'Fascist Privatization Pimps' vs 'Paranoid Xenophobic Isolationists'
Xenophobes see a threat to U.S. sovereignty in a Texas freeway project that would ease trade with Mexico.
September 20, 2007
By Shikha Dalmia and Leonard Gilroy (Reason Foundation)
The Los Angeles Times
The U.S. is known for its "paranoid style" of politics, so brace yourself for the next Big Scare coming down the pike (literally) -- the Trans-Texas Corridor. Isolationist conservatives, emboldened by their jihad last year against the Dubai Ports World deal, have identified this road project as the spearhead of a conspiracy to dissolve the United States of America.
The corridor is a proposed two-phase project meant to ensure that the Lone Star State has the transportation infrastructure necessary to handle the growing international commerce coming across the border. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement has doubled U.S.-Mexico trade, three-fourths of which flows through Texas. And the movement of goods through the state is expected to increase exponentially in the near future as Asia routes more exports through the newly expanded Panama Canal.
Texas awarded a planning contract in 2005 for the first phase of the corridor to Cintra, a Spanish multinational company, and its San Antonio partner, Zachry Construction. (Cintra also won a $1.3-billion contract last year to build a 40-mile extension of Highway 130, a state toll road connecting Austin to San Antonio that was conceived separately from the corridor, although conspiracy activists claim otherwise.) The first 600-mile section, planned to include such features as tollways, freight-rail and truck-only lanes, will run parallel to the cramped, north-south Interstate 35 from the border town of Laredo to Oklahoma. Construction contracts for that portion haven't been awarded.
The second phase of the corridor, whose planning contract has yet to be handed out, would build a similar highway from the western edge of the Mexico border to east Texas. This might one day link to a separate, federally initiated eight-state expansion of Interstate 69, which currently runs between Port Huron, Mich., and Indianapolis.
This is all too sinister for Jerome Corsi, the Vietnam War veteran who helped lead the Swift Boat charge against John Kerry. Corsi has knitted disparate strands of each of these separate road projects to help convince fellow xenophobes such as Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schlafly, Lou Dobbs and the John Birch Society that the corridor is the first leg of a secret federal project called the NAFTA Superhighway, a four-football-field wide monstrosity that would run from Mexico's Yucatan to Canada's Yukon.
Never mind that I-69 originated in a 1991 federal transportation law -- pre-dating NAFTA -- and that the planning for the Trans-Texas Corridor has been fully documented on the Web.
Yet even Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican candidate for president, has fallen for the paranoia. You'd think that Paul would be chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade, but he too fears that the "superhighway" is part of a scheme by foreign companies to erode U.S. borders and create a North American Union combining the United States, Mexico and Canada -- complete with a single government and a common currency called the "amero."
Superhighway opponents regard even routine dialogue between the three neighbors as a treasonous assault on U.S. sovereignty. They are apoplectic about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a forum created in 2005 for bureaucrats to discuss such radical topics as how to snag terrorists before they enter the continent and how to speed up cross-border traffic for just-in-time deliveries.
All of this could be dismissed as the paranoid rantings of a protectionist fringe -- except that it is beginning to have a tangible negative effect on public policy.
Montana's Legislature this summer overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the superhighway and any union of the three countries, and 18 other states are considering similar legislation. El Cajon Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter successfully amended the 2008 Transportation Appropriations Act to prohibit use of federal funds for any SPP working group. Virginia Republican Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. has introduced a House resolution against both the mythical superhighway and the fantasy union.
After the Dubai Ports debacle, in which anti-terrorism hysteria forced Congress to thwart the transfer of U.S. port management leases held by a major British ports operator to a company based in Dubai, the atavistic idea that foreign investment erodes American sovereignty is back into vogue.
