Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

12.13 Drugs Don't Kill People, Neoliberalism Kills People

12.13 English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal [Are similar tests of U.S. waters conducted by the EPA anymore? We think not...]

12.12 Ophelia Dahl’s National Health Service

12.12 Overfishing and climate change push seabirds to extinction

12.12 Macron awards US scientists grants to move to France in defiance of Trump

12.11 The Feminist Case For Single Payer [we lack for such sanity in U.S. media & politics]

12.11 Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from transport are highest on record

12.11 No more green rhetoric. A sustainable future is vital and possible [we lack for such sanity in U.S. media & politics]

12.11 North Atlantic right whales could become extinct, US officials say

12.11 Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death

12.11 Why did climate scientists emit 30,000 tonnes of C02 this weekend? [use teleconferencing instead!]

News Media Matters

12.10 A battle for public opinion: Trump goes to war over Mueller and Russia

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

12.13 African-Americans, Women Hand Republican Roy Moore Defeat in Alabama

12.13 Why I’m Calling My Reps to Ask For True Tax Reform That Benefits Those Who Need It

12.12 Mr. Mnuchin’s Magical Math on Taxes

12.12 Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump. Congress must protect his investigation

12.12 'No shame': how the Trump administration granted big oil's wishlist ["Legal bribing of government" ignores health & life on Earth]

12.11 The fight for the Dream Act is reaching its peak – but time is running out

12.11 Kansas's ravaged economy a cautionary tale as Trump plans huge tax cuts for rich

Justice Matters

12.12 The right-wing takeover of the US court system will transform America

High Crimes?

12.09 Women in sub-Saharan Africa forced into sex to pay hospital bills, study says [a health care system worse than America's!]

12.09 Israeli airstrikes kill two in Gaza as fallout from Trump decision continues [Palestinians are essentially unarmed prisoners, with only crude missiles that can't be accurately aimed]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

12.12 Who Broke the Economy? [might the recent template legislation from Koch bros.’ ALEC be implicated?]

International & Futurism

12.13 Muslim leaders declare 'East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine'

12.13 400,000 Children in DR Congo Are At Risk of Dying from Acute Malnutrition

12.12 Global Conflicts to Watch in 2018

12.12 France to impose total ban on mobile phones in schools

12.12 China building network of refugee camps along border with North Korea

12.11 The Corbyn Doctrine [we lack for such sanity in U.S. media & politics]

12.11 European governments refuse to follow Trump on status of Jerusalem

12.11 Nuclear annihilation 'one tantrum away', Nobel peace prize winner warns

12.10 Jared Kushner is wreaking havoc in the Middle East [Trump-Kushner-Salman-Netanyahu plan leverages weaknesses of Palestinians & Yemen for personal profits—what could go wrong?; U.S. State Department is purposely dysfunctional]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  When Americans No Longer Own America

COMMENTARY:

When Americans No Longer Own America

by Thom Hartmann
Ultimately, it's not about security—it's about money.
The Dubai Ports World deal is waking Americans up to a painful reality: So-called "conservatives" and "flat world" globalists have bankrupted our nation for their own bag of silver, and in the process are selling off America.

Through a combination of the "Fast Track" authority pushed for by Reagan and GHW Bush, sweetheart trade deals involving "most favored nation status" for dictatorships like China, and Clinton pushing us into NAFTA and the WTO (via GATT), we've abandoned the principles of tariff-based trade that built American industry and kept us strong for over 200 years.

The old concept was that if there was a dollar's worth of labor in a pair of shoes made in the USA, and somebody wanted to import shoes from China where there may only be ten cents' worth of labor in those shoes, we'd level the playing field for labor by putting a 90-cent import tariff on each pair of shoes. Companies could choose to make their products here or overseas, but the ultimate cost of labor would be the same.

Then came the flat-worlders, led by misguided true believers and promoted by multinational corporations.

Let everything in, and tax nothing....These policies have kneecapped the American middle class.
Do away with those tariffs, they said, because they "restrain trade." Let everything in, and tax nothing. The result has been an explosion of cheap goods coming into our nation, and the loss of millions of good manufacturing jobs and thousands of manufacturing companies. Entire industry sectors have been wiped out.

