Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today President Obama hosts a Summit of the US, Mexico, and Canada - It is time for action!


The United StatesMexico and Canada
524 Years of Shared History

Over six years ago I wrote an article calling for a North American for Americans that outlined a program to build bridges between the United StatesCanada and Mexico through a comprehensive treaty to share and protect each other in the areas of energy independence, human rights, economic collaboration, agriculture production, and safety and justice for our citizens.

With issues like Immigration Reform, drug trafficking, economic stability, terrorism. and the Keystone Pipeline pressing the agenda both the Obama Administration and the two political parties once again should stop talking about the problems and take action to capitalize on the wonderful opportunity we have to correct many wrongs and recognize the many good things a real North American partnership would bring.

Toward that end the following is the article I wrote first in mid-2008 calling for a North America for Americans program.  I then updated the article in 2010, 2012 and 2013 waiting for the US government to wake up and act.  We are closer today than ever and all citizens of these three great nations should demand their politicians embrace such a program that serves the greater good of the people.

Since our discovery 524 years ago the three North neighbors have grown up and evolved in ways that will forever keep us tied together culturally, economically, politically and from a national security standpoint.

We have thousands of miles of common borders and millions of people have moved back and forth between these three nations. In spite of our differences, there is much that binds us together. Yet these closest and most consistent of allies have never embraced a policy that can serve the benefit of all three neighbors.

Our problems are common from economic stability to natural resource management, from national security to energy independence. If we shared resources there are numerous ways the three could benefit from the relationship.

Even our national priorities are similar. We all seek energy independence, security for our citizens, quality health care, better education, improved human rights, freedom to achieve success without financial or cultural discrimination, and the ability to pursue an American Dream.

We complement each other in ways we seldom appreciate.  Canada has excess oil and we have excess natural gas. Mexico has oil but needs better health care, education and economic development. All three have abundant natural resources and the ability to share those resources and make all of us independent in a variety of ways.

Our problems are often ignored by politicians but obvious to compassionate citizens. Since I wrote the article nearly 200,000 innocent Mexican citizens have been brutally murdered in drug wars along the border with the USA. They were caught in the crossfire of criminal elements intent on controlling the huge illegal drug trade in the United States.

For some odd reason the number of Mexican deaths seems to have been ignored by the American media and politicians. So let us put it in perspective. Our total military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are about 7,000 over the past decade. Approximately 125,000 civilians were killed during the entire wars, so about 132,000 deaths took place in the two war torn countries.

In about half the years more than 200,000 Mexican civilians have been killed in a war for control of our southern border. Included are men, women and children, not soldiers.

We should be ashamed of such a travesty taking place under our very noses. Of course there is corruption in Mexico, just like on Wall Street and in WashingtonDCAmerica is founded on the principle that crime does not pay and criminals should be hunted down and locked up. Why do we turn a deaf ear to the American crime that has settled just across the border to avoid the reach of our laws?

Immigration, or illegal immigration is another common problem between neighbors. If we helped Mexico develop an economic development program that provided fair wages and benefits to Mexican workers, there would be no need for them to cross the border illegally to seek a better life in America.

Much of the economic pressure on America came from foreign dependence on oil and the price manipulation of crude oil and gas in world commodity markets. While we have reduced oil dependence substantially, because of fuel efficiencies and mass production of domestic oil, we still import too much.

If congress and the president had the guts we could be energy independent already as the combined oil and natural gas resources of the US, Canada and Mexico are more than sufficient to meet all our energy needs for now and the future.

Obama blocked off shore drilling, has not supported natural gas development, and rejected the Keystone pipeline from Canada, three ill-advised moves that have undermined the hopes for US energy independence. It is time to get real. Our economy and our high standard of living, the envy of most nations, depends on abundant energy at reasonable prices. We have neither.

Our first economic concern should be energy independence from foreign control and manipulation. There must be an American strategy that includes our neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico.  Between the three (USACanada and Mexico) we have more than enough reserves of oil, natural gas and alternative energy capacity to meet our needs forever.

Between the three we have the technical skills, exploration capacity, financial resources and the spirit of freedom needed to create our own energy cartel to meet our future needs, to control inflation which is now driven by oil prices, to offset problems in one area (hurricanes) with increased production in another area (Canadian shale reserves), and to finally gain independence from foreign manipulation.

There should be no more Dubai's financed with the blood money from American consumers. In the future the horrendous transfer of wealth from the Americas to Arab and other nations including hostile energy producing nations, must stop, keep the massive wealth in America.

If the United States, Mexico and Canada decided our shared interests were far more important than our differences, that our heritages are bound together through generations, that our borders touch and that if the citizens of all three countries had good homes, good health and good jobs, there would be no need for illegal immigration, then we could all live in peace and harmony.

Well the money we wasted buying inflated oil could have accomplished just that and isn't it about time we used that money to do some good for the Americas? Stop pointing fingers and work together. Mexico and Canada have incredible oil and natural gas reserves like the United States. We all have a need and desire to help each other grow. And we sure don't need the rest of the world to interfere.

Years ago when we passed NAFTA our biggest mistake was not that it went too far, it didn't go far enough. Oh we moved jobs to Mexico and US manufacturers saved money, but at what cost? We did not protect the workers down there like we protect them here. We did not make sure the people of Mexico got a better standard of living, decent homes, food, housing, and a better education for their children.

Maybe it is time we stepped back and did it right. Maybe we need a new trade agreement to replace NAFTA based on a shared interest in creating energy independence for all three nations. One that assures that excess profits are invested in the people, in their standard of living and quality of life. Maybe we should stop glamorizing the excesses like the lavish development of Dubai and start focusing on the real world which is the people living in our three countries in substandard conditions with inferior education and jobs in the wrong place.

Something is terribly wrong with the system. All the nuclear reactors in the world and all the alternative energy in the world will not overcome corruption in the marketplace, unfair business actions, malicious price manipulation of the futures market, and the evil intentions of oil speculators. Still the price of gasoline remains excessive and hostage to foreign oil producers.

Nuclear reactors are still dangerous. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were not jokes nor movies, they were real. I was at TMI for the multi-billion dollar clean up of that "harmless" accident. If $5-7 billion is harmless what is the world coming to? As for Chernobyl, I met the kids that were victims of radiation poisoning, the kids that must remain in the hot zone for life because they can contaminate other people. Of course a full life for many of them was about 10-12 years.

Of the radiation that was released by Chernobyl, over 70% fell onto the population of Belarus resulting in 800,000 children in Belarus and 380,000 in the Ukraine being at a high risk of contracting cancer or leukemia.  It will be another 24,000 years before the land is safe and the children no longer suffer.

Since the disaster there has also been an increase of 800% in the incidence of cancers in children living near to the reactor plus there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of babies born with substantial physical disabilities. Babies born limbless, deformed and with severe brain damage.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and other groups in Britain help deprived children living in heavily contaminated areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster (primarily Belarus and Ukraine) by bringing them to the UK for a month-long respite holiday where they benefit from, among other things, clean air, good nutrition, physical safety and an environment free of radioactive contamination. I met the kids in Scotland. Is was estimated the month long holiday extended the lives of the children up to a year.

There is an accident in the Ukraine, in Eastern Europe, and sheep die a thousand miles away in Scotland. Land from nuclear testing over the years is a dead zone for hundreds of years. Nuclear waste at our nuclear plants sit stored at the plants, vulnerable to terrorist attack, because congress cannot get a nuclear disposal facility built. When a nuclear plant wears out, and they do just like everything else, the plant must be decommissioned and that cost is now more than the cost of building the plant in the first place. Nuclear has a role but must be used with great caution.

On the other hand, there are known reserves of oil and gas in North America sufficient to meet the our needs for 300 more years. We are not running out of oil tomorrow. The price manipulation of oil has nothing to do with the supply and demand, the normal supply and demand. Off shore drilling, even the very limited Alaskan drilling, can only help us be more independent. But we need refinery capacity to make the various types of gas and oil we need if we get the crude locally.

Together the three nations should develop and implement a long term North American Energy Independence plan that makes all known and unknown reserves available to the producers including the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific deep water reserves, the limited areas in Alaska that should be developed, and the many other known reserves in the countries.

As new territory is made available for drilling refining capacity must be expanded in the Americas to produce the products we need. There must be substantial incentives for alternative energy efforts but we must not be so foolish as to think alternative energy can meet much of our current and future energy needs.

Significant savings can be generated by energy conservation programs. For example, energy savings of 50% or more can be made in our older housing stock. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand homes and a real dent in energy demand can be realized.

A meaningful partnership is needed between the three bordering nations, the energy companies in those nations, the conservation and alternative fuel companies in those nations, and the building code enforcement authorities in those nations. Such a partnership will protect and create jobs, stop foreign trade deficits, stop the transfer of wealth to Arab nations, and stop the out of control oil and gas prices.

Beyond that an economic partnership can raise the living standard in Mexico, end illegal immigration to the USA, ensure long term economic development in Canada, and provide the citizens of all three countries with better education, food, housing and security. Such a partnership can also end the senseless killing of tens of thousands of innocent Mexicans caught in the crossfire of America's drug war.

Is it not worth the effort to make this happen? Surely this will prove to us and to the world that America is not only our brother's keeper but partner as well. It seems time our closest neighbors and long term partners who helped build America should share in the goodness and glory of America? Together we have a chance to change history.

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