Canada Follows the U.S. Terms for GM/Chrysler; Harper Still Worrying About the “Eased” ‘Buy-American’ Clause in Stimulus Package

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

About a month ago we posted on the subject of how GM and Chrysler were begging from bailout money from the Canadian government. (See: The SCANNER–International/Political Edition, 2/24/09 (Which Deficit is Obama “Halving”?; Canada Rubs U.S. Nose into Its Stable Banking System; GM/Chrysler Beg for Bailout Help in Canada, Too; Half of Foreign Criminals in Canada Are Fleeing to the U.S. [???]).

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

GM, Chrysler ask for billions in Canadian aid

General Motors has outlined a restructuring plan that would cut its Canadian workforce to 7,000 and seek as much as $7 billion from the federal and Ontario governments, while Chrysler is requesting around $2.8 billion in aid.

GM didn’t specify how much it will ask for, but Reuters quoted federal Industry Minister Tony Clement as saying the company is asking for between $6 and $7 billion.

The Canadian government doesn’t seem to want to bailout CAW pensions…time will tell.

MORE

Here’s an update on what’s going on now…right in tandem with what the Obama Administration is doing:

GM, Chrysler scolded but given more time to restructure

Canada, Ontario provide $4 billion in loans to troubled manufacturers

Political leaders on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border are giving General Motors and Chrysler extensions on deadlines to come up with viable restructuring plans, saying the auto manufacturers fell short in their first attempts.

(SNIP)

Disappointment in Canada

Canadian politicians also expressed regret that GM and Chrysler could not come up with viable plans.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement, along with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Ontario Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant, said GM has 60 days to come up with a plan for its Canadian division, while Chrysler has 30 days to reach a deal with the Canadian Auto Workers union and with Fiat.

At the same time, Clement said the first of the $4 billion in interim loans to the two companies is going out. Chrysler will get $250 million on Monday of the $1 billion allocated, while the first of $3 billion in funds for GM will begin to flow in early April.

“We are making this strategic investment to support an orderly restructuring of a critical industry with [the] goal of ensuring that Canada maintains its 20 per cent production share in the future,” Clement said.

(SNIP)

Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza said the union won’t reopen its collective agreement with GM Canada despite pressure from politicians that more cost restructuring is needed.

“We did it once 10 months ago and we did it again less than a month ago,” he said. “Opening up bargaining won’t resolve this problem.”

Lewenza said the union is still trying to work out a new collective agreement with Chrysler in advance of a March 31 deadline.

The email newsletter I receive from Radio Canada International sums it all up this way:

OTTAWA: GOVERNMENT OFFERS INTERIM HELP TO AUTOMAKERS

Two struggling Canadian automakers, Chrysler and General Motors, were offered help on Monday by the federal government and the government of Ontario. The two companies will receive bridge loans totalling CDN$4 billion to help them to survive. Chrysler would receive CDN$1 billion and General Motors would get $CDN$3 billion. Further government loans will depend on whether the two companies can present acceptable restructuring plans. Tony Clement, Canada’s industry minister, has rejected plans that were submitted earlier, saying that they fail to ensure the companies’ long-term survival. General Motors has until the end of May to present its new plan. Chrysler has until the end of April. Chrysler’s plan must include the company’s merger with the Italian carmaker, Fiat, that was announced on Monday. The plans will depend in large measure on negotiations with the company’s unionized workers. The Canadian Autoworkers Union welcomed the Chrysler/Fiat merger as long as it preserves the Canadian auto industry. CAW’s negotiations with Chrysler will continue, but the CAW refused to renegotiate a deal with General Motors that was arranged within the past month. The CAW also welcomed the government’s insistence that the two American-based companies commit to maintaining 20 per cent of their North American production in Canada. The government offer also requires that company executives agree to limits on their compensation.

Now, here’s another rather ironic bit from the same newsletter, considering how tightly bound together Canada and U.S. are.  (See: What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan & THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner)

WASHINGTON: PRIME MINISTER EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER GLOBAL PROTECTIONISM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the danger of protectionism is one of his major concerns in the global economic crisis. He’s worried that if protectionism becomes a global option, the world could face a depression similar to the one in the 1930s when countries introduced trade barriers to save homegrown industries. The measures only accelerated and deepened the global economic downturn. Mr. Harper is concerned that the United States stimulus plan includes Buy-American clauses for recipients of government bailout money. Such a plan could hurt Canadian exports to the United States. Mr. Harper made his comments as he prepares to attend a Group of 20 summit in London this week.

In early February, the Senate “eased” the Buy-American” clause as Obama proclaimed he didn’t want a “trade war”…The EU, Canada, and Japan had protested; only the UK hadn’t complained at that point.

US Senate eases “Buy-American Provision in Stimulus Package”

(SNIP)

The measure had sparked fears of retaliatory measures by US trading partners and a possible spiral of protectionism in an already reeling global economy.

The requirement to favour US-made supplies to be used in infrastructure projects, included in a nearly 900-billion-dollar package being considered by the Senate, was softened to allow for exceptions as required by US trade agreements, broadcaster MSNBC reported.

Apparently, Harper isn’t completely satisfied with the changes to the clause. Maybe he doesn’t trust Obama or the U.S. Senate…probably a wise stance to take.

The Scanner–Politics March 18, 2009: (Taitz-Supreme Court; Sharia Law in Minnesota re: Home Mortgages; Stimulus Money Wanders from the States; Privatizing Vets’ Healthcare)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Where to begin? There are so many things out there to choose and I had to delete a few!

