THE CAFTA LOSS—AND BEYOND
First thing last Thursday morning (July 29) I learned the axe had fallen: the House had passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) by a vote of 217-215, the slimmest margin ever for a trade accord, following a “15-minute” vote held open for an hour and not ending until past midnight—not ending, that is, until the pro-CAFTA forces got what they wanted.
Word gradually filtered out about deal-cutting and arm-twisting on the part of the Bushies. And tales of “irregularities” that probably ought to be investigated. How, for example, did Charles Taylor’s (R-NC) voting card get deactivated so that it would fail to register what he insists would have been a No vote, with no one catching the error until long after he’d left the Capitol building?
Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.) was also a probable No to CAFTA. She had left the building shortly after 5 p.m. because of another commitment. How was it possible that she managed to drive sufficiently far that she couldn’t return to vote by midnight, when everyone knew by 8 p.m. the vote was going to happen that night? Three hours until 8 p.m. (in rush hour traffic) vs. four hours until midnight (after rush hour traffic)? Something is wrong. Do the math.
Robin Hayes (R-NC) had first voted No, then switched his vote to Yes in the closing minutes following a promise by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to protect textile jobs in his district. In Hayes’s account, Hastert told him, “We need this vote very badly. We have exhausted all our potential sources and we need your vote. In order for you to vote for us we will do whatever we need to do in your district for people to keep their jobs.” Hayes reported telling him he “needed new protections for his district’s textile producers and workers.” Hastert said he’d “do his best.”
Hastert denies that account. As reported in the Charlotte Observer, Hastert said, “I did have a discussion with Robin Hayes. But Robin Hayes ultimately talked to his textile people. They encouraged him to vote for the bill ultimately.” The Observer went on: Hayes’s constituents are “entitled to ask what the heck happened. Rep. Hayes, send us 800 words or so explaining exactly what benefits your district will get for your vote, and we’ll tell them.”
Hayes’s was, in fact, the vote that put CAFTA over the top. Had he voted No, the result would have been a 216-216 tie! Had just one of those two would-have-been No votes been recorded, CAFTA would have been defeated.
Twenty five Republicans, including of course the ever-reliable Ron Paul (R-TX), defied the Bush Regime and voted No.
Only 15 Democrats voted Yes. The rest voted No. Most voted No for the wrong reasons, but never mind that now.
I attended a meeting on CAFTA in Spartanburg, S.C., on Monday, July 25. Our Representative, Bob Inglis, had planned to meet with his constituents. Mostly, his constituents talked and he listened. While he listened, informed citizens of South Carolina’s 4th District presented three logically independent lines of criticism of CAFTA. Logically independent here means: any of the three, by itself, was sufficient for saying No to CAFTA. Mr. Inglis, who used that meeting to announce his decision to support CAFTA, had no response to any of them. I have yet to hear any backer of CAFTA respond to them. What you hear from the backers of CAFTA are technicalities about pockets and linings, and red herrings about China (as if something other than our trade policies and our government’s micromanagement of the economy weren’t responsible for industries going to a Communist dictatorship for cheap labor).
Here are the criticisms:
One. CAFTA was sold to Congress and to the public with the same arguments used to sell the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA went into effect, and a trade surplus with Mexico vanished almost overnight and became a huge trade deficit. Thousands of American manufacturing facilities have now closed. Millions of good-paying jobs have been lost, replaced by low-paying “services” jobs. The old jobs very likely will never return. Our trade deficit is now approaching $800 billion, as America’s middle class shrinks and we spiral down toward third world status.
Moreover, NAFTA was supposed to improve Mexico’s economy. Instead, the lack of decent-paying jobs in Mexico (plus the Bush Regime’s refusal to lift a finger to protect our Southern border) is one of the reasons thousands of illegal aliens enter this country every day. Arguably, NAFTA was a disaster for both countries.
CAFTA is just an expansion of NAFTA, as its supporters readily admit. Expect jobs to begin migrating to Central America soon.
For both an overview and many specifics of the economic suicide this country has embarked upon over the past twelve or so years since the super-elite agenda went into overdrive, I recommend maverick economist Paul Craig Roberts’s article archive. On second thought, suicide doesn’t employ the right metaphor. Murder comes closer, if you also read investigative journalist William Norman Grigg’s short but hard-hitting treatise America’s Engineered Decline.