Hunter, for instance, has added hoops to the review process that foreign bidders for U.S. companies must go through to prove that they're not a national security threat. This limits the pool of buyers for U.S. companies, thereby lowering their value and the value of 401(k) plans that invest in them. Hunter has also extended the review process to foreign companies vying to build "critical infrastructure." Should his definition include transportation projects, state governments would be deprived of crucial capital and knowledge to modernize their infrastructure.
The paradox of protectionism is that it damages the very thing it seeks to protect. Labor unions, for example, almost killed U.S. auto and steel companies by helping erect barriers against foreign companies, which made domestic products globally noncompetitive. But the impact of today's isolationists threatens to affect the entire economy. If unchallenged, these ideologues of fear will kill the United States' prosperity in the name of protecting its sovereignty.
Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst and Leonard Gilroy is a senior policy analyst at the Reason Foundation.
© 2007 Los Angeles Times:
The Road to Serfdom Is Indeed a Conspiratorial Highway
The LA Times contracted out a hit piece on "xenophobes" who oppose the NAFTA Superhighway and SPP. The outsourced work was awarded to a pair fascists from Reason Magazine, an outfit that used to be in favor of freedom.
By Jim Capo
John Birch Society
© 2007 John Birch Society:
The pre-release operating title for yesterday's LA Times home edition opinion piece on page A23 was "Conspiratorial Highway." Apparently, having realized that the ommission of the word theory would leave the article with a title too close to the truth, the editors at the popular corporate newsletter eventually went with something more in line with the true spirit of their propaganda.
Their hit piece on those who stand up for private property rights and representative government is now titled, "Going Protectionist over a fantasy highway." For good measure, an invective-laced sub-title has also been added. It screeches:
"Xenophobes see a threat to U.S. sovereignty in a Texas freeway project that would ease trade with Mexico."
While the choice of title and sub-title is the perogative of the editors LA Times, the op-eds authors at Reason Magazine, Shikha Dalmia and Leonard Gilroy, also chose to toss the xenophobe epithet into the body of their work. Though they work for an outfit called Reason Magazine, Dalmia and Gilroy offer no arguments to defend their use of the slanderous epithet other than to invoke the name of the John Birch Society and other usual suspects as an a priori justification for their position. Apparently, this pair of corporatist shills is working out of some new left-libertarian dictionary that defines xenophobia as having the temerity to suggest that private property rights and representative government are worth defending.
Here is how xenophobe bombers Dalmia and Gilroy imagine they can dispatch both the NAFTA Superhighway issue and Jerome Corsi, whose new book on the North American Union scheme is climbing the New York Times best-seller list:
"Corsi has knitted disparate strands of each of these separate road projects to help convince fellow xenophobes such as Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schlafly, Lou Dobbs and the John Birch Society that the corridor is the first leg of a secret federal project called the NAFTA Superhighway, a four-football-field wide monstrosity that would run from Mexico's Yucatan to Canada's Yukon."
While the magazine paying for their words has long since abandoned its Randian foundations, one would think that writers working in the shadow of the great Objectivist could at least employ better reasoning in their arguments. Getting at the truth however is obviously not the objective of their opinion piece.
Dalmia and Gilroy go on to contort a few more facts in their work on behalf of their corporatist sponsors:
"Never mind that I-69 originated in a 1991 federal transportation law — pre-dating NAFTA — and that the planning for the Trans-Texas Corridor has been fully documented on the Web.
Dalmia and Gilroy are either weak on their own analytical skills or they have an exceptionally low opinion of the reasoning powers of LA Times readers. The fact is, the NAFTA agreement did not just show up overnight on the doorstep of Congress in 1993. The I-69 corridor planning in 1991 was concomitant with the negotiations and planning of the NAFTA agreement done during the first Bush administration — before it was passed with the essential aid of Clinton The First in 1993. NAFTA was, in the main, a done deal when the I-69 work was breezing through Congress as part of some pork-laden highway bill.
Rather than no possible connection based on the chronology of NAFTA approval, the I-69 groundwork was being laid at exactly at the same time. This does not automatically make for a connection of I-69 to NAFTA Superhighway plans, but it certainly does not justify the time-stamp disconnection that Dalmia and Gilroy seek to use to eliminate all suspicions.