So here goes…

If  you missed the Monday night show (3/16) with Betty Jean Kling and Dr. Orly Taitz, check out the archived on demand program. If you don’t have an hour to do so, at least check out the post on the subject: Chief  justice publicly accepts WND’s eligibility petition which raises some very interesting question about what the heck is going on at the Supreme Court re: the justices “not knowing” about briefs about Obama’s citizenship issues and cases being erased from the docket.  Recall that Obama met with Roberts and other justices and start wondering…But, if you can listen to the show, which has much more information to ponder…

And, to really keep up to date, check out Attorney Taitz’s website at http://defendourfreedoms.us/.

***

From the more funny business department:

A HUGE hat tip to Deadenders for this story about mortgages and Sharia law unfolding in Minnesota.  And, for a news report on this, see this article from the Bismarck Tribune.

Minn. state agency offers Islamic mortgages

Mar 08, 2009 – 04:05:16 CDT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – For many Minnesota Muslims, it’s been virtually impossible to buy a home, because Islamic law forbids the paying or charging of interest. To help close the home ownership gap among Muslim immigrants, the state’s housing agency has launched a new program offering Islamic mortgages.

Now, recall the post we had up  just after the election about meetings at the Treasury Department: The SCANNER-Politics 11/7/08: Newsweek Editors on Charlie Rose in the SCARIEST Description of Obama So Far…(Video/Partially Transcripted); Sharia Hits the Treasury Department/HARVARD Alert!; Hill the Shill (UPDATE 1X) .  American Lassie had tipped me off to the meeting and I did a bit of snooping at the time:

Islamic financing by Sharia law has been in operation around the globe for quite awhile and is not necessarily a first step toward full Sharia Law being included in our legal code.  As far back as 2006, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL was running sessions by the “Islamic Finance Group” under name “Islamic Finance 101: Introduction and Career Opportunities” under the auspices of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

So, we’ve got HARVARD UNIVERSITY/LAW SCHOOL, BUSHCO, and OBAMACO….all doing their thing on SHARIA INVESTING.  Coincidence?????  (UPDATE:  See Al-Mansour connection below)

Michelle Malkin (I can’t believe I’m citing her, but facts are facts!) put up a post on this Treasury event later yesterday/Thursday.)

I couldn’t find the story at Human Events when I tried yesterday, but I did track down it down at the Center for Security Policy. They may sound over the top, but…They were holding a press conference on all this…did you hear about this subject in the MSM?  Think not…

And now it seems the state of Minnesota is involved in Sharia Law…

***

Hey, seen any stimulus money yet in your state?  Well, some of it may be going out of the country… From the Albuquerque Journal:

N.M. Stimulus Creating Jobs Elsewhere

Will a batch of transit-related federal stimulus money help boost the Duke City economy? Or will people mainly be taken for a ride on a bunch of new city buses built in Canada and Minnesota?


The city was recently allocated about $11.3 million in federal stimulus money for ABQ Ride vehicles and equipment purchases. Of that total, $11.1 million will be used to buy about 20 new buses and upgrades to fare boxes.


ABQ Ride has been upgrading its fleet in recent years. Almost 40 new buses are being added, and they are built by Winnipeg, Canada-headquartered New Flyer.


About 40 percent of each bus is built in Canada, the other 60 percent in Minnesota, where New Flyer also has manufacturing facilities.


Transit Director Greg Payne said that, despite its Canadian operations, New Flyer qualifies as an American-made company under the rules of the Federal Transit Administration.


Lawrence Rael, executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, said the stimulus rules require proof of job creation.

They just don’t have to be here.

MORE

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While the stimulus money wanders around, the American Legion is angered by Obama’s plans to charge wounded service people for their care. No improvement in care in Obamaland over Bush…

The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President’s Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment

Featured Topics:

To: POLITICAL EDITORS

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

“It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,” said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. “He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.”

MORE

“Moral and government-avowed obligations?”  Obama honoring them?   HAH!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the North American Union: A Layman’s Overview of the Coming New World Order

~~By Grail Guardian

As a follow-up to American Lassie’s excellent article last week I have expanded on a comment I made. As I stated then, I had just listened to a Blog Talk Radio show that had our good friend Diamond Tiger (from Logistics Monster) as the featured guest; use the link to the archive in the post. It’s well worth the listen! I also strongly recommend you check out this piece linking to clips from the movie Zeitgeist for an overview of the ties between today’s political climate and the events of the past. (Wikipedia notes that the term “Zeitgeist” refers to the ethos of an identified group of people that expresses a prevalent world view at a particular period of socio-cultural progression.) But one of the most important points Diamond brought out in the interview is that Barack Obama was chosen (and one could even argue created) by TPTB (The Powers That Be) as a distraction. We spend so much time focusing on his being a usurper and his buffoonery that we don’t watch what’s happening “over here”. She is 100% right, and I applaud her along with everyone at InsightAnalytical for not falling for the distraction. This excellent research is exactly what TPTB are hoping no one does.

I am convinced that Citibank is a huge player in this, and I was struck by their volte face last week (going from being nationalized to turning a profit in just about 2 weeks). Following the money will show just how much fiat currency is mixing and mingling between the 3 members of the proposed North American Union, and I predict that you will continue to see Citi mentioned in small bits buried in obscure places. Of course, Citibank (aka Citigroup, or just plain Citi) is the current rendition of National City Bank of New York (one of the early players in the Federal Reserve System originally run by protégés of John Jacob Astor), so we’re back to the same group of bankers doing the same thing they always do: pushing for global domination in an indirect way.

