Industries Still Heading for Mexico

Industries Still Heading for Mexico
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton 21 years ago, has certainly spurred many manufacturers to close plants in the U.S and build new ones in Mexico. This is precisely what opponents of NAFTA, including The John Birch Society, expected and predicted.

Ford Fiesta MK5 TDCi X100, photographed in Warsaw, Poland. Emblem on the front grille. (Photo by Marcin Mincer, some rights reserved.)

In April 2016, the list of closed, or soon to be closed, factories in the U.S. grew larger when the Ford Motor Company announced its plan to build a new assembly plant in Mexico to produce its Focus compact vehicle and its C-Max hybrid. Company officials said Ford would possibly begin production of its trucks and sport utility vehicles at the Wayne, Michigan plant which will soon be vacant. Workers are holding their breaths hoping that Ford actually does what is merely a possibility at this point.

Ford admitted that it will pay Mexican workers less than half the $29 per hour workers in Michigan have been earning. Ford’s Chief Executive Mark Fields stated, “At the end of the day, we are a multinational company, and we will do what’s best for business.” Claiming that his company had added 25,000 jobs during the past eight years, he nevertheless announced that Ford intends to move more manufacturing to China and elsewhere. United Automobile Workers union leader, Dennis Williams condemned the Ford decision while blaming it on NAFTA.

The move by Ford parallels similar planned moves to Mexico by Toyota, Kia, and Audi. General Motors has already built a huge plant in Mexico to produce its automobiles. Eighty percent of the vehicles produced in Mexico are exported from Mexico, most of them into the United States.

While campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama targeted NAFTA saying, “One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA.” He also lambasted Hillary Clinton for her claim that “NAFTA has been good for New York” during her campaign for a Senate seat. In 2016, GOP candidate Donald Trump has made NAFTA one of his targets, even promising to have the pact repealed. And President Obama, no longer a foe of NAFTA, is anxiously working to have Congress approve the NAFTA-like Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TPP will accomplish for 12 Pacific nations what NAFTA has done for Mexico. The TTIP would effectively have the United States join the sovereignty-compromising European Union.

The 20-year-old NAFTA pact filled 2,000 pages and covered far more matters than just trade, even establishing a tribunal whose decisions on trade matters have unfavorably impacted American companies. The pact additionally sets environmental standards for the three nations. It amounts to an economic and political revolution.

Yes, NAFTA is a job destroyer for Americans. But it also waters down U.S. sovereignty, something quietly desired by many of its creators and partisans. NAFTA should be repealed. And Congress should reject immersion into the TPP and TTIP.

If America continues down the road already shown by NAFTA and favored by President Obama, third-world status will soon be America’s fate. Contact Congress today to tell them to vote no on the TPP and TTIP.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Foreign Meddling in U.S. Politics

Foreign Meddling in U.S. Politics
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

As president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, Vicente Fox disappointed both his countrymen and his neighbors in the United States. Concerned Americans were already feeling the effects of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that spurred the flood of migration into the U.S. It also paved the way for relocation of numerous industries and countless jobs to Mexico after its passage.

President George W. Bush, Mexico’s President Vicente Fox and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, stand in front of the Chichen-Itza Archaeological Ruins Thursday, March 30, 2006. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt.

Soon after his surprising election victory that broke a 70-year stranglehold on the Mexican presidency held by the the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), Fox became Mexico’s leading cheerleader for NAFTA, even, as the Wall Street Journal noted, calling for it to become “something like the European Union.” In 2002, he told an audience in Spain of his goal: “Eventually our long-range objective is to establish … an ensemble of connections and institutions similar to those created by the European Union.”

NAFTA opened the floodgates for U.S. factories to close their doors and head for Mexico’s lower worker pay. Many U.S. workers lost their livelihoods and the bleeding hasn’t stopped. General Motors will soon open a huge automobile production facility in the middle of Mexico. But the harm done to U.S. manufacturing and workers isn’t the only negative aspect of NAFTA because America’s sovereignty is at stake should a Fox-backed plan to merge Canada, the U.S., and Mexico into a North American Union materialize. That would constitute a huge step toward building a Western Hemisphere union similar to the European Union that has already compromised the independence of its 28 member nations.

Based on his statements and performance, it’s easy to classify Vicente Fox as a world government booster. But many in England are now backing a plan to have their nation quit the European Union. Other Europeans are reconsidering their entanglement in the EU because they increasingly realize that the pact they thought was merely a trade agreement has become their de facto ruler. The rush toward a “new world order” has been slowed in Europe but Fox has cheered building it in the Western hemisphere.

It comes as little surprise, therefore, to hear Fox outspokenly injecting himself into current race for the presidency here in America. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has stirred Fox’s ire with his plan to build a fence along the Mexico-U.S. border and to have Mexico pay for it with tariffs on Mexican goods heading north. Trump has also pointed to the cascade of drugs and crime that entered through the America’s porous southern border.

