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Archive for the ‘Protectionism’ Category

Progressives No Longer Believe in On-person, One Vote

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 16, 2010

Blog reader Jim Mahoney sent in an AP article this morning that is beyond belief, link included below.  Here’s a brief review of the story.

Port Chester, New York is a town of about 30,000 with half being Hispanic.  No Latino was ever elected to any of the six trustee seats.  These seats, until now, were chosen in the old-fashion American way, by popular election.  It seems that since most that voted were white that white candidates always won.  Normal logic might say that should the Hispanics choose not to vote, that is their loss.  But Progressives don’t have normal logic and actually do not believe in the Democratic system or for that matter the Constitution.

In 2006 the federal government alleged that the existing system for electing trustees was unfair not because it was, but because the outcome of the elections did not match what Progressives believe to be fair.  Federal Judge Stephen Robinson ruled that the outcome violated the Voting Rights Act and approved a remedy called cumulative voting where residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates.

For your ruling, Judge Robinson., you are due a Knucklehead of Year Award.  At the same time thank you for reminding us why Progressives are so dangerous.  Thank you also for making the Tea Party such an attractive alternative to your fellow Progressives in Washington.

As Jim Mahoney said:   “Well, there’s no need for voter fraud when you just institutionalize the practice.”

AP Article in Full

Posted in Constitution, Protectionism, Voting Rights Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FREE TRADE, the WTO AND SUBSIDIES

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 22, 2010

Carl has written a response to an article posted on this Blog in September, 2009, Watch out for Protectionism.  It includes very good points so it is posted in full below.  Thanks Carl.

FREE TRADE, the WTO AND SUBSIDIES. This story reminds one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite descriptions of what happens when the Federal Government gets involved with a once profitable and productive industry: they tax it, they regulate it and end up subsidizing it!

WSJ: The Madness of Cotton (May 2010)

The Feds Want U.S. Taxpayers to Subsidize Brazilian Farmers….

U.S. cotton farmers took in almost $2.3 billion dollars in government subsidies in 2009, and the top 10% of the recipients got 70% of the cash. Now Uncle Sam is getting ready to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for another $147.3 million a year for a new round of cotton payments, this time to Brazilian growers.

We realize that in today’s Washington this is a rounding error. But the reason for the new payments to foreign farmers deserves attention. If it becomes a habit, it is unlikely to end with cotton.

Here’s the problem: The World Trade Organization has ruled that subsidies to American cotton growers under the 2008 farm bill are a violation of U.S. trading commitments. The U.S. lost its final appeal in the case in August 2009 and the WTO gave Brazil the right to retaliate.

Brazil responded by drafting a retaliation list threatening tariffs on more than 100 U.S. exports, including autos, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, electronics, textiles, wheat, fruits, nuts and cotton. The exports are valued at about $1 billion a year, and the tariffs would go as high as 100%. Brazil is also considering sanctions against U.S. intellectual property, including compulsory licensing in pharmaceuticals, music and software.

The Obama Administration appreciates the damage this retaliation would cause, so in April it sent Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro to negotiate. She came back with a promise from Brazil to postpone the sanctions for 60 days while it considers a U.S. offer to—get this—let American taxpayers subsidize Brazilian cotton growers.

That’s right. Rather than reduce the U.S. subsidies to American cotton farmers that are the cause of the trade fight, the Administration is proposing that U.S. taxpayers also compensate /Brazilian/ cotton farmers for the harm done by the U.S. subsidies. Thus the absurd U.S. cotton program would dip into the Commodity Credit Corporation to pay what is a bribe to Brazil so it won’t retaliate.

Talk about taxpayer double jeopardy. As Senator Richard Lugar (R., Ind.) said recently, the commodity credit program was established to assist U.S. agriculture, “not to pay restitution to foreign farmers who won a trade complaint against a U.S. farm subsidy program.”

Mr. Lugar wants the subsidies to U.S. farmers cut by the amount that will have to be sent to Brazil. He adds that a better option would be to take on the trade-distortions of the cotton program. “I am prepared to introduce legislation to achieve these immediate reforms,” he wrote in an April 30 letter to President Obama.

This is probably tilting at political windmills, since Mr. Obama has shown no appetite for trade promotion, much less confronting a cotton lobby supported by such Democrats as Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln. (CEH: she’s now in a runoff primary for her Senate seat)

But we’re glad to see that at least Mr. Lugar is willing to call out the absurdity of U.S. taxpayers subsidizing foreign farmers to satisfy the greed of a few American cotton growers.