These policies have kneecapped the American middle class. Our nation's largest employer has gone from being the unionized General Motors to the poverty-wages Wal-Mart. Americans have gone from having a net savings rate around 10 percent in the 1970s to a minus .5 percent in 2005—meaning that they're going into debt or selling off their assets just to maintain their lifestyle.

At the same time, federal policy has been to do the same thing at a national level. Because our so-called "free trade" policies have left us with an over $700 billion annual trade deficit, other countries are sitting on huge piles of the dollars we gave them to buy their stuff (via Wal-Mart and other "low cost" retailers). But we no longer manufacture anything they want to buy with those dollars.

Instead of buying our manufactured goods, other countries are doing what we used to do with Third World nations—they are buying us, the USA, chunk by chunk.

So instead of buying our manufactured goods, they are doing what we used to do with Third World nations—they are buying us, the USA, chunk by chunk. In particular, they want to buy things in America that will continue to produce profits, and then to take those profits overseas where they're invested to make other nations strong. The "things" they're buying are, by and large, corporations, utilities, and natural resources.

Back in the pre-Reagan days, American companies made profits that were distributed among Americans. They used their profits to build more factories, or diversify into other businesses. The profits stayed in America.

Today, foreigners awash with our consumer dollars are on a two-decades-long buying spree. The UK's BP bought Amoco for $48 billion—now Amoco's profits go to England. Deutsche Telekom bought VoiceStream Wireless, so their profits go to Germany, which is where most of the profits from Random House, Allied Signal, Chrysler, Doubleday, Cyprus Amax's US Coal Mining Operations, GTE/Sylvania, and Westinghouse's Power Generation profits go as well. Ralston Purina's profits go to Switzerland, along with Gerber's; TransAmerica's profits go to The Netherlands, while John Hancock Insurance's profits go to Canada.

Foreign companies are buying up our water systems, our power generating systems, our mines, and our few remaining factories. All because "flat world" so-called "free trade" policies have turned us from a nation of wealthy producers into a nation of indebted consumers, leaving the world awash in dollars that are most easily used to buy off big chunks of America. As www.economyincrisis.com notes, US Government statistics indicate the following percentages of foreign ownership of American industry:

  • Sound recording industries—97%
  • Commodity contracts dealing and brokerage—79%
  • Motion picture and sound recording industries—75%
  • Metal ore mining—65%
  • Motion picture and video industries—64%
  • Wineries and distilleries—64%
  • Database, directory, and other publishers—63%
  • Book publishers—63%
  • Cement, concrete, lime, and gypsum product—62%
  • Engine, turbine and power transmission equipment—57%
  • Rubber product—53%
  • Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing—53%
  • Plastics and rubber products manufacturing—52%
  • Plastics product—51%
  • Other insurance-related activities—51%
  • Boiler, tank, and shipping container—50%
  • Glass and glass product—48%
  • Coal mining—48%
  • Sugar and confectionery product—48%
  • Nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying—47%
  • Advertising and related services—41%
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine—40%
  • Clay, refractory, and other nonmetallic mineral products—40%
  • Securities brokerage—38%
  • Other general purpose machinery—37%
  • Audio and video equipment mfg and reproducing magnetic and optical media—36%
  • Support activities for mining—36%
  • Soap, cleaning compound, and toilet preparation—32%
  • Chemical manufacturing—30%
  • Industrial machinery—30%
  • Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities—30%
  • Other food—29%
  • Motor vehicles and parts—29%
  • Machinery manufacturing—28%
  • Other electrical equipment and component—28%
  • Securities and commodity exchanges and other financial investment activities—27%
  • Architectural, engineering, and related services—26%
  • Credit card issuing and other consumer credit—26%
  • Petroleum refineries (including integrated)—25%
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments—25%
  • Petroleum and coal products manufacturing—25%
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing—25%
  • Commercial and service industry machinery—25%
  • Basic chemical—24%
  • Investment banking and securities dealing—24%
  • Semiconductor and other electronic component—23%
  • Paint, coating, and adhesive—22%
  • Printing and related support activities—21%
  • Chemical product and preparation—20%
  • Iron, steel mills, and steel products—20%
  • Agriculture, construction, and mining machinery—20%
  • Publishing industries—20%
  • Medical equipment and supplies—20%
It shouldn't surprise us that the cons have sold off our ports as well...they truly believe that a "New World Order" with multinational corporations in charge...will be the answer to the problem of world instability.
Thus it shouldn't surprise us that the cons have sold off our ports as well, and will defend it to the bitter end. They truly believe that a "New World Order" with multinational corporations in charge instead of sovereign governments will be the answer to the problem of world instability. And therefore they must do away with quaint things like unions, a healthy middle class, and, ultimately, democracy.