From his home in south-central Mexico, Fox has brazenly called on Americans to reject Trump. He adds that Hillary Clinton will “save” the U.S. from a “Trumpist nightmare” and that Donald Trump is “making the United States look very bad.”

Trump ought to remind Fox that his own people thought so little of the leadership he gave them that millions fled to the United States.

Foreign leaders are certainly entitled to their opinion regarding candidates for office in other countries. But they ought to keep their choices to themselves. In this instance, however, Vicente Fox’s openly stated choice of Hillary Clinton and his distaste for Donald Trump will likely help swell support for the real estate mogul in his bid for the U.S. presidency.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The Pacific Trade Agreement is an Attack on Sovereignty

The Pacific Trade Agreement is an Attack on Sovereignty
by JBS President John F. McManus

In 1958, six European nations agreed to participate in what was then termed a “Common Market.” Fifteen years later, several additional countries in Europe joined and the relationship became known as the “European Community” (EC). In 1986, the EC expanded to 12 nations and the term “European Union” (EU) supplanted the previous label. Now the EU has become the dominant political and economic governing body for 28 formerly independent European nations.

More tools available at our action page (Image from www.jbs.org).

There were warnings about what was taking place. In 2003, Czech President Vaclav Klaus objected to the proposed EU Constitution. He stated: “This is crossing the Rubicon, after which there will be no more sovereign states in Europe.” He was ignored.

That same year, British authors Christopher Booker and Richard North released their important book “The Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union.” They termed the EU “a slow-motion coup d’état.” Their book received the silent treatment.

In 2004, Mike Nattrass, a leader of Britain’s United Kingdom Independence Party, thundered, “The EU was sold to the British people as a trading agreement and turned into a political union which is changing our basic laws and traditions.”

And in 2007, former German President Roman Herzog lamented: “84 percent of the legal acts in Germany stemmed from [EU headquarters in] Brussels.” He concluded that his country should no longer be considered an independent nation.

In 2000, Mikhail Gorbachev, the ruler of the soon-to-be-abolished USSR, had raised a different type of red flag. While in Britain, he described the EU as “the new European Soviet.” Few took that revealing remark seriously.

It is now 2015. Led by President Obama, the United States has agreed to link arms in a trade agreement with 11 Pacific Rim nations. Labeled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the proposal has been promoted as a beneficial trade agreement that will enhance U.S. trade, counter China’s exports, create jobs here at home, protect the environment, enforce human rights, and more. But a close examination of what is known about this pact (no copies have been made available, other than what has leaked out) reveals that it is far more than a mere trade pact. Instead, it should be viewed as the beginning of a process similar to the one employed to create the European Union.

Negotiations leading to completion of this pact have been conducted in secrecy, even to the point of refusing to provide members of Congress with copies. Congress is given 90 days to mull over passage or refusal but no amendments are allowed because Congress has already given the President authority to forbid congressional changes. Not only that, TPP negotiators want to keep portions of the document secret for at least four years even if Congress okays it. Why any member of Congress would agree to all of this is somewhat mind-boggling.

Mr. Obama won’t admit it, but TPP is deigned to be the beginning step in a political and economic union that will result in our doing to itself precisely what has been done to 28 nations in Europe.

Members of Congress, both House and Senate, must hear from voters about this. If TPP isn’t rejected, a huge chunk of our nation’s independence will have been traded away. If asked, Gorbachev might even refer to a ratified TPP as “the new Pacific Soviet.”

Contact Congress today in opposition to TPP! Be sure to also call as that carries a greater impact than an email (Senate: 202-224-3121, House of Representatives: 202-225-3121).

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Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Gains in Right to Work Legislation

Gains in Right to Work Legislation
by JBS President John F. McManus

With both houses of its legislature approving a measure calling for an end to a labor union monopoly, and Governor Scott Walker signing it, Wisconsin recently joined 24 other states and became a “right-to-work” state. This means that Wisconsin has banned what is termed a “closed shop,” where an employee must join a union (or pay union dues even without formal union membership) if the labor union has been chosen as the agent for more than half of the employees in a particular site.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signs right-to-work legislation on March 9 (Image from Flickr by Gage Skidmore, Some rights reserved).

In recent years, both Michigan and Indiana preceded Wisconsin’s decision. Labor union power continues to decline. In the 1950s, approximately 35 percent of workers nationally paid dues to a labor union. By the end of the 1980s, that percentage had shrunk to less than half that percentage. And it has continued to recede. Part of the reason for the decline is traceable to factories closing down and fleeing overseas, encouraged to do so by NAFTA and other so-called trade agreements. When a factory closes, it hardly matters whether a labor union represents workers; they are no longer working. Some who lost their jobs have correctly figured out that liberals who support compulsory unionism are the very same individuals who supported the trade agreements, such as NAFTA, that cost them their employment.

