From David Sirota via email:
Clinton Criticizing Closure of Indiana Factory That Clinton HelpedClose
By David Sirota
Credo Action, 4/28/08
In my upcoming book, The Uprising (due out 5/27)<http://www.amazon.com/dp/0307395634?tag=sirotablog-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0307
395634&adid=1BYG4T2ZJJAZXD5JM0YF one of the threads tying together the
disparate forms of populismon both the Right and Left is a sense of confused frustration
at a political system whose politicians employ disinformation andpropaganda to make
basic economic issues indecipherable. This has been no more obvious than on the issue
of trade and globalization in the presidential race - and Hillary Clinton's latest television
ad (which is also a standard part of her stump speech) shows exactly what I'm talking
Clinton is airing a television ad in Indiana, bemoaning the closure of a defense contractor Magnequench's manufacturing plant inValparaiso (she is also echoing this line in her
stump speeches). Looking at the camera, she tells us she's upset that the 200 jobs
that were sent to China, and that "now America's defense relies on Chinese spare parts."
And then comes the kicker: She tells viewers that "George Bush could have stopped it,
but he didn't."
Clinton is certainly right that it is a tragedy that 200 American jobs were killed in a
corporate deal that also exported sensitive military technology to China. But she forgets
to mention that it wasn't George Bush who was in the key position to stop it - it was Bill
Back in 1995, a Chinese consortium, which included two Chinese state-owned companies,
made a bid to take over Magnequench. Because the company makes key parts for
smart bombs, the takeover had to be approved by the Clinton administration's Committee
on Foreign Investments in the United States. Despite the national security and economic problems with selling off such critical manufacturing capacity to the Chinese - and despite
the knowledge that such a deal would likely end in a domestic mass layoff - the Clinton administration approved the deal.
This same deal - not surprisingly -paved the way for those 200 Indiana jobs and that
sensitive military technology to be shipped to China.The Clinton administration's move
was not surprising. This was an administration whose NAFTA and China PNTR record
more than proved it was intent on helping Big Money interests face as little resistance to international financial transactions as possible - consequences be damned.
But the move was very controversial, raising the ire of keyHillary Clinton surrogate Sen.
Evan Bayh (D-IN). As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, "Bayh was particularly disturbed by the committee's decision in 1995 to approve a Chinese consortium's
takeover of Magnequench Inc."
In 2006, Bayh specifically slammed the Clinton administration's approval of the deal to
the South Bend Tribune, saying "It's not smart to put ourselves in the position of
relying on the Chinese for a critical component of a vital weapon system, and yet that
is what the CFIUS process has allowed."
Unfortunately, as he has campaigned around Indiana with Hillary Clinton listening to
her decry the Magenquench fiasco, Bayh has suddenly gone silent on the matter.
Apparently, the power-worshiping pursuit of the vice presidency is enough to silence
a senator whose constituents were so brazenly sold out and who had previously feigned
outrage at the situation. Luckily, at least some Hoosiers have not forgotten.
Here's just one recent letter to the editor - this one from the MerrillvillePost-Tribune on 4/17/08:
Hillary Clinton must have been hoping we Hoosiers have short memories when she
to take Magnequench as her main talking point in Valparaiso. Apparently Evan Bayh
tell her the company was sold in 1995 to an investment group, Sextant, that included
two Chinese companies. Her husband was president at the time and allowed this to happen.
In 1995, Beijing San Huan New Material High-Tech Inc. and China National Non-Ferrous
Metals Import & Export Corp. partnered with an investment firm, the Sextant Group Inc.,
to acquire Magnequench. The sale required approval from the Committee on Foreign Investmentsin the U.S. That committee is chaired by the secretary of the treasury. It
was approved by the committee even though it was known that China National
Non-Ferrous Metals is run under the State Council, an arm of the Chinese government.
That same year, it was found by the U.S. International Trade Commission that the San
Huan New Materials was associated with the Chinese government and was engaged in
illegal practices that harmed domestic industry.
The Clinton White House had one more chance in 1999 to stop the move when the
Anderson, Ind., plant shut down and started shipping the equipment to China, but it
failed to act. Can we really trust a Clinton not to let our jobs and national security go
Ed Dixon, Valparaiso
Certainly, some will attempt to argue that Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton and therefore
she is perfectly justified in criticizing what happened in Valparaiso. But that strained
logic crashes into two walls of truth. First and foremost, Clinton has been citing her
experience as a top economic and national security adviser in the Clinton administration
as proof she's the most experienced candidate running. Either you take her at her world
and you believe her experience in the administration was very real and very serious,
or she's the most inexperienced person ever to make a major bid for president of the
I, for one, take her at her word about her experience- and that means it is perfectly
appropriate - nay, essential - to ask her to answer for major decisions like the Clinton administration's approval of a deal shipping sensitive military technology to the Chinese
and eliminating critical jobs in an economically hard-hit part of the heartland.
And let's not forget -Hillary Clinton was an outspoken supporter of the China PNTR deal
that helped smooth these kinds of deals for the long-haul.Then there's the issue of blame.
Even if you somehow don't think Clinton should have to answer for a major policy of the administration she brags about working in, it's hard to argue that she's being forthright
by airing an ad blaming the deal on George Bush - and not on Bill Clinton.
And that gets us back to the intense sense of outrage brewing all over the country. It is
an outrage inherent in Ed Dixon's letter to the editor - one that suggests more and more Americans know they are be treated like fools. Politicians like Clinton head to Indiana
airing ads pretending to care about economic havoc that they helped sow, denying their
own long record of advocating for NAFTA, then manufacture staged photo-ops so that the national press corps can snap pictures of them downing a shot of whiskey - as if that proves
their down-home credentials.
But more Americans have a sense that something is wrong - that these politicians are
lying to them in a desperate attempt at election-year pandering. It is this awakening and corresponding outrage that is now being channeled into a populist uprising on both the
Right and Left. And as my book will show, that populism is not just impacting the presidential election, but changing American politics before our eyes.