Two. CAFTA is a direct threat to U.S. sovereignty—expanding the foreign entanglements created by NAFTA and our membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), through which we have already sacrificed some of our sovereignty.
CAFTA’s supporters have consistently brushed this argument off. I cannot believe they have so much as glanced at the document (which is online, after all). Many of us took time to study selected portions of CAFTA. Its Preamble, as has been pointed out numerous times by myself and others, clearly indicates that CAFTA is about more than trade.
Consider the very first provision: “Strengthen the special bonds of friendship and cooperation among their nations and promote regional economic integration” (emphasis mine). This is a serious red flag, simply because the idea of an economic system not subject to governmental oversight hasn’t been on the official radar screen in over 70 years. Regional economic integration means regional governmental integration. We are talking about the inevitable creation of a hemispheric megastate along the lines of the European Union (EU).
Thus the final provision: “Contribute to hemispheric integration and provide an impetus toward establishing the Free Trade Area of the Americas” (first emphasis mine; second, in original—see more about the Free Trade Area of the Americas below).
There it is, in black and white: the overt threat to U.S. sovereignty. There’s no “conspiracy theory” here. The architects of CAFTA were quite open about their intentions—for those who went to the trouble of actually reading the document.
Mexico’s President Vicente Fox has openly endorsed hemispheric integration. Here are Fox’s words to an internationalist confab in Madrid back in 2002: “Eventually our long-range objective is to establish with the United States, but also with Canada, our other regional partner, an ensemble of connections and institutions similar to those created by the European Union, with the goal of attending to future themes [such as] the future prosperity of North America, and the movement of capital, goods, services, and persons.”
Not just trade, but open borders for a free movement of peoples, along with appropriate legal entanglements and protections, and bureaucratic oversight—penned and enforced by bureaucrats the American people did not elect.
We see right away why the Bush Regime has done nothing to stem the flow of illegal aliens across our Southern border despite the wishes of the majority of Americans.
If we examine various chapters of CAFTA, what do we find? Countless additional provisions for the prospective megastate’s bureaucracies. They have names like the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Matters (created by Chapter 6), an Environmental Affairs Council (created by Chapter 17, where Article 17.9 commits all CAFTA countries to Sustainable Development), a Labor Affairs Council (created by Chapter 16), a Financial Services Committee (created by Chapter 12), a Free Trade Commission (created by Chapter 19), and so on. In between are dozens of pages of regulations and calls for recognition of components of previous agreements including WTO and GATT 1994 mandates.
There are also sections under which foreign corporations (or, for that matter, foreign branches of American-based companies) could lodge complaints under CAFTA rules about “favorable treatment” given Americans by state and local American governments or American firms (Chapter 9). Nor have we mentioned cross-border trade-in-services provisions (Chapter 11), nor the loss of our independence to World Bank and UN tribunals created under CAFTA in various other chapters (Chapters 10, 20).
As we just noted, CAFTA incorporates Sustainable Development. Back to the Preamble: “Implement this Agreement in a manner consistent with environmental protection and conservation, promote sustainable development, and strengthen [the CAFTA nations’] cooperation on all environmental matters” (emphasis mine). [6 hr. Video on Sustainable Development]
How can anyone actually study CAFTA without concluding that the agreement is about managed trade, not free trade. More than that, how can anyone read CAFTA without realizing that the agreement is about control instead of trade???
Three. CAFTA is just plain unconstitutional.
First, let’s note how CAFTA (like its predecessor NAFTA) is called an agreement and not a treaty, because a treaty calls for two-thirds support in Congress. As a treaty, CAFTA would not have come close to passing. This is how backers of these trade deals circumvent Constitutional requirements.
Speaking of the latter, Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 3 specifically charges Congress with the responsibility to “regulate Commerce with foreign nations …” Article VI, moreover, specifies that the Constitution is “the supreme Law of the Land …” Nothing in the Constitution authorizes Congress to delegate or outsource its responsibility by means of international agreements to international bureaucracies not elected by the American people.
Strictly speaking, in that case, our government’s signing off on NAFTA was also unconstitutional, as are our entanglements with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
I know, I know—at this point someone will say to me, “But Yates, the Constitution is a ‘living, evolving document’ whose meaning changes with the pressures placed on it by changing times.” The problem here is with the results, which are that the Constitution does end up meaning whatever the Supreme Court’s latest majority, shifting with the winds of convention, says that it means. A “living Constitution” fails miserably at restraining the powers of government and protecting individual freedoms, including the freedom of property rights from, say, eminent domain abuses, as decisions such as Kelo abundantly testify. We might as well scrap the document. That would be the intellectually honest thing to do.
So what now?
First, it is important to realize what has been going on, because the truth is, CAFTA is minor league. CAFTA is just one step of a much larger process, the aim of which is to destroy this country. NAFTA was a slightly earlier stage of this process. Of NAFTA, Dr. Henry Kissinger, a longstanding member of the super-elite, once said, “It will represent the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War, and the first step toward an even larger vision of a free-trade zone for the entire Western Hemisphere.” NAFTA, he added, “is not a conventional trade agreement, but the architecture of a new international system” (emphasis mine). Dr. Kissinger is a member of the shadowy Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, whose goals have been to create the conditions for a socialist world government. Led by such bloodlines as Europe’s Rothschilds and America’s Rockefellers, this process has people behind it with very deep pockets!
The real fight now is to keep America from being destroyed by this globalist shadow government. The moment of truth is now very possibly just months away!
Until just over two years ago, there was no CAFTA. The super-elites convened in Miami, Fla., back in 1994, at the first Summit of the Americas. Out of view and with no reportage by the media, they instigated their plans for the now-infamous Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The ink on NAFTA’s thousands of pages was barely dry. They placed themselves on a ten-year timetable, beginning the following year. That made 2005 their target year for having the FTAA in place.
As time passed, the Internet developed. Information became increasingly decentralized. The super-elites could no longer control it. More and more people began to realize that you couldn’t always believe the priorities of the New York Times or the 6 o’clock news. A lot was simply not reported—especially if the six or so megaconglomerates that dominate the mainstream media (all of which have CFR members in controlling positions) don’t want the public to know about it.
Word leaked out. A sufficient number of patriotic Americans “unplugged,” and the FTAA began to incur grassroots opposition. National organizations such as Citizens Committee to Stop the FTAA were formed.
Sometimes you can take two steps forward; other times you take one step back.
In 2003, the Bush Administration concocted CAFTA as an intermediate step. A smaller agreement, it involved just six nations, whereas the FTAA draws together 34—all of the nations of the Western hemisphere, in fact, except for Cuba.
As we noted above, CAFTA actually says this of itself: it is a stepping stone to the FTAA, which would create the largest megastate in the world, extending from north of the Arctic Circle to the southern tip of Argentina.
One thing is for sure: the struggle to stop the FTAA just got harder. Now that the super-elite has CAFTA, we can expect efforts in behalf of the FTAA to accelerate. The elites know that there are pockets of activity out here in the boonies—away from centers of wealth and power like New York City and Washington D.C., that is—where we are working just as feverishly to oppose them.
That is, there are people out here who want to continue to live in a United States of America and take it back to the Constitution—the real thing, that is, and not the “living document” of legal positivists. We truly believe that a Constitutional republic still holds out the best hope for containing that minority that craves power if we have learned U.S. history’s most important lesson: keep the international bankers on very tight leashes. The super-elite is essentially an international banking and financial cartel, after all, whose members learned early that if you want to control an entire society, control its finances. If you want to destroy it, destroy its people’s founding traditions to weaken their defenses. Dumb them down, then undermine their ability to feed themselves. Control the flow of resources, jobs, etc. Lure them into debt. Make them utterly dependent.
An early President, Andrew Jackson, once called international bankers “a den of vipers.”
If we do not stop the FTAA we will live under a corporate-socialist Western Hemispheric Union modeled on the European Union, the final goal of the globalists being the union of those two. America as we know it will have ceased to exist. There will not even be lip service to Constitutionally limited government. Nor will there be meaningful private property rights or genuine free trade except perhaps for trivial purchases (CDs, paperback novels, movies, other sources of entertainment). Most likely, if such a system ever comes to pass every individual will be given a government ID card and be unable to buy a house, lease an apartment, open a bank account, accept a job or start a business without it.
