International Politics

While waiting at my bank the other day (they were counting a jar of coins) I picked up a 4-page paper setting next to my chair. The bank is West Coast Bank and the “Economic Forecast” was by William B. Conerly, Ph.D. of Conerly Consulting LLC. The date of the paper was January/February 2010.

I have only a limited understanding of economics, although I did take a year of it while in college ever so long ago. One thing that caught my eye was the comparison of the value of the U.S. dollar side by side with the Oregon and Washington employment forecasts. As the employment numbers rose in the period 2006 into 2008, the value of the U.S. dollar dropped. When employment dropped in 2008 through 2009, the value rose; but then dropped again in the second half of 2009.

The forecast is that both Oregon and Washington employments have bottomed out as of the beginning of 2010 and will rise throughout this year (2010).

The second item that caught my eye was that the 10th largest Pacific Northwest Trading Partner is United Arab Emirates (UAE). It only took me a minute to grasp that this must be because they must have purchased a bunch of Boeing aircraft. A quick look through Google and I came upon this statement on a Boeing website: Emirates, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) main airlines, is the largest operator of Boeing’s 777. UAE has also ordered Boeing 6 C-17 cargo aircraft.

Let’s keep that oil money flowing back into our United States industries.

Mr. Conerly has quite a bit of information available on his site which you can get to HERE.

Afghanistan has a population of about 28,000,000 which is slightly more than the State of Texas. Afghanistan and Texas are about the same area.

One of Afghanistan’s most telling statistics is not its area or population but its Infant Mortality Rate. It is the 3rd worst in the world; 151 deaths per 1000 live births. Let me pile on the negative facts. The fertility rate is 6.53 births per woman, the 4th highest in the world. China is at 1.79; India at 2.72; and the USA rate is at 2.05.

Literacy rate in Afghanistan is only 28% with male 43% and female 12%. The economy is 116th out of 228 countries in the world. GDP, Purchasing Power Parity per capita is $800 per year. The same figure in the Unites States is $47,000. The Afghan commercial bank prime lending rate is 14.92%. Electricity production and consumption are 150th and 145th of 228, respectively, in the world. In exports, Afghanistan is 173rd in the world.

This places Afghanistan in with the worst countries of Africa (the worst in economic and related matters).

Certainly we need to offer all the assistance we can to these people. We are partly to blame for their current situation. We must control Al Qaeda and keep the Taliban from regaining political control of the country. This won’t happen with troops alone.

The phrase “nation building” has been tossed around a lot; that is what is needed here.  It will do no good to keep fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban with troops. They will out last us and all the allies we can muster. We must solve these real problems of poverty, the abysmal economy, and infant mortality and fertility rates.

Maybe it is not possible to have success with any military commander at the head of this operation. These is no military victory to he had here.

The statistics are from the CIA World Factbook.

Turpitude was the first word that came to mind as I started to write this blog entry. The full title of the document I just read that caused that word to pop into my consciousness is:

Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusions. Meat vs. Rice. American Manhood against Asiatic Coolieism. Which Shall Survive?

These 30 pages were published by the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, President; Frank Morrison, Secretary. For some unknown reason the document was printed in Washington by “Government Printing Office, 1902.” It is Document No. 137 from the Senate, 57th Congress, 1st Session.

Here is a short example of the wording of this document that raised my ire. It comes from page 15 of the document under a subheading of “Chinese Labor Degrades Labor Just as Slave Labor Did”:

“For many years it was impossible to get white persons to do the menial labor usually performed by Chinese. It was Chinamen’s labor, and not fit for white. In the agricultural districts a species of tramp has been created, known as the blanket man. White agricultural laborers seldom find permanent employment; the Chinese are preferred. During harvest time the white man is forced to wander from ranch to ranch and find employment here and there for short periods of time, with the privilege of sleeping in the barns or haystacks. He is looked upon as a vagabond, unfit to associate with his employer or to eat from the same table with him. The negro slave of the South was housed and fed, but the white trash of California is placed beneath the Chinese. “

Apparently the Chinese labors were responsible for the lot of the white transient farm labors.

Here is the link to the full document on the Internet Archive, and as scanned by Google.

The document is loaded with racial slurs, undocumented “facts”, and quotes from official documents. The last six pages are the document adopted by the Chinese exclusion convention at San Francisco, Cal., November 22, 1901. This was apparently run by the American Federation of Labor.

All this represents bleak days in our American History. We are once again faced with “cheap” Chinese labor affecting our American economy; and not just China, but India, Indonesia, and many other Asian countries. Twenty or thirty years ago it was imports from Japan that caused us problems. The American auto industry has reached its low point (hopefully) because Japan makes better cars that the American auto makers. The Chinese workers produce many cheaper (and cheap) goods than we do in America. We flock to Target and Wal-Mart to buy these goods; then we blame the Chinese for our economic problems.

While we are struggling to set out economic house in order, let’s not be tempted to revert to the kind of horrible and vile attitudes expressed by our fellow citizens of over 100 years ago. Hopefully our President Elect is the man we think he is and can lead us into a new prosperity. Let’s follow his vision for our future and give him all the support we can. He is our political leader for the next four years. He needs all the help we can give him.

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come after the expiration of said ninety days to remain within the United States.”

Chinese laborers coming to the United States after the Civil War were working for fewer wages than white American workers. The Chinese were taking jobs away from American workers.

When gold was discovered in California, Chinese workers started arriving to work in the mines and later helping to build the Transcontinental Railroad. Most of the immigrants were male; usually they sent a portion of their wages back to their families in China.

The Exclusion Act was first enacted in 1882 and stayed in force until 1943 when it was finally repealed. It was replaced by a strict quota system. China, after all, was an ally of the United States during World War II and General Chiang Kai-shek was highly respected in this country.

To his credit, President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoed a version of a Chinese immigration limitation act in 1879.

Here is a link to a government website that has a transcript of the Act.

Strange reading for Christmas Day, don’t you think? I am rather the token liberal in my household; so my interest in the conversations of other members of my family wanes and head for my computer.

Come back tomorrow and I will have some comments on a document with the title: “Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion. Meat vs. Rice.”

In President-elect Obama’s Saturday Radio Address (available here on YouTube) he used the phrase “tyranny of foreign oil.”

Oil cannot literally be a tyrant, so he must be using this phrase as a metaphor. So what does he mean? The dictionary definition that seems to apply here is that tyranny is “cruel and arbitrary exercise of power or control” as well as “cruel and oppressive government or rule.” (These definitions are from the Oxford Concise English Dictionary.)

Mr. Obama used this phrase in the context that our country needs to invest $150 billion in an American Green Energy Economy that, will among other things, free us from the tyranny of foreign oil. That means we are to free ourselves and our country from the oppressive drain on our economy as our dollars go to foreign countries. At the same time we will make the investment and build that Green Economy which will the best thing we can do for out future.

Because of Mr. Obama’s connections with Africa (his father was born in Kenya) the continent will receive lots of attention in the coming months, I think. Already Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has made overtures as this article from the BBC’s web site reports. Mr. Mugabe is not on the “A” list of people that Mr. Obama wants to deal with and I doubt that Air Force One will be landing in Zimbabwe any time soon.

It is a good thing that Africa will be in the spotlight. Many of the people who live there are part of the Bottom Billion of the poorest people in the world. You can read a veview of Paul Collier’s book The Bottom Billion, Why the poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It at the Oxford Press Site. Even under the best of economic times Africa will remain poor and in an economic hole. Now with the World’s economy in a hole too, Africa needs as much attention as we can give it. With Mr. Obama in the Oval Office I think this will happen for the betterment of all the poor of that continent.

We must admire the government of China for keeping on top of things. They have already appealed to the new President-elect to take China’s side in the long running dispute with Taiwan. Fat chance that will happen. Taiwan has always been an American ally and will continue to be so. Here is the link to the article from the BBC on-line.