During a heyday of union power in the immediate post-World War II years, Congress passed the important Taft-Hartley labor law. President Truman vetoed the measure but Congress successfully overrode his veto. Section 14 (b) of this law, always fought against by labor union leaders, authorized states to adopt right-to-work legislation. This provision permitted an employee to refuse union membership as a matter of choice. In states that never passed such legislation, an employee in a unionized place could refuse union membership, but he or she still had to pay union dues. Labor unions have traditionally been huge supporters – both organizationally and financially – of liberal politicians and causes. Forcing workers to pay union dues would mean that some who personally supported conservatives and their causes were being forced to support what they abhorred. Not much freedom there.

Labor unions certainly have a right to exist. If working conditions are intolerable, or pay rates are deemed too low, a person has two choices: a) quit that job and find another, or b) invite labor organizers to come and generate support for a labor union. But forcing people to join a labor union as a condition of employment, which remains the practice in half the states, should never be allowed. In some states, the right-to-work provision (the cancellation of compulsory union membership) exists as part of the state’s constitution. Other states, as in Wisconsin, don’t have such a provision in their constitutions and legislation has to be enacted to do away with compulsory unionism.

The state where union membership is least is North Carolina (2.9 percent) with Arkansas a close second. The state with the highest number of union members in its workforce is New York (23.2 percent) with Alaska a close second. The area of the nation where right to work prevails is the southeast. And this is where large corporations are building new plants and creating new jobs. Also, unemployment rates are lower in right-to-work states. Especially is this the case with automobile manufacturers who have established new plants in right-to-work states.

The issue boils down to compulsion versus freedom. In the United States, freedom is supposed to prevail. Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and 22 other states have shown themselves partisans for freedom.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


WSJ Promotes Anti-American Partnerships

WSJ Promotes Anti-American Partnerships
by JBS President John F. McManus

Frequently but wrongly categorized as “conservative,” the Wall Street Journal has long promoted internationalism and loss of sovereignty for America. Such anti-American thinking shaped policies by veteran Editor Robert Bartley who passed away in 2003. While holding his elevated post, Bartley didn’t hide his preference for internationalism and its socialist companion, the guts of neoconservatism. Years ago, he told former colleague Peter Brimelow, “I think the nation-state is finished.” Brimelow admitted being “thunderstruck” by that remark.

Under Bartley’s leadership, the Journal backed NAFTA, the European Union, the World Trade Organization, and even the never-enacted Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would have been another post-NAFTA step toward world government. Real conservatives remember him with deep suspicion for agreeing with Mexico’s President Vicente Fox that “NAFTA should evolve into something like the European Union, with open borders….” As far back as 1984, he even suggested a constitutional amendment that would unblushingly say, “There shall be open borders.”

Bartley may be gone but current WSJ editorialist Kimberley Strassel appears to be his disciple. After graduating in 1994 from Princeton University with a degree in public policy and international affairs, she accepted Journal posts in Brussels and London. Back in New York in 1999, she rose steadily and won elevation to WSJ’s Editorial Board in 2005. Her columns now appear in one of the paper’s coveted spots where she is currently promoting enactment of two so-called “free trade” partnerships, one with a dozen Pacific-rim nations (TPP) and the other with the 28 formerly independent nations of the European Unions (TTIP).

Strassel’s enthusiasm for these two NAFTA-like pacts includes strong backing for presidential “fast track,” the dubious grant of power known officially as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). This is the scheme that gives the President an enormous increase in power over international commerce by requiring Congress to cave in to the executive branch when considering trade pacts. If the President gains TPA, Congress is limited to merely a Yes or No vote on each pact. No amendments. Just hand over congressional power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations,” given in Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution. TPA is not only danger-filled, it’s unconstitutional. As Alexander Hamilton noted in Essay #78 of The Federalist Papers, “There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor under which it is exercised, is void.” But TPA was granted before when President Clinton relied on it as Congress caved in and passed NAFTA.

In her February 13th column, Strassel called on Congress to give TPA to President Obama so he could gain undiluted approval from Congress for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Her enthusiasm for these two huge pacts, both of which would severely impact U.S. sovereignty, includes her off-the-wall claim that congressional passage of Trade Promotion Authority for the President “gives Congress more say in trade talks – not less.” Just the opposite is the obvious truth.

Congress should not grant TPA to the President. And when TPP and TTIP come to Congress, members should say, “No.” If that happens, there might follow a successful move to repeal NAFTA, the 1994 pact that has cost the jobs of millions of Americans, contributed mightily to the opening of our borders, and moved America a sizable step closer to world government, the new world order.