The "security" implications of turning our ports over to the UAE are just the latest nail in what the cons hope will be the coffin of American democracy and the American middle class. Today's conservatives believe in rule by inherited wealth and an internationalist corporate elite, and things like a politically aroused citizenry and a healthy democracy are pesky distractions.

Everything today is driven by profits for multinationals, supported by the lawmaking power of the WTO. Thus, parts for our missiles are now made in China, a country that last year threatened us with nuclear weapons. Our oil comes from a country that birthed a Wahabist movement that ultimately led to 14 Saudi citizens flying jetliners into the World Trade buildings and the Pentagon. Germans now own the Chrysler auto assembly lines that turned out tanks to use against Germany in WWII. And the price of labor in America is being held down by over ten million illegal workers, a situation that was impossible twenty-five years ago when unions were the first bulwark against dilution of the American labor force.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote of King George III in the Declaration of Independence, "He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation..." he just as easily could have been writing of the World Trade Organization, which now has the legal authority to force the United States to overturn laws passed at both local, state, and federal levels with dictates devised by tribunals made up of representatives of multinational corporations. If Dubai loses in the American Congress, their next stop will almost certainly be the WTO.

As Simon Romero and Heather Timmons noted in The New York Times on 24 February 2006, "the international shipping business has evolved in recent years to include many more containers with consumer goods, in addition to old-fashioned bulk commodities, and that has helped lift profit margins to 30 percent, from the single digits. These smartly managed foreign operators now manage about 80 percent of port terminals in the United States."

And those 30 percent profits from American port operations now going to Great Britain will probably soon go to the United Arab Emirates, a nation with tight interconnections to both the Bush administration and the Bush family.

Ultimately, it's not about security -- it's about money. In the multinational corporatocracy's "flat world," money trumps the national good, community concerns, labor interests, and the environment. NAFTA, CAFTA, and WTO tribunals can—and regularly do—strike down local and national laws. Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man" are replaced by Antonin Scalia's "Rights of Corporate Persons."

Profits even trump the desire for good enough port security to avoid disasters that may lead to war. After all, as Judith Miller wrote in The New York Times on January 30, 1991, quoting a local in Saudi Arabia: "War is good for business."


Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author of over a dozen books and the host of a nationally syndicated noon-3pm ET daily progressive talk show syndicated by Air America Radio. thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "What Would Jefferson Do?" and Ultimate Sacrifice.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story made reference to the ownership of American Bankers Insurance Group. This reference has been omitted because we have since learn that Fortis, mentioned as owner of that company, "spun off its U.S. insurance holdings in February 2004 through an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Its former U.S. holding company, known as Fortis, Inc., was renamed Assurant, Inc. Fortis no longer has any interest in Assurant or any of its subsidiaries, including American Bankers," according to Jim Sykes, director of corporate communications for Assurant Solutions/Assurant Specialty Property.


Reader Responses:

Right on Mr. Hartmann!
I have been screaming for years that we need jobs, not minimum wage either. Most products from China don't last and their electronics are dangerous, like Christmas lights, small electric heaters, etc. Our jobs are gone, Ford Motor and GMC gone, Delta airlines laying off thousands, five manufacturing plants (one my son worked at) in Griffin, Ga. CLOSED. My son is one of the hardest-working people I know, but he has been looking for work for six weeks now, can't get anything. My talents in life have been good, but now that I am 62 years old no one wants me as a paralegal or pharmacy tech, so I work at a hotel as a desk clerk for $5.15 per hour. My bosses are from INDIA. I have been gone from Atlanta for 15 years and just came back last year and I cannot believe the change. It is all over the country like this, and Washington has their blindfolds on. My gross income was under $10,000 last year; this is ridicoulous.I had heat for one month this winter because I could not afford propane. My Georgia representative here, Lynn Westmoreland, helped me with that so I got some more in February. Believe me, this country is not good for Americans anymore, and we do love America.

by Michelle Crandlemire



Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on February 28, 2006.

 

Public Service Ads: