Silver Donald Cameron

Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Stop, Thief! That’s My Country!

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

January 4, 2009

What I want to know is, by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

The monkeys are the governments of Canada, the USA and Mexico – and what they are doing is, basically, stealing our countries, welding them together, and giving them to global corporations. Their instrument is the Security and Prosperity Partnership – which, astonishingly, continues to fly below the public radar screen, though its nature and purpose are perfectly well-known.

The SPP began in 2005, in – appropriately – Waco, Texas, where George W. Bush met with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. (Remember him?) The three agreed to “fast-track” the economic integration of the continent. In 2006, meeting in Cancun, the trio – Martin now replaced by Harper – created a North American Competitiveness Council, made up of 10 big-business CEOs from each country, who undertook to meet annually with senior government officials to discuss the corporate sector’s erotic fantasies about the new continental economy.

Notice that there’s no parallel Council of Citizens or Small Businesses. The governments are taking advice only from the CEOs of Ford, Lockheed, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Chevron, General Electric, Wal-Mart, Bell Canada, Scotiabank and the like.

They’re movin’ right along. An Alberta professor named Dr. Janine Brodie recently presented a paper on “Executive Power and the Privatization of Authority.” Now there’s a phrase. Brodie quotes Paul Cellucci, the former US Ambassador who berated Canada for not going to war in Iraq, as saying that “10 years from now, maybe 15 years from now we’re gonna look back and we are going to have a union in everything but name.”

Did you vote for that? No? Then by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

Last fall, my friend Wendy Holm, an agrologist and writer in BC, reviewed the report of a Competition Policy Review Panel appointed by the Harper government to identify the changes that Canada needs to make in preparation for full scale North American economic integration.

For starters, the Panel thought Canada should smile upon mergers of large Canadian financial institutions. We were being needlessly cautious, since “appropriate regulatory safeguards already exist to protect prudential soundness, competition and the public interest.”

Ah. Right. Those would be the safeguards which worked so well for Bear Stearns, Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch, etc., and so efficiently protected the public interest that the US taxpayer is now on the hook for something like a trillion dollars. The Panel also recommended that, when considering big mergers, the “net benefit to Canada” test be dropped.

Breathtaking. Canadian householders and taxpayers are already paying for innumerable corporate bungles – and the government of Canada is not even supposed to ask whether such financial engineering is in the public interest?

The Panel goes on to suggest that Canada should neuter its Competition Act, welcome increased foreign competition generally, reduce corporate taxes, and open up Canada’s airline, uranium and telecommunications sectors to increased foreign investment. These worthies also thought that Canada should harmonize product and professional standards and legal requirements with the US. In other words, if we have tougher health and safety standards than the US, ours should be weakened.

Did you vote for that? I thought not. So by what authority are these monkeys doing this stuff?

As an award-winning agrologist, Wendy Holm focuses on food and agriculture. She sees the SPP as a direct threat to Canadian farmers (who would lose the protection of supply-management regimes) and to Canadian consumers.

“Canadians have not put a priority on farm and food policy because as a nation we have never gone without,” Holm writes. “Embarrassingly, Canada remains one of the few nations in the world that does NOT have a national food policy. But things are quickly changing, and community discussions around peak oil, peak food, food security, food safety, food miles, food sovereignty and food democracy are moving that change forward.”

Under the SPP, such discussions will be pointless. Canada will have lost the right to create or enforce national policies in areas like food, energy, and investment. Removing that right is precisely the objective of the SPP.

Did we elect these monkeys to give away the country? No? Then by what authority are they doing this stuff?

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The End of the American Century

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

“I’m glad I have a property in Canada,” said my American neighbour, “because I know I have a place to go when the brown hits the blades in the States.”

Wait a minute. This is not some pinko dope-smokin’ hipoid radical kid. This is a prosperous middle-aged businessman, an armed forces veteran, whose general political orientation is probably Republican.

And yes, I heard such talk 40 years ago, when the US was in flames: inner cities burning, campus riots, an endless slaughter in Vietnam. Today, with a dishonorable war slowly being lost in Iraq and a lunatic presidency spoiling to start another one in Iran, you might expect the same symptoms. But they aren’t there.

True, many patriotic Americans are deeply sad and angry. Read the passionate anti-war speech by Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, for example, at http://www.slcgov.com/mayor/. But the Democrats are both complicit and cowardly, and the streets and campuses are not ripping out the country’s entrails as they once did. So what is my friend worried about? What does he mean?

“I’m not sure what I mean,” he replies. “But the United States has not discharged its responsibilities well either domestically or internationally, and my intuition tells me that we’ll be called to account for that. I don’t know whether it will be a lot more al-Quaeda attacks or what it may be. But I’m glad to have a place to go with my family.”

Well.

Soon after that, I read John Risley’s investment advice in Atlantic Business. Risley, you’ll recall, started out selling lobsters from the back of an old pickup truck. His Clearwater Fine Foods group is now the dominant player in what’s left of the Atlantic Canadian fishery. Risley is a very wealthy investor.

Risley’s first investment preference is Canada, with its natural resources, strong dollar, robust economy and orderly markets. But one should also diversify into foreign investments. He suggests looking first at London, which is “in the process of replacing New York as the world’s financial capital. Why is that? Because the global financial powerhouses can move talent from around the world to their London offices. The paranoia resident within the US immigration policy prevents that from happening in New York.”

Richard Florida makes the same point on a broader scale. In The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida argues that the driving force in today’s knowledge economy is human creativity, which flourishes in places that are tolerant, diverse, culturally and intellectually rich, hospitable to innovation.

Thus the US economy has been propelled by its ability to “energize and attract the best and the brightest, not just from our country but also from around the world.” Almost a third of the new businesses in Silicon Valley during the 1990s were created by immigrants from China or India. Enterprises founded by immigrants include Intel, Sun Microsystems and Google.

But, says Florida, Bush’s Washington “has stunned scientists across the world with its disregard for consensus scientific views.” Think about stem cells and global warming. Washington has also “inspired the fury of the world, especially of its educated classes, with its my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy. In effect, for the first time in our history, we’re saying to highly mobile and very finicky global talent, ‘You don’t belong here.’”

So the brilliant young immigrants who once competed for entry to Harvard and Berkeley are applying to Cambridge and Copenhagen – and Toronto. Foreign students in the US “complain of being hounded by the immigration agencies as potential threats to security.” Scientists report that they can’t hold international conferences in the US because foreign scientists can’t get visas. Even distinguished American scholars are emigrating.

These huge trends reflect millions upon millions of individual choices. A Cape Breton couple decides to fly to Nassau via Toronto rather than New York in order to take some food to their hosts and avoid the hassles and delays at the US border. A Brazilian family chooses not to vacation near the Grand Canyon. An small Italian company expands in Germany, not the US.

So there’s less demand for the US dollar, and it falls. Did the Canadian dollar strengthen? Yes, slightly – but this year the U.S. dollar has declined against 15 of the 16 most-actively traded currencies.

When George W. Bush took office, his neo-conservative buddies were touting a “New American Century” of world domination. American power seemed limitless. That was an illusion, of course, as unlimited power always is. But Bush behaved as though it were a reality. On his watch, the US has lost much of its power, economic, political, military and intellectual, along with its global good-will.

An increasingly-hostile world is learning to get along without the United States. The “New American Century” is ending. It didn’t even last ten years.

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