The plan is to take everything over quietly while they distract us with the Obama show, and by the time we realize what’s happened,  it will be too late. Our banks will be owned by Canada; our real estate will be owned by China; our jobs will be owned by Mexico, India, and Indonesia; and our souls will be owned by the central banks. We will have glass tracking chips implanted under our skin in the name of “National Security”; we will have video cameras recording every moment of every day in public and in private (think about the more than 10,000 public cameras located throughout London;  not to mention the way that webcams are now being built into every new laptop PC and will soon be standard equipment);  each mouse click or keystroke on our computers will be tracked by software that’s been perfected over the past few years disguised as viruses and spyware,;  our mileage will be monitored and regulated electronically via GPS systems built into our vehicles (why else would the government buy the automakers?);  our guns and ammunition will be monitored and eventually the attempt will be made to take them away (although I am convinced that this will fail and likely be their downfall–America will not give up her firearms or Second Amendment rights); and how many Americans will be caught playing with their Obama “Yes, we can” messages on cell phones and Ipods when the civilian police force comes knocking at our doors?

The real message to remember here is one I must again attribute to Diamond Tiger (and of course the late, great Douglas Adams):

Don’t Panic. clip_image001

[For those of you unfamiliar with this classic, I highly recommend listening to the original BBC radio version in a darkened room with surround sound!] at:

http://www.sadena.com/BBC-Radio/H2G2/

That’s what will set us apart from the masses, and if we spread the word far and well enough, it might be what averts the pending disaster TPTB have planned for us. So in the style of H2H2, just remember a few basic points:

1. Nothing is what it appears to be. If something draws your attention left, look to the right for the real story.

2. “Zaphod Beeblebrox” Obama is just the dancing hot dog that’s there to entertain and divert you until the real show starts.

3. Don’t believe the media about how bad things are. They’ve been lying to us for years; why would they stop now?

4. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Be sure you and your family are prepared for whatever might happen. And don’t forget to bring a towel.*

5. You are not alone. No matter how much the Oborg tries to convince us otherwise, there are way more than a dozen PUMAs that are worried about America’s future. Hell, there are way more than a dozen countries that are worried about America’s future!

6. We are Americans. We will come through this, one way or another. That’s what we do.

***

*From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”

Mexico Plans World’s Third Largest Seaport, Will Impact U.S. Ports on West Coast; Citigroup to Help Finance? (Updated 1X More on TARP $$ Going Overseas)

~~By InsightAnalytical–GRL

Breaking News…as I finish up this post Wednesday night (3/22) , I’ve just watched Dennis Kucinich with Greta on On the Record discussing the revelation that Citicgroup took part of its TARP bailout money and made deals with Chinese and Dubai companies, in effect, sending our money overseas.  The links are not up as of now, but I’ll post what I find tomorrow. In the meantime…read what follows and see if you don’t ask the questions we’ve been asking here at IA over the last few days…

***

Yesterday I mused about what’s going on in Canada and its ties to the U.S. financial crisis and a couple of days ago, American Lassie wrote about the North American Community.  Earlier, IA took a look at a possible U.S. role Mexico and today, I’m looking at Mexico again, specifically about a certain plan that has been brewing for quite awhile and which seems about to take off.

About a week ago I opened the Albuquerque Journal’s Business Outlook section and found a full page story entitled “Planned Seaport to be the third largest in the world”.  (The link is working as I write this, but because the ABQ Journal is behind a wall and available to subscribers-only, I don’t know for how long.  http://www.abqjournal.com/biz/0294376619biz03-02-09.htm)

The seaport, called Punta Colonet, will be built here:

Punta Colonet (Photo courtesy REMAX)

Punta Colonet (Photo courtesy RE/MAX)

(More information on the location, including maps, at the end of this post)

A word about the columnist.  Back in 2003, Jerry Pacheco was running Gov. Bill Richardson’s newly-formed office dealing with Mexican trade (see press release at the end of this post). And here’s a bit more detail:

Pacheco is a recognized expert in Mexican affairs and has extensive business experience throughout Mexico. He established and ran the state’s first foreign trade office in Mexico City during the early 1990s, and is a syndicated columnist with regular international columns appearing in El Paso Inc., Ser Empresario magazine and most recently in the Albuquerque Journal.

Which brings us back to the ABQ Journal article in question…written by the guy in the know…

Planned seaport to be third largest in world

Albuquerque Journal–> By Jerry Pacheco
For the Journal
Punta

Colonet is a small Mexican Pacific coastal village located approximately 150 miles south of Tijuana in Baja California. Historically, this area’s economy has relied on agriculture and tourism. For the past five years, excitement and speculation has centered on Punta Colonet, as the Mexican government has announced that it will build a new Pacific seaport at this site.

The scope of the project is enormous by world standards. According to Mexican government reports, the port will be designed to handle six million containers annually at final build-out. In terms of processing volume, it will be larger than the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach combined. When completed, the site is projected to encompass an area of more than 27,000 acres, or slightly more than 42 square miles. It will be the third largest seaport in the world, behind only Singapore and Hong Kong. It is estimated that between 90,000 and 200,000 people, a small city, will be needed to operate the port facilities.


Punta Colonet is Mexico’s attempt to claim a larger share of the billions of dollars in merchandise shipments between North America and Asia, which are coming through ports farther north. It is estimated that this aggressive project will cost close to $2 billion in its initial phase, with a final build-out estimate of up to $6 billion. Multiple sources of public and private monies will need to be accessed. Citicorp has been meeting with high-level Mexican officials to discuss participating in the financing of this project.

SNIP

In the current world economic recession, many people question the timing for Punta Colonet. Previously, the capacity and the ability of the mature U.S. West Coast ports to handle increasing ocean cargo was a major concern, but the volume at the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports has recently decreased by up to 30 percent because of the economic crisis, and the capacity issue has become less important. Many people, particularly players in the U.S. and California, are worried that bringing such a large port on line would further depress and dilute the ocean cargo business.