Posted in Free Trade, Government Ineptness, Protectionism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Eric Holder Admits Arizona’s Immigration Law is Not Racist

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 13, 2010

Shortly after Arizona passed its new immigration law, the Progressives went on the attack.  President Obama, the Progressive-in-Chief, made the following comments:

“That includes, for example the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.”

“We can’t start singling out people because of who they look like, or how they talk, or how they dress.”  …..  “We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens, and law-abiding immigrants, into subjects of suspicion and abuse.”

Remember when the President advised America not to jump to conclusion about the Fort Hood killer and Islam’s role in the carnage?  He would be well advised to take his own suggestions relating to Arizona’s new law.  This law does not allow profiling or unlawful police checks.  But more to the point, Obama’s own Attorney General, Eric Holder made the following statement on last weekend’s “This Week” interview with ABC’s Jack Tapper:

“I don’t think it’s racist in its motivation.  But I think the concern I have is how it will be perceived and how it perhaps could be enacted, how it could be carried out.  I think we could potentially get on a slippery slope where people will be picked on because of how they look as opposed to what they have done, and that is I think something that we have to try to avoid at all costs.”

So it seems that Obama and others are not really concerned about the law but how it is “perceived”, “could be enacted” or “carried out”.  Those concerns could be expressed about any law.  Isn’t that what judges and defense lawyers are for?  Should we use these lame standards no law would pass the acid test.

The Progressive’s protests of immigration reforms are not as altruistic as they often claim.  It’s about power and votes.  Their policy of offering government handouts to legal and illegal immigrants is an efficient means of buying votes.  But that assumes the immigrants come and are allowed to stay.  Yes, Chicago politics have gone national.

Posted in Eric Holder, Immigrants, Protectionism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

America: a Great Country with Great People – Colonel Allen West

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 31, 2010

Sometimes those of us who are concerned with that direction America has taken in the last couple of decades lose sight of the larger picture.  We see the growing public deficits and loss of moral courage in government and the private sector and allow them to cloud our view of the overriding good that is America.

Today, two associates shared with me separate items that helped put things in a more realistic perspective and I would like to share them with you.  First, a quoted from the Associated Press by e:

“A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears”.

Let us not get lost in the fear of what Pelosi, Reid, Obama and the rest of the Progressives continue to preach.  Let us instead need to focus on implementing positive change and that brings me to a video that has gone viral on You Tube, a speech by Colonel Allen West who is running for Congress in Florida, linked below.

The Republican Party has lost its way since the mantle was passed by Ronald Reagan.  We need new blood with a passion to bring this country back to the correct path.  With a younger generation like Colonel West starting to “percolate”, there is reason for optimism.  Remember, it took the high-priest of Progressivism, Jimmy Carter, to bring us President Reagan.

Posted in Colonel Allen West, Conservatism, Protectionism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Alan Dershowitz & the Fallacy of Progressivism

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 24, 2010

Alan Dershowitz is a renowned law professor from Harvard University and also a Progressive in the truest sense.  However, yesterday Mr. Dershowitz wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that included some very anti-progressive views.  It is a worthy read.

Dershowitz outlines the dangers of allowing Iran to go nuclear.

  • The gravest threat faced by the world today is a nuclear-armed Iran.
  • There are several ways in which Iran could use nuclear weapons.  The first is by dropping an atomic bomb on Israel, as its leaders have repeatedly threatened to do.  Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran, boasted in 2004 that an Iranian attack would kill as many as five million Jews.
  • But there are other ways in which a nuclear-armed Iran would endanger the world.  First, it would cause an arms race in which every nation in the Middle East would seek to obtain nuclear weapons.
  • Fourth, it would embolden the most radical elements in the Middle East to continue their war of words and deeds against the United States and its allies.
  • And finally, it would inevitably unleash the law of unintended consequences:
  • In these respects, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is somewhat analogous to the decision by the victors of World War I to allow Nazi Germany to rearm during the 1930s.

It is not often that I agree with Alan Dershowitz, but on this subject we are in lock step.  There are few good options when it comes to Iran.  However, allowing them to go nuclear is the worst for reasons stated by Dershowitz.

