of 1914, many of the goods on English shelves had 'Made in Germany' on them. This is a clear lesson rebutting the notion of dreamers such as Bastiat that Free Trade prevents armed conflicts between nations as well as the fiction that unhindered trade between nominal 'equals', works.

For instance, the biggest trade dispute going on at the moment is between the USA and Canada - two roughly equal 1st World countries that border one another. Serious disagreements regarding lumber and subsidies,etc. has got the Canadian government up in arms and will take it to the WTO at the end of the summer.Some say that a trade war may result between these two nations who have had a de facto Free Trade agreement with one another for twenty years. Yet the disparities of it have grown and the hidden hand of the market has yet to 'correct' these. Some Canadian folks have an amusing and apt bumpersticker on their cars: *NAFTA - Not Another Free Trade Agreement!*

Free Trade treaties, even between economic powerhouses, seemingly creates more disputes than any tariff rate ever did. After tariffs are reduced or eliminated, they then go through a nation's internal apparatus and seek to cut out what they dub as NTB's - Non Tariff Barriers - such as subsidies, licencing,inspections etc. NTB's is relatively new in the jargon of international trade officials and the force behind it are cosmopolitan globalist corporations who feel that anything in their way to make the most profit as quickly as possible for themselves must be destroyed. Whether it is intentional or not, their end result is geared for the elimination of sovereign nation- states - a nation's right to regulate aspects of their economy within its own territory.

The solution to the dispute between USA and Canada is to admit that FTA/NAFTA/WTO is no way to do business with one another as we have seen clearly. Free Trade must be scrapped immediately and instead pursue trade policies of reciprocal revenue tariffs, say 15%. It is not NTB's that need to be eliminated, but the entire concept of NTB's itself. It is not another nation's concern how another subsidises their agricultural and manufacturing edifice. I say 'revenue tariff' because both Washington DC and Ottawa needs revenue. Since USA/Canada are the largest trade partners with one another, free-trade is depriving each government of copious funds. Corporations should not be the only people making money off of trade bonanzas. Tariffs are not 'beggar thy neighbor' - it is an agreed 'toll'. Free Trade is buggering thy neighbor.

'Tariffs cause inflation!' is the scare tactic that Big Business and their stooge Free Trader economists have used for over two centuries. The reality is that historically this has not been the case. During the late 19th Century when America had tariff rates of over 40% in most years, data has shown that aggregate prices remained rather stable. In fact, the problem in that era was deflation, not inflation. If a nation has competitive domestic markets, the impact of tariffs has little to do with overall long-term prices. And guess what? America has been a Free Trade economy since 1973 and we have had inflation running unabated since then at variable rates. Inflation has grown higher under Free Trade than it ever did when the USA had high tariff walls! This, the Laissez-faire crowd has never been able to explain, or they don't address this phenomena because it busts their own myth that tariffs are the root of inflation. And again, there are more heated trade disputes under the current Free Trade globalist organizations than there ever was when most nations had protectionist based trade dealing with one another. Bilateral tariff reciprocation is 'Fair' trade: 'You pay 15%, and I pay 15%' What's the problem?

Canada and USA must pursue a policy of re-industialization/competitive protectionism within their own respective nations by dirgiste methods. The way to do it is through said revenue tariffs that will fund it and keep the burden of financing internal improvements directly off Canadian and American taxpayers.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Night at Ronnie's Playhouse...

The Ten Stooges - GOP Presidential aspirants - gathered at the Ronald Reagan Library last night to wallow slavishly in the Reagan personality cult and continue the Big Lie of the "greatness" of Bonzo. Now that Bush II's Neocon regime has the approval of less than 30% of the nation, the Republicans are trying to re-discover their existential selves and have to find a hero, role model. It shows their intellectual poverty that they have to resort to the false and undeserving Reagan cult;the GOP today has bankrupt ideas and they lick the posterior of the man who bankrupted the country.

The Presidential library that they should have gathered at was the Eisenhower one in Abilene, Kansas. Ike was the last Republican President to balance a budget, btw, and every one of the 10 Stooges claims to be a *fiscal conservative*. Yet they congregated at the Library dedicated to a man who was the most fiscally irresponsible President in the history of the United States. The Eisenhower Era was the decade of high growth with scores of Americans becoming upwardly mobile and joining the middle-class. Reagan began class war on the middle class in the 1980s, something that has not abated to this very day. Eisenhower was a realist who tried to manifest detente with the USSR; Reagan, though not a neocon himself, let all of these neoconservative thugs into his Administration, plus the Bible Beater -Religious Right. These two factions, along with supply-sider pyramid schemers / Vienna School predators, are what is essentially wrong with the GOP, and Republican Party candidates are too daft to realize it. They are the cosmopolitan corporations' bought and paid for candidates anyway, though so are many of the Democrats.

How far the GOP have fallen from their roots that they are trying to find. The Party of Lincoln used to be also the faction of the American School of economics which was previously oriented in the economic policies of Hamilton and the great Whig, Henry Clay. When the Robber Baron Social Darwinists took over the GOP in the late 19th Century, Teddy Roosevelt led the Progressive charge to get the party back and had limited success. The free-market predators returned to the GOP helm in the 1920s and busted the economy with their low-interest credit speculations(sound familiar?). The Democrats took over the American School consensus with the New Deal in the Thirties, and every GOP Presidential nominee until 1964 accepted the social-market that FDR created, kept the reactionaries and free-market boobs on the margins within the party.