As for Texas Trans Corridor (TTC) planning being fully documented on the Web, let's just say that fully is decidedly the authors' opinion. If their opinion was justified however, there would not be such a furor from those being impacted by the TTC.
Where Dalmia and Gilroy give away their true allegiances is in their knock against Ron Paul — only a sentence after dropping their xenophobe bomb:
Yet even Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican candidate for president, has fallen for the paranoia. You'd think that Paul would be chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade, but he too fears that the 'superhighway' is part of a scheme by foreign companies to erode U.S. borders and create a North American Union combining the United States, Mexico and Canada — complete with a single government and a common currency called the 'amero.'"
Hmm...."Chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade" sounds like it was said with a smirk doesn't it? Real libertarians like Ron Paul and real champions of free-market enterprise like the John Birch Society know that just because some government apparatchiks and their private collaborators put a "free trade" label on a trade regimen doesn't make it so. Erasing tariffs along with the borders they are collected at and replacing them with new supra-national regulatory bodies unaccountable to local citizenry is not anything that can be legitimately considered free trade.
This brings us then to our choice of using the word fascists to describe Dalmia and Gilroy in the leading abstract of this article. Sure, we don't like being smeared as xenophobic and that may emotionally taint our riposte, but in our case we will actually offer justification for hurling ugly epithets at our opponents.
Here is how we see it:
The King of Spain is free to stroll into Texas with wealth he has honestly acquired and offer private landowners rates on their property for which they are willing to sell at. If the Spanish sovereign wishes to build a superhighway on his newly purchased property in the one country on Earth founded with the people as sovereigns, he may do so. If he wishes to charge customers a fee to use his property he is generally free to do that as well. This is free trade as most libertarians, Austrian school economists and other promoters of true free markets might be willing to shout a hosanna or two over.
If, however, the King of Spain forms a shell company that contracts with an anointed Republican front runner for President to legally represent him before governments in the United States and then negotiates with those governments to have the private land of others seized under post-Kelo eminent domain rulings, this is certainly not free trade. In this case, you could not get an honest libertarian like Ron Paul to shout anything but force and fraud. (Though you could get writers at Reason to call it anything else but what it is.)
Therefore, by cynically dismissing as xenophobes those who value the importance of a national sovereignty that gives a free people the power to govern themselves under a representative and republican form of government, public-private partnership apologists like Dalmia and Gilroy betray themselves for what they really are: phony libertarians quite at home operating within the courts of kings — and fascists.
Any day that the LA Times company newsletter would like to let us have it out with Dalmia and Gilroy on the editorial page as to who is using their epithets more truthfully, we would be happy to accept the challenge. We are not holding our breath, however.
Since a free people would never voluntarily travel down the Road to Serfdom, what the LA Times and Reason magazine are really trying to do is sell us a toll ticket on the Conspiratorial highway of their sponsors.
I would ask public-private partnership guru Mr. Gilroy to consider going back to school to bone up on what true free markets are all about, but looking at his curriculum vitae I am going to guess that libertarian standards like Human Action, Atlas Shrugged, and The Law were not part of his required reading on the way to receiving a degree in Regional and Urban Planning.
Perhaps the most significant supporter of Reason magazine is Charles Koch, head of the world's largest private corporation. While company patriarch Fred Koch called Robert Welch a friend and supported The John Birch Society, the younger Koch has fallen rather far from the tree of liberty. Alas, Charles Koch, also a driving force at The Cato Institute, is no John Galt or Hank Rearden no matter how many Randian and Misian laurels Forbes magazine offers to bestow on him.
There is freedom and liberty and then there is fascism paying good money to pass itself off as freedom and liberty. (And yes, I know the commies said the same thing about the John Birch Society in the 1960s. But, whom are you going to trust, me or the commies?)
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