Dershowitz does not stop at outlining the dangers of a nuclear Iran.  He then take offs after the Progressive-in-Chief, Barack Obama, comparing Obama to English Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain who appeased Hitler.

“Most people today are not aware that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain helped restore Great Britain’s financial stability during the Great Depression and also passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits, pay pensions to retired workers and otherwise help those hit hard by the slumping economy.  But history does remember his failure to confront Hitler.  That is Chamberlain’s enduring legacy.

So too will Iran’s construction of nuclear weapons, if it manages to do so in the next few years, become President Barack Obama’s enduring legacy.  Regardless of his passage of health-care reform and regardless of whether he restores jobs and helps the economy recover, Mr. Obama will be remembered for allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.”

While Dershowitz is correct on his assessment of how history will judge President Obama should Iran go nuke on his watch, Dershowitz fails to take the discussion to the next step: the complicity that he and other Progressives have in this unacceptable result.

Progressivism is more than a few programs or policies.  It is an overall philosophy that includes making individuals subservient to institutions.  It believes in a world order over the independence of countries.  Let us not forget that one of the fathers of Progressivism, Woodrow Wilson, helped give the world the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles.  These, coupled with fellow Progressive Neville Chamberlain, helped set the stage for World War-II.

Yes Mr. Dershowitz, one of “The gravest threat faced by the world today is a nuclear-armed Iran”.  But instead your fellow Progressives are focusing on Global Warming and socializing American healthcare in a drive for evermore governmental authority of individuals.

There are only limited ways to guarantee Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.  They include some sort of outside interference in Iran’s affairs ranging from assisting its citizens in regime change to direct military intervention.  None can be done under the spineless United Nations.  All require some sort of preemptive action, the type Progressives have ranted against long before George W. Bush even became president.

Mr. Dershowitz, you stated: “And finally, it [nuclear Iran] would inevitably unleash the law of unintended consequences. How true!  However, unintended consequences come in many forms and for many reasons.  Over the years you have often used your intellect to often justify and promote Progressive causes, alongside many others in the academic world.  The success of these actions affected the perceptions of some Americans, tilting the Country in a more Progressive direction, one reason behind the election of Barrack Obama as President.  Intended or not, it is a consequence.  While your words in the Journal are eloquently put, it’s tough to put the genie back in the bottle.

Posted in Iran, President Obama, Progressives, Protectionism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pelosi: Pass Healthcare Bill Then to Learn What’s in It

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 11, 2010

Nancy Pelosi made a statement earlier this week that offers a revealing look into the way Progressives think when she indicated that we the people will need to wait until after healthcare reforms are passed before we will know what we are getting.  Translating this Progressive speak into plan language, the Elitists in Washington that will write the bill know better than the American people as to what’s good for us.  And, the Elitists don’t have to tell the voters what we are getting in advance of committing to reforming one sixth of the economy.

For those readers that think this story is too outrageous to be true, Ms. Pelosi’s words and a video of her words are supplied below.  Just image if Sarah Palin would have said something as outrageous as this.  Unbelievable, arrogant  and so sad!

“You’ve heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other.  But I don’t know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention—it’s about diet, not diabetes.  It’s going to be very, very exciting.

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking at the 2010 Legislative Conference for National Association of Counties, 3/9/10

Posted in healthcare reform, Nancy Pelosi, Protectionism | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Watch Out for Protectionism

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 15, 2009

globeWhen economic conditions are good, free trade is easy to sell to the public.  With increasing trade between countries, economies grow and more total jobs are created worldwide.  During more challenging economic times, free trade is a more difficult sell.  If people find it difficult to locate jobs, they often look for magic bullet solutions.  Politicians are eager to supply snake oil to satisfy their constituents.  Protectionism is one of the elixirs supplied.

The problem with the protectionist solution is that it does not lead to prosperity, but in fact hampers it.  An often cited example is the Smoot Hartley Act of 1931.  During the Depression the United States began penalizing imported products in an effort to save jobs and protect American businesses.  That set off a worldwide round of tariff increases as other countries retaliated making a bad economy even worse.  In war, once you fire the first shot it is difficult to predict the outcome.

This past weekend President Obama fired the first shot in a potentially new tariff war.  The United States imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese made tires.  The Chinese supplied about 17% of the tires sold the United States last year, most in the lower end of the market. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Free Trade, Protectionism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »