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.

My oh My! I got the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet in the mail today. There are around 75 pages of arguments for and against the measures. I was driving in rural Yamhill County yesterday and saw several signs in opposition to the measures. Elsewhere I have seen signs and statements for and against.

I will have to make up my mind on these; and hopefully it will be an informed decision.

If we are to have any level of government we need taxes to support it. Where are the moneys to come from and how much do we need? This is an eternal question. I hope that all voters will take a dispassionate approach to this important matter. Sewers, roads, schools, police, social services, building inspections, prisons, and so on, and so on; all supported by taxes. Once again: how much and from where does it come.

Become informed and vote.

At the time I wrote my previous blog posting on this subject, I also wrote a letter to Mr. Bob Hermann who is the Washington County Oregon District Attorney. Please refer to my Previous Blog Entry for the links to the Willamette Week and OregonBlue articles.

Let me quote three items from Mr. Hermann’s response to my letter to him:

“Unfortunately the information reported by Ms. Axtman and the Willamette Week is inaccurate in some critical areas.” “Additionally the charges the grand jury issued were not reported fully or at all.” And: Ms. Aguilar-Gutierrez was arrested for reckless driving and causing injury to a child, subsequently charged by the grand jury for those same reasons. That part of the ‘facts’ were not reported.”

I should have held my tongue until I had my response from Mr. Hermann. I should have realized that the grand jury would not have agreed on the charges without a strong case from the DA’s office.

Because this incident involves a minor and because the case is open pending trial, Mr. Hermann could not comment fully on all the circumstances. But after reading his letter, I can see that the DA’s office is proceeding properly and within the law.

In my working years (I am now retired) I worked in the insurance industry for 15 years with about 5 of those years actively handling or reviewing accident claims. In all those years I can recall no criminal charges arising out of an automobile accident claim processed by me or that I handled unless there were extenuating circumstances such as drunk driving. The public’s attitude on these matters seems to be changing. Beyond simple negligence, if you are overly reckless in your driving habits and cause injury to another person, particularly a minor, you may be charged with a criminal offence.

I have learned a lesson here. Make sure I have all the facts before I lash out.

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.

Since I was a kid, I always considered myself a Republican. Even into middle age I was there. I had even contributed a few dollars to Reagan’s election campaign. Sometime around the election of President Clinton my thinking changed. Since that time I have leaned toward the Democratic Party, and have mostly voted Democratic.

Today I made it official. I mailed in a change to my voter registration and designated myself a Democrat. One of the main reasons I did this at this time is in Oregon (where I live), in order to vote in the primary, a voter needs to be registered to a party. I could vote on non-partisan ballot measures and candidates, but not for the major candidates.

Oregon’s Congressman Wu of the First District will be facing some competition in the Spring 2010 primary election from David Robinson. Robinson has a great background which I think could make him a good Representative for Oregon. He is not an attorney which is a big plus in my book for anyone running for the Congress or Senate. Wu is an attorney.

In the 109th Congress, 218 members list their occupation as the law (according to the Congressional Quarterly). That’s a lot of lawyers. The next most frequent category of background is listed in the same source as public service/politics. Robinson fits this category.

I don’t have a feel yet as to how strong a candidate Dave Robinson will be; but I will be watching.

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.”

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