Monday, April 14, 2008

Free Trade Fraud

Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for refusing to let the worst administration in history make a shambles of the legislative process, as it has done to so much of our constitutional system.

The Colombia 'Free Trade' agreement proposed by the occupied White House does nothing for the workers, and nothing for this country. So much that the cabal has done is like this, it is only more welfare for our corporate sector.

Head of the AFL-CIO John Sweeney writes an op-ed today to try bringing light onto the matter. What he outlines for union workers there is more of a nightmare than our workers here have to deal with.

Globalization and trade should lift up and promote democratic societies. They should empower the many and lift the poor. They should create a fundamentally better world.

That is at the heart of an emerging and hopeful new consensus on trade.

For decades trade rules have protected business interests but offered few enforceable protections for workers' rights and human rights. Millions of good jobs have been shipped away from the United States, while living and environmental standards have been eroded in our trading partner countries. That is why we have fought to guarantee labor and environmental standards in our trade agreements.

But now the Bush administration's determination to ram through this agreement with Colombia before it has the capacity to uphold the rule of law threatens all the progress that has been made.

It's of little use to include a paper commitment to respect "freedom of association" when workers who organize and speak out for economic freedom -- and their families -- face an implicit death sentence. That is why working people in Colombian and American unions are