In accordance with Sustainable Development requirements, we will find our living arrangements, employment, energy-use and travel constrained by government oversight; nor will we be able to take the vitamins or dietary supplements of our choice. (There are also provisions in CAFTA incorporating the rules of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, organized by the United Nations; under these rules basic vitamins require a doctor’s prescription.) Kiss your vitamins goodbye; kiss control over your health goodbye!
There is really no time to work through an alternative party to the Demopublicans, as desirable as that would be. But what we can do is highlight the extreme narrowness of the vote that put CAFTA over the top, the underhandedness of its supporters going all the way into the Bush Regime, their refusal or inability to answer obvious objections to CAFTA—and letting our Senators and Representatives who sold us out by voting for CAFTA know that their betrayal of this nation will be dealt with at the next election. And we must use the above “irregularities” and obvious contentiousness surrounding the CAFTA vote as itself a reason for them not to vote for the FTAA.
That is just the start. This is not about mere “reasons.” We are dealing with people who have proven they cannot be reasoned with. The campaign against the FTAA should involve Stop the FTAA signs on front lawns and both in and on automobiles. Anti-FTAA fliers should be made available everywhere. A number of states, to their credit, have already passed anti-FTAA measures. Arizona has done so. So has Utah. There have been stirrings of opposition to the FTAA in other states including Wisconsin, Oregon, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Montana. More should follow. Every state government in the Union ought to take this up. All of us should begin writing letters to our representatives in state government and to our state governors, educating them about the FTAA (many, I predict, will not have heard of it) and urging them to oppose it publicly.
Stopping the FTAA may well involve marches in front of the local offices of those who voted for CAFTA. We could find ourselves having to engage in civil disobedience, standing on our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to peaceful assembly when told by law enforcement to “disperse” or “move on.” Peaceful is emphasized in the last sentence because obviously no one can lose his temper or say or do anything an elected official can interpret as a personal threat! Irresponsible actions by one group of hotheads could be used by those in power as grounds for cracking down on all dissent!
It is important to remember that this nation’s sovereignty and independence are at stake here!
Of course, if jobs begin going to Central America as a consequence of CAFTA, this won’t be comfortable for those victimized but it will help our cause in stopping the FTAA and putting us on a path reversing the disastrous course of recent years.
those who say that such a strategy is futile, I invite you to write
up and submit your workable alternative. I believe we just saw what
lies ahead if we do not stop
© 2005 Steven Yates -
All Rights Reserved
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Steven Yates, Ph.D., is the most published professional philosopher in South Carolina. He teaches as a lowly adjunct instructor of philosophy at University of South Carolina Upstate (occupational punishment for his utter lack of political correctness and for pursuing issues from the standpoint of adherence to Constitutionally limited government, personal moral responsibility guided by a Christian worldview, and the rule of law as opposed to arbitrary rule by politicians, judges, and unelected bureaucrats). Later this month he will be joining the faculty at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, S.C., also as an adjunct.
He is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1994) and Worldviews: Christian Theism vs. Modern Materialism (delayed, but due out this summer). He also works on manuscripts with names such as In Defense of Logic and Philosophical Questions as well as on a science fiction novel, Skywatcher’s World. His articles and reviews have appeared on LewRockwell.com as well as NewsWithViews.com and other websites. He has also published in academic journals including Inquiry, Metaphilosophy, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Reason Papers, Public Affairs Quarterly, Journal of Libertarian Studies, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics and others. He recently held a year-long fellowship with the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala., has appeared at conferences ranging from the American Philosophical Association to the South Carolina Society for Philosophy, and made numerous talk radio appearances. He spoke on “The Real Matrix and Sustainable Development” at the recent 6th Annual Freedom 21 National Conference in Reno, Nev. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where he also directs the Worldviews Project and is a member of the S.C. Chapter of Citizens Committee to Stop the FTAA.
His blog is at:
In accordance with Sustainable Development requirements, we will find our living arrangements, employment, energy-use and travel constrained by government...