SNIP

Punta Colonet has been designed to begin construction in 2012 or 2013, with completion around 2020, and had developed a strong momentum. However, in mid-January of this year, Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transportation Secretary, Luis Tellez, for the second time issued a postponement of the construction bidding process. At that point, it was announced that the global financial crisis had put the brakes on the project, but by the end of January the Mexican government announced it would begin administering the registration for proposals in April, with the actual process to accept these proposals scheduled for June.


Whatever the time frame, it appears that the Mexican government has decided to proceed with the Punta Colonet port. If the Santa Teresa region remains the preferred crossing point into the U.S. for this project, it could bring a slew of new economic development activities to the southern New Mexico-west Texas region (Paso del Norte region).

MORE

Now what is the first question that pops into your mind??  Citigroup gets bailout money, it’s share price drops to about $1, now they proclaim that they are profitable and the market soars on Tuesday, 3/10. I don’t know if all that is related to this port project, but you have to wonder at the very least: If the U.S. government is “funding” Citicorp, then does that mean the U.S. taxpayer will be building this port if the deal goes through??

Remember this story from just a couple of weeks ago?

Citigroup gets new rescue, U.S. may own 36 percent

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government will boost its equity stake in Citigroup Inc to as much as 36 percent, bolstering the bank’s capital base in the latest emergency effort to save the banking giant.

SNIP

While the latest rescue does not inject more money into Citigroup, it gives the government more of a voting stake and far greater influence over the bank’s operations, short of outright nationalization. The White House said a higher U.S. stake will help achieve a “better outcome” for the bank.

“The government is the new boss,” said Mike Holland, the founder of money manager Holland & Co in New York. “Every major decision is something that is not going to come out of Park Avenue, but is going to come from Washington, D.C.”

New York-based Citigroup in October and November received $45 billion of taxpayer money, as well as a government backstop to cap losses on $300.8 billion of toxic assets. More than two-thirds of these assets related to mortgages and commercial real estate.

SNIP

Pandit has split Citigroup into two: Citicorp, which has retail banking and other businesses that Citigroup wants to keep, and Citi Holdings, which includes troubled or underperforming assets it wants to sell or wind down.

A higher government stake could complicate Citigroup’s ability to operate in some of the more than 100 countries where it has businesses. Bank executives downplayed speculation that Citigroup might shed all or part of its ownership of Grupo Financiero Banamex, Mexico’s second-largest bank.

“We’re not open to the idea of offloading assets that we really want to keep,” Edward “Ned” Kelly, head of global banking and Citi Alternative Investments, said in an interview. “Banamex is a very important property to us, and we are intent on retaining it and maximizing its value.”

MORE

(Here’s more analysis of the situation at Citigroup from John Batchelor at The Real Barack Obama blog.)

And here’s more background on Asian investors who are also wanting in.  There has been a lot of behind-the scene negotiations and “intrigue” in lining up financial partners with political connections in Mexico, according to Pacheco.  Here’s some background you might find interesting from The Free Trade Alliance based in San Antonio, Texas. From April, 6,2006:

A Deck of Chinese Cards

Mexican and US officials and businessmen are stepping up contacts with China and other Asian nations in high-stakes bids to expand economic relations. Trade missions from Baja California, Chihuahua, Michoacan and Texas all have recently flown to meetings and tours in the emerging global economic powerhouses of the Far East.

SNIP

Their eyes fixated on the expanding Chinese star, Mexican officials are now considering opening an eastern-oriented Pacific port in Baja California to help handle the burgeoning trade volume. Located about 150 miles south of the US-Mexico border, Punta Colonet is emerging as a possible super port. Carlos Jauregui, the executive director of the port of Ensenada said construction of the port could begin in 2008 and be completed by 2012. Jauregui estimated the facility could cost about $5 billion dollars to build, including a rail link to the United States.

And what about the implications for U.S. ports?

The Cunningham Report, which describes itself as “an information source for the trade and transportation industry” commented on 89/31/08:

Although folks at both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach have downplayed the impact of the Punta Colonet project and noted that completion of the port would be years away, if it is developed, the Mexican port could at some point pose significant competition.

Also, from The Puget Sound Business Journal, August 29, 2008:

While Mexican planners hope the Mexican port will attract cargo from congested Southern California ports, that could have a domino effect in the Pacific Northwest.

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma are launching a joint marketing agreement to convince cargo owners to shift cargo from Southern California to Puget Sound, but that effort might have less success if Southern California congestion eases because of the Mexican port.

Otherwise the proposed Mexican port probably won’t take away too much cargo from Puget Sound ports, except for import cargo destined for Mid-Atlantic states, said Doug Coates, principal for TransSystems Corp. in San Francisco.

Puget Sound ports already are losing some cargo to the new Prince Rupert Port Authority in British Columbia, as well as to expanded East Coast ports including the Port of Savannah, Georgia. In July the Port of Savannah announced its volumes had increased 15 percent over the last year, while the Port of Seattle’s volume dropped 8 percent in the first half of this year.

The Portland Business Journal reports that Port of Portland officials “aren’t particularly worried about heightened competition,” but their article includes this tidbit:

Doug Coates, principal for TranSystems Corp. in San Francisco, said one attraction of the Punta Colonet port might be the promise of lower longshore labor rates, and the possibility that the Mexican port would be buffered from any labor issues with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. While that union recently signed a new contract, owners of cargo plan far ahead to avoid the effects of union disturbances.

“The shippers are still worried about longshore unrest on the U.S. West Coast and what happens with agreements,” Coates said. “The carriers like the fact that it’s lower cost and more flexible labor.”

Do you hear the sound of American jobs going down the tubes as the new “community” here in North America takes shape?

By the way, RE/MAX  Baja Realty is gearing up to sell  property with the proposed port as a selling point and their contact form is already up and working:

Welcome to Baja California’s Official website  for the largest Mexican public works project ever.

The purpose of Colonet Real Estate website is to bring information about the new project developing in Baja California, prices of all the possible property’s for sale and questions referring to Punta Colonet.

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MAPS and More Information on Punta Colonet

Maps, Major Ports – US/Mexico Border Transportation Planning – FHWA.

Wikipedia Article on the Punta Colonet Area, port, and detailed map

More Background Information on Border Ties

Frontera Norte Sur, published by New Mexico State University (2006 edition)  Section of interest:

Banks Leap Across Borders

Given the green light by the Federal Reserve Board, a Mexican bank has finalized its majority-ownership purchase of the Texas-based Inter National Bank (INB). Luis Pena Kegel, director general of the Banorte Financial Group, said the INB will use its base from the city of McAllen on the Texas-Mexico border to expand into other regions of the United States.

“With this operation, Banorte has the intention of getting closer to families and businesses on both sides of the border with innovative financial products that nobody else is offering,” Pena said in an interview with the Mexico City daily La Jornada.

MORE

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UPDATE  3/13/09

Thanks to America Lassie for this link which has the video of the hearing mentioned by Kucinich on Greta:

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2009/20090312104802.aspx

‘Nightly News’ Perplexed by TARP-Recipients Lending to Foreign Countries

NBC correspondent Lisa Myers investigates banking titans that made overseas loans in wake of congressional hearing.

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BACKGROUND on Jerry Pacheco, ABQ Journal columnist

Press Release from the State of New Mexico re: Jerry Pacheco

http://www.nmpartnership.com/press-releases/article.php?id=970&title=Pacheco+Heads+New+Mexican+Affairs+and+Trade+Division

Return to press release archive

Friday Jun 13, 2003

Pacheco Heads New Mexican Affairs and Trade Division

Contact: Cathy Ann Connelly: 505-476-3747
Santa Teresa, New Mexico – As part of Governor Bill Richardson’s efforts to improve commercial trade with Mexico, Jerry Pacheco, formerly deputy secretary for New Mexico Economic Development Department, is now director of the new Mexican Affairs and Trade Division. This office was created by the State Legislature to better oversee and coordinate the activities of the New Mexico Border Authority, New Mexico Economic Development Department, and the New Mexico-Chihuahua Commission.

Based in Santa Teresa, Pacheco believes the new office is a major, positive step toward increasing the trade and infrastructure interface with all Mexican states.

“State Senator Mary Kay Papen carried the bill that created this new entity, and it is one that will further our agenda of improving productive trade with Mexico,” said Pacheco.

New Mexico’s trade with Mexico is already a mainstay of the state’s existing economy to the tune of $106 million annually — particularly important in the southern part of the state. But although New Mexico shares a border with Mexico, the state is still ranked 39th out of all the states in the U.S. when it comes to its amount of business over the border.

MORE

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RELATED POSTS:

What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan

THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner

Secy. of Defense Robert Gates Downplays Possible U.S. Role as Fears of Mexico Collapse Mount; Don’t Be Fooled, There’s A Bush-Era Agenda Still Going On Here…

What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Recently we posted information about how Canadian banks are moving into buy U.S. financial institutions (See: Canadian Banks On the Move Buying U.S. Banks While Bailout Recipient AIG Sells Canadian Life Insurance Business to Bank of Montreal (”Picking over the Carcasses”).

Things in Canada aren’t all rosy, of course. As of late January:

“The credit crisis and the global sell-off of commodities have started to hit Canada hard. The country lost more than 100,000 jobs in the last two months of 2008, and the central bank is predicting economic output will contract 4.8 percent in the first quarter.”

When Obama visited Canada last month (February 19, the two leaders pledged to work together:

Obama said the US and Canada were working closely together bilaterally and within the G8 and G20 – two blocs made up of the world’s largest economies – to see how to restore confidence in financial markets.

Like much of the world, both nations are battling a severe recession. In Canada, the world’s eighth-largest economy, the unemployment rate in January soared to a four-year high of 7.2 per cent. That rate was at 7.6 per cent in the US, the highest since 1992. Harper said he and Obama agreed that Canada and the US “must work closely to counter the global economic recession by implementing mutually beneficial stimulus measures.”He later said: “We know, as a small economy, we can’t recover without recovery in the United States.”

SNIP

NAFTA had threatened to become an acrimonious issue during this visit. On the presidential campaign trail, Obama had said that the US would threaten to pull out of NAFTA unless Canada and Mexico agreed to strengthen labour and environmental protections. But he has softened his stance since taking office.

Well, if you’re going to have a North American community, I guess some stances HAVE to be softened…

A few days before Obama hit town, The Hill Times, “Canada’s Politics and Government Newsweekly,” ran this story:

Canada needs whistleblowers to protect stimulus package

Given the $1-billion gun registry overrun and the sponsorship scandal, there’s little reason to trust that this unprecedented expenditure will be managed competently or even honestly.

Displaying start of article containing 755 words – Many Canadians rightly fear that the massive government spending recently announced may simply be wasted or the money end up in the wrong hands, without creating jobs or helping the economy. Given the track record of our corporations (with fiascos like Bre-X and Nortel) and past government waste and corruption (such as the $1-billion gun registry overrun and the sponsorship scandal) we have little reason to trust that this unprecedented expenditure will be managed competently or even honestly.

Sounds so familiar!

And the newsletter I receive from Radio Canada International had this tidbit one day:

TORONTO: CBC IN STRAITS

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. President Hubert Lacroix says the public broadcaster is considering reducing services in coming months to cope with budget problems. In a speech in Toronto, Mr. Lacroix says the CBC faces an advertising shortfall of as much as $65 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, as advertisers reduce spending amidst the ongoing economic crisis. Mr. Lacroix says that while the CBC will likely break even this year, the future is problematic. The president said the broadcaster may sell assets, consolidate local stations or introduce more U.S. television shows. Mr. Lacroix says he has asked for a meeting with the prime minister, Mr. Harper, not to ask for a bigger subsidy but possibly for a line of credit or an advance of funding allotted for future years. On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Heritage Minister James Moore told The Globe and Mail newspaper that the government expects the CBC to manage with its $1-billion a year subsidy. Meanwhile, The Globe reported on Thursday that private broadcaster CTV plans to close money-losing television stations in Windsor and Wingham, ON.

Meanwhile,  Canadian Auto Worker union members will finish voting today on a tentative agreement which may or may not get the approval of the Canadian government. Although union negotiators have agreed to concessions, it’s not clear sailing:

The new deal is contingent on GM winning financial support from the governments of Canada and Ontario.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement has suggested the deal may not be acceptable to Ottawa, although he seemed more receptive today.

“I’m not here to pass judgment,” Clement said after a speech to the C.D. Howe Institute. “For government money to flow, there has to be the ability to be competitive in the new marketplace, there has to be a viable plan on a go-forward basis, there has to be the right kind of management decisions that have been made.”

Clement suggested that in the end, the only thing that will save the auto industry is the American consumer.

“If you’re asking me what will save the auto sector in North America, it’s what American consumers do and buy, not just what Canadians do and buy.”

GM and Chrysler have until March 31 to finalize restructuring plans to get access to Canadian government financial aid.

So, while Canada may not have the same problems with its financial institutions that we are  seeing  in the U.S.,  the spillover of the U.S. banking system’s crisis and our economic woes is unavoidable.  The condition of the Canadian financial system will have to be watched as Canadian banks assume more risk as they take over U.S. assets.

And, as of the moment, the Canadian government’s stimulus package remains hung up as the budget has still not passed the “Liberal-dominated Senate” as Opposition members demand “reports” on the details:

The reports, which detail the budget’s implementation and costs, are to be delivered this March, June and December ahead of opposition days in Parliament. This would give opposition parties the chance to move a no-confidence motion against the government if they wanted to trigger an election.

How about that? An opposition that could trigger a election.

Meanwhile, there was some fighting over the price tag in the bill to fund the government through September that passed yesterday. The $410 billion bill, on top of the $787 billion stimulus package approved in February is starting to bring out the rancor. But:

While most of the votes throughout the debate were along party lines, eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote to end the weeklong debate on the legislation while three Democrats opposed it. The Senate approved the measure by a voice vote.

So much for a solid opposition here…

***

More information on the Canadian stimulus plan and a comparison of the U.S. vs. the  Canadian situations and priorities

Canada’s Stimulus Plan–The Canadian plan focuses on infrastructure.  This article provides a list of measures and a chart of the action plan

Canada’s Fiscal Stimulus Package versus the Obama U.S. Plans

Secy. of Defense Robert Gates Downplays Possible U.S. Role as Fears of Mexico Collapse Mount; Don’t Be Fooled, There’s A Bush-Era Agenda Still Going On Here…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A couple of days ago I posted a press release from W.A.M. (Wake Up America) on the impending demise of the “E-Verify Program” which has been operating since the 1990’s. (See URGENT PRESS RELEASE March 4, 2009 from W.A.M. RE: Expiration of the “E-Verify Program” Which Screens Employment of Illegal Aliens.)

You have to wonder why this is being allowed to die, especially with the news coming out of Mexico.  Living only about 50 miles from the border (the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez area), I got to thinking.

On Monday (3/2) I saw a small AP article in the Albuquerque Journal hidden near the fold on page two which reported on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ appearance on Meet the Press the day before.  Since I don’t trust the AP to report anything anymore, I found the transcript of the show; here is the relevant passage:

March 1, 2009

Meet the Press

MR. GREGORY:  We’ve got a few more minutes, and I want to go through as quickly as we can some other really important topics.  The first is Mexico, a major threat on the border with Mexico because of a widening drug war there. The Economist magazine wrote this startling synopsis, and they call it “Who’s in charge?  The police chief in Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico’s border with America, resigned after drug gangs, who had murdered his deputy, threatened to kill one of his officers every 48 hours until he quit.” What’s going on there, and how big of a national security threat is this for the U.S.?

SEC’Y GATES:  Well, I think that what is important is that President Calderon of Mexico, perhaps for the first time, has, has taken on the battle against these cartels.  And because of corruption in the police and so on, he sent the federal army of Mexico into the fight.  The cartels are retaliating.  I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past.  Some of the old biases against cooperation with our–between our militaries and so on I think are being set aside.

MR. GREGORY:  You mean providing military supporting?

SEC’Y GATES:  Providing them with, with training, with, with resources, with reconnaissance and surveillance kinds of capabilities; but just cooperation, including in intelligence. But it clearly is a serious problem, and, and–but what I think people need to point out is the courage that Calderon has shown in taking this on, because one of the reasons it’s gotten as bad as it has is because his predecessors basically refused to do that.

This policy does not come out of the blue. The  plan was signed into law on June 30, 2008.

The Mérida Initiative (also called Plan Mexico by critics) is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.

In seeking partnership from the United States, Mexican officials point out that the illicit drug trade is a shared problem in need of a shared solution, and remark that most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. U.S. law enforcement officials estimate that US$12 to 15 billion per year flows from the United States to the Mexican traffickers, and that is just in cash, and doesn’t include all the money sent by wire transfers.[1] Other government agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the National Drug Intelligence Center, have estimated that Mexico’s cartels earn upwards of $23 billion in illicit drug proceeds from the United States.[2][3]

U.S. State Department officials are aware that Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s willingness to work with the United States is unprecedented on issues of security, crime and drugs, so the U.S. Congress passed legislation in late June 2008 to provide Mexico with $400 million and Central American countries with $65 million this year for the Mérida Initiative. The initiative was announced on 22 October 2007 and signed into law on June 30, 2008.

Now, this plan raises a couple of alarm bells. First, some are speculating that we should expect some sort of terrorist attack on the U.S. that will allow the Obama Administration to do something that will complete their power grab.  George Bush took 911 and we got a spate of new laws regarding security, FISA, and a whole new Homeland Security office.  It doesn’t take much to see the conditions in Mexico as a potential source of  a “transnational crime” of some sort.  What Obama would do with this sort of situation has been widely discussed.  Reports of  “camps” being built, the continuation of FISA, the economic problems and greater government intervention…well, would you be surprised if we saw some more power grabbed by Obama?

Secondly, what could the “cooperation” that Gates describes actually lead to?  The use of the word “just”, as in “just cooperation” automatically raises suspicion, as if it’s all being minimized to sound simple and benign. Foreign Policy In Focus analyzed the plan this way:

From what’s known of it, the package — officially dubbed the “Mérida Initiative” but more commonly referred to as “Plan Mexico” — contains direct donations of military and intelligence equipment, and training programs for Mexican law enforcement officials. A White House fact sheet lists surveillance equipment, helicopters and aircraft, scanners for border revisions, communications systems, and training programs for “strengthening the institutions of justice.” An additional $50 million dollars is earmarked for Central American countries to support their fight against “gangs, drugs, and arms.”

The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the “Overall Justification Document,” reported that more than a third of the package will be spent on aerial surveillance and facilitating the rapid deployment of troops.

But what has legislators and civil society worried on both sides of the border is not the money involved or the equipment to be sent. It’s the reach of Plan Mexico in recasting the binational relationship, to create what the Bush administration calls “a new paradigm for security cooperation.”

SNIP

The concept of a joint security strategy for North America goes back at least as far as the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in March of 2005. Since that time, the Bush administration has attempted to push its Northern American trade partners into a common front that would assume shared responsibility for protecting the United States from terrorist threats and bolstering U.S. global hegemony in the region.

SNIP

Plan Mexico twists the plot by presenting Bush administration efforts to create a North American security strategy in the guise of a war on drugs.

And Gates is still there as a carryover in Obama’s cabinet.

On Monday( 3/9) this site will be featuring a post on a planned “community,” with many of the target dates for reaching certain goals set for 2010.  The demise of E-Verify may be part of a larger scenario that’s being played out.  Remember “SPP”–you’ll be reading about it in more detail on Monday.

Is the plan going to work? A recent article from the El Paso Times reports on some doubts:

Lawmakers to evaluate Merida Initiative’s success

Meanwhile, fears abound that money, materials and services from the Merida Initiative won’t make it to their intended recipients, with corruption getting in the way and the potential for worsening violence as drug cartels continue to clash.

Gee, no “indicators”?  Doubts about whether “benchmarks” have been established? Sounds sort of  like how the “stimulus package” and bailout money is set up…no real oversight!

I found a rundown of some recent news items at The Albuquerque Journal site which paint a pretty grim picture of what’s going on. Click on the following headline to get the full list.

Updated at 11:20am — Cartels Said To Have 100,000 Foot Soldiers

Pentagon source tells Washington Times rival drug organizations may be negotiating a merger…

Here are the other headlines, which are descriptive enough:

7:10am 2/9/09 — Texas Plans for Possible Mexican Collapse: ‘You hope for the best, plan for the worst,’ Gov. Perry’s aide tells El Paso Times.

6:45am 2/2/09 — Ambassador: Mexico Not Collapsing: Top envoy responds to chorus of alarms by current and former U.S. officials over border violence.

9:45am 1/29/09 — Joint Chiefs Chairman Worries About Mexican Violence: Navy Adm. Mike Mullen tells D.C. press briefing that border drug war ‘has all of our attention.’

11:25am 1/14/09 — Military Report: Mexico’s ‘Sudden Collapse’ Possible: U.S. Joint Forces Command study puts Mexico on a par with Pakistan as global security threat.

9:35am 1/9/09 — U.S. Says It’s Ready for Mexican Violence: Homeland Security has a ‘surge’ plan, including use of military, if drug wars spill over the border. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told The New York Times this week that if Mexico’s vicious and escalating drug war spills over the border, the United States has several response plans, including the use of the military, the El Paso Times reported.

10:00am 1/7/09 — Ex-U.S. Drug Czar Warns of Mexican Chaos: McCaffrey tells incoming Obama administration ‘millions of refugees’ could surge across border…The United States has provided only minimal support for the Mexican government to date, with Congress approving the $400 million Merida Initiative worked out by President Bush with Mexican and Canadian participation only “after a divisive and insulting debate,” the report said…”A terrible tragedy is going to take place in the coming decade if we don’t closely ally ourselves with the courageous Mexican leadership of (President Felipe) Calderon’s administration — and develop a resourced strategy appropriate for the dangers we face,” McCaffrey told the incoming administration.

***

See that mention of Canada in the last excerpt?  You’ll be reading more about Canada next week…

And please remember who Felipe Calderon is. Recall that during Mexico’s national election in July 2006, there was a great deal of scuttlebutt around about how Calderon was “selected.”    As reported at the time:

Mexico Vote Gives Bush New “Amigo” in Latin America

Catherine Bremer – Reuters

Felipe Calderon’s election victory in Mexico gives the U.S. government a much-needed conservative ally in Latin America, where it has lost influence in recent years as a string of leftist leaders took power.

For months, it seemed that Washington would have to work with a combative Mexican leader in Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a fiery leftist who led opinion polls and promised to end two decades of U.S.-backed economic reforms.

But Calderon won the narrowest of victories and Mexico’s electoral court named him president-elect on Tuesday, throwing out Lopez Obrador’s accusations of massive fraud.

MORE

Now, doesn’t that sound real familiar?

Reviewing all this information, it’s plain to see that E-Verify is just an afterthought these days.  Maybe bigger things are brewing…


The SCANNER–International/Political Edition, 2/24/09 (Which Deficit is Obama “Halving”?; Canada Rubs U.S. Nose into Its Stable Banking System; GM/Chrysler Beg for Bailout Help in Canada, Too; Half of Foreign Criminals in Canada Are Fleeing to the U.S. [???])

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I heard a clip of The One yesterday talking about cutting that deficit on the news as I drove around town.

Obama said that he would halve the deficit….THAT HE HAD INHERITED.

Of course, the typical headline reads:

Obama pledges to halve budget deficit by 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to cut the ballooning U.S. budget deficit by half in the next four years and said the country would face another economic crisis if it did not address its debt problems soon.

Oh, this Reuters story finally gets to the real point, 6 paragraphs into the report, out there in the area which usually gets cut from local papers picking up the story.

“We cannot and will not sustain deficits like these without end,” he said. “Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.”

Frankly I”m surprised the clip I heard on the radio even got aired…but I guess that most people driving around might be busy on the phone, talking to someone else in the car, or too busy drinking a Slurpee to really notice the magic words “deficit we inherited.”  And by the time they hit the TV “news”–well, I bet somehow those magic words will be buried in pictures and glowing reports. Since I don’t watch TV news, I don’t know if that forceful pledge will be played in full or if it will be truncated to just the first part of the statement and the “inherited” bit fades into the ether.  I guess it won’t matter in the long run, since it will go down the memory hole, unless some Republican decides to dust it off someday.

I do have a question, oh Messiah:  When do you cut the deficits YOU are creating by a half??

***

While we here in the USA wallow in this muck, the folks in Canada are trying hard not to smirk. Yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was visiting touting the financial stability of Canada’s banking industry. From The Toronto Star:

PM praises Canada’s financial sector on U.S. TV

Feb 23, 2009 12:53 PM

Ottawa bureau chief

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper hit the Big Apple today — the heart of America’s economic meltdown — to boast about Canada’s stable banking system, warn against trade protectionism and note the insatiable appetite for oil south of the border.

SNIP

The prime minister sang the praises of Canada’s prudent banking and financial system, which he said can be attributed to “activist” regulation by Ottawa.

“We’re helped by the fact we have six major banks, three major insurance companies so it’s easier for the government to exercise moral suasion on the sector,” Harper said.

He said that Canada, while hit by the economic downturn, hasn’t suffered a meltdown of the financial sector or the mortgage foreclosures that have hit the U.S. economy so hard.

“We haven’t had to bail out any of our financial institutions,” Harper said. “There will be no government bailout of mortgages in Canada.”

***

But, it seems that Canada may not get off entirely scott-free of demands for government cash.  Guess who’s asking for help?

GM, Chrysler ask for billions in Canadian aid

General Motors has outlined a restructuring plan that would cut its Canadian workforce to 7,000 and seek as much as $7 billion from the federal and Ontario governments, while Chrysler is requesting around $2.8 billion in aid.

GM didn’t specify how much it will ask for, but Reuters quoted federal Industry Minister Tony Clement as saying the company is asking for between $6 and $7 billion.

MORE

The Canadian government doesn’t seem to want to bailout CAW pensions…time will tell.

***

I get a news summary from Radio Canada International every day (most of the news comes from the CBC) and noticed this short squib about how foreign criminals are heading out of Canada to the U.S.

2/22/07  10:37 PM

OTTAWA: REPORT CONCLUDES FOREIGN CRIMINALS ARE FLEEING CANADA

A new report to Canada’s government suggests that many foreign criminals might be fleeing abroad, mainly to the United States. It’s believed that about two thousand foreign criminals are hiding in Canada.  But a squad of special border police found that almost half of the criminals being tracked had left the country.  Last year, the auditor general criticized the agency for the large number of missing people.  There are concerns that the list of high-priority cases maintained by the Canada Border Services Agency is out of date.  The agency is responsible for deporting unwanted foreigners.  It has 1,973 priority cases for whom removal warrants have been issued.  The Agency removes about 12,000 people from Canada each year.  About 13 per cent are classified as criminals.  Three out of four of them are failed refugee claimants.

If you follow the link, you’ll get the current day’s news.  The funny thing is, however, the day I searched for this story, it wasn’t there. In fact, of all the story summaries I received in the RCI newsletter, this story about foreign criminals was the ONLY story that wasn’t up at the site.

The question is: WHY??

The bigger question is: WHO are these “foreign criminals,” how successful is the U.S. in finding them…and WHAT are they up to here in the U.S.?

***

By the way, the RCI site has extensive information on how to relocate to Canada, in case you want to get out of the U.S. (Scroll down a bit down the page to get to the information.)    Maybe if I were younger…