There used to be such a thing as a *Liberal Republican* but such a creature is nearly extinct. Rudolf Giuliani, for example, may be inclined to social-issues liberalism, but has no economic and foreign policy thoughts of his own. He is an empty vessel waiting to be filled by Neocons and globalist free-market maniacs. And whoever thinks that John McCain is a "maverick" has obviously not been paying attention. He's an out and out Neocon and always was, and has been proven to be corrupt.

Picking Reagan's Library for a soriee is enough proof for me that the GOP is not interested in rediscovery of their 'roots', and hopefully they will get their clocks cleaned in 2008 across the board.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

History: " I do quite fine and thrive without You."

1789 was the year of triumphalism with America's Jeffersonian Democrats as 1989 is *Year One* for Neoconservatives. Both factions proclaimed these hallmark years in their own way as an end to history and the alpha of a new-world order. Few were sad to see the old regime of titled aristocrats go in 1789, and neither were many people sorrowful to witness the collapse of the Leninist States of eastern Europe two hundred years after the French Revolution.

Noted is both revolutions went south with a spirit of Jacobinism. The Jacobinist hue of Neocons is that of 'privatization' globally to guillotine any nation's public venture into their own economy and send American troops if necessary to enforce it. I think, for instance, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in '91 and would have announced that he was putting up the Kuwaiti oil fields up for auction to international petroleum companies, he would had been spun as a 'liberator' by the State Department and the Press and nothing would had been done to remove the Iraqi Army from Kuwait. Same applies to Slobodan Milosovic. If he wouldn't had resisted privatization from the global edifices and had endorsed "free market solutions" for Serbia, the alleged 'Balkans Butcher' wouldn't had been removed from power and he could had killed as many people as he wished without a whisper of protest.

The triumphalism of 1789 led the Jeffersonians to believe that the people of the French Revolution could do no wrong even when the Revolution went sour with the Terror and many in the National Directory began speaking of a global empire under the slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity. This was quite alright with Thomas Jefferson in those days. Ironically he and John Adams accused the foreign policy Realists such as Hamilton of 'Ceasarism' when TJ's beloved French Revolution collapsed into the rule of Napoleon and conquered most of Europe and he set the Emperor's crown on his own and head. The 'end of history' in effect become a continuation of the old order with just different memes involved than before.

Refuted again here is that Hamilton could be accused of being a pre-neoconservative. If anything, AH had more in common with Realpolitik in foreign policy than he ever did with crusading forms of international policy. In the 1790's, Hamilton realized that the Great Powers of Europe would not have respect for, the best interests of the United States at heart regardless of what form of governments that they had, monarchies or sister republics. Hamilton was pessimistic that a clash between the Great Powers and the USA could be avoided but sought to stave off the conflict as long as possible. To prevent the clash, he sought to avoid entangling military alliances but simultaneously get America strong economically and militarily.He pushed for a strong Navy and a standing peace-time Army to largely deaf ears and howls of protests (from even among Federalists, such as John Adams) that he had hankerings of Ceasarism.

Hamilton's assertion that the Great Powers would never respect a weak and decentralized America was borne out with both Britain's and France's impressment of American sailors and attacking it's merchant marine fleet. When it looked as if war with the French Republic was nigh during the 'XYZ Affair', Hamilton was appointed Inspector General to build the Army. His military planning consisted of ultimately removing European colonialism from North America. His vision of the Western Hemisphere of being a conglomeration of independent nation/states didn't have a Bonapartist hue to it, but a pressure of necessity of the time. Hamilton accepted the reality of the European empires - he just wanted them as far away from the USA as possible, buy one off against the other to maintain this long arm's reach if need be.

Hamilton opened himself up to accusations that he was a "British agent" by trying to develop a spirit of detente with the British Empire. The truth is that he was not an Anglophile per se. Neither did he share the Jeffersonians' Anglophobia and mocked TJ's "womanish attachment to France". Hamilton believed neither in *special relationships* with foreign powers nor creating enemies unnecessarily. Hamilton knew that America was lucky to have won the War of Independence, and knew that Great Britain could crush the USA anytime it desired to. To prevent this, America had to have steady trade relations with Britain, maintain if all possible strict neutrality regarding European Wars, use custom duties on British made imports to build up our own economic infrastructure and have a strong peacetime armed forces.

It has been said that Realpolitik is an amoral Machiavellian foreign policy. Hamilton's version of it always had as the core common denominator the independence of the new United States in heart and mind. Though it is true that he was a hawk and wanted America ultimately to be on the same level of the Great Powers of his day , AH was not a militarist or a romantic. He didn't want a 'Prussia on the Potomac' and never desired America's military to be a mobile global edifice to spread ideas of governance by force such as 'democracy' and the 'free market' as the Wilsonian neoconservatives/neolibs champion today. And the Hamiltonians always looked at economics nationally, always minding their own store first. What another country's internal economic policy is, is not another nation's business.

Neither of these years, 1989 or 1789, spelled the 'end of history'. History continues on, and the universe is not concerned what humans on Earth assign Utopian ideals to any solar year. There is no 'World Spirit' to play referee in the shadows either. This, the Jeffersonian-Jacobins,the Bolsheviks, Fascists, and Neocons have never realized.