Readers of the Wall Street Journal who still value U.S. independence must be on guard for neoconservatives like Strassel who seem determined to terminate the nation-state, certainly including ours.

Learn more at our Choose Freedom — Stop the Free Trade Agenda action project page.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Unemployment and Job Figures Aren’t Truthful

Unemployment and Job Figures Aren’t Truthful
by JBS President John F. McManus

The U.S. Department of Labor recently claimed that the number of unemployed workers in America has shrunk to 5.6 percent. And the same source claimed that 252,000 new jobs were created during the month of December and everyone should cheer the success of the Obama administration. Shouldn’t we all be delighted with these numbers?

The real unemployment rate is 11.2 percent, exactly twice the published figure (Image from Flickr by Sean MacEntee, some rights reserved).

But there are problems with these claims – big problems. Plenty of seasonal jobs are created during the end-of-the-year, pre-Christmas buying spree. They don’t last. Celebrating temporary seasonal job growth as though it were permanent is dishonest.

Secondly, the unemployment figure doesn’t count the many Americans who have ceased looking for work after months of trying to find a job. Nor does it count others who have part-time jobs instead of the full-time employment they formerly enjoyed and would surely prefer. The statisticians compiling the government’s figures don’t include all of these individuals. If they did, the real unemployment rate swells to 11.2 percent, exactly twice the published figure.

A nation’s economic vitality – including decent-paying jobs – depends on manufacturing. A nation whose people are making things is a nation where wealth is being created. But the number of manufacturers in our country continues to shrink. Everyone knows that the stores are full of imported goods made by others in faraway lands. So, too, are many other items made outside the U.S. when they were formerly manufactured by Americans.

America’s wealth-producers took a huge hit after enactment of the 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 1993, the U.S. had a $1.66 billion trade surplus with Mexico. After NAFTA, the surplus disappeared, replaced immediately by a $15.8 billion deficit that has grown to more than $60 billion per year. The jobs that Americans formerly held haven’t returned. Many more have ended up in China where the U.S. trade deficit has ballooned to more than $80 billion per year.

The Obama administration has customarily provided dishonest unemployment figures. But the President and his team are now seeking congressional passage of two additional NAFTA-like trade agreements, one with Pacific-rim nations and the other with the European Union. If these two pacts are approved by Congress, the already bad unemployment situation will grow even worse.

Follow these links to contact Congress and tell them to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). And messages sent to elected officials ought to demand honesty from the bureaucrats who habitually paint the nation’s economic situation with rosy colors when honesty calls for quite the opposite.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Say No to Dangerous Trade Pacts

Say No to Dangerous Trade Pacts
by JBS President John F. McManus

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center sought the public’s attitude about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) intending to greatly link the U.S. with 12 Pacific nations and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that would deeply tie our nation with the bloc of nations known as the European Union. Both pacts will soon be considered by Congress. To say the least, the Center’s findings were mixed.

Two-thirds of those polled favored trade in general, while fewer than 25 percent believed that trade pacts created jobs and boosted wages. Yet, asked about the TPP and TTIP specifically, about half of the respondents expressed approval and half were skeptical.

Facts are more important than the attitudes of the public, however, especially when the public has little awareness about the loss of jobs because of previous trade pacts. Most Americans know that jobs have indeed been lost but few know that a 20-year-old trade pact largely led to the losses. The 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) paved the way for saying good-bye to approximately 5 million jobs. It also established judicial tribunals whose rulings now supersede decisions handed down by American courts, a development that has shocked even some of NAFTA’s previous supporters. A hard look at both TPP and TTIP shows that they threaten to worsen both of these problems.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist. Yet he is cautioning colleagues about the TPP because he sees in it a great deal more than just tariffs on goods. The liberal Washington Post correctly claims that the agreement deals with “a broad range of regulatory and legal issues,” that can impact foreign policy and even domestic lawmaking. Sanders rightly insists that TPP “is much more than a free trade agreement.” If he understands this, other senators and congressmen can see it as well. But most think only in terms of increased trade, which is what the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stress. Numerous labor unions, environmental groups, and global health organizations have also registered opposition because the pact deals with matters of concern to them.

A further complicating factor regarding these pacts is President Obama’s desire to be awarded “fast-track authority” for speedy approval of both. Such a grant of power would bar Congress from debating and amending the pacts, allowing only a “Yes” or “No” vote on each. Sanders reminds colleagues that the Constitution grants Congress sole authority “to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” not the Executive branch.

The Socialist from Vermont might be dead wrong on some issues but he’s correct in this instance. And the high and mighty so-called capitalists at the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce are wrong. Congress should never cede its constitutional prerogatives by granting “fast-track authority” to the President. And both the job-threatening and foreign-entangling TPP and TTIP should be rejected. Let Congress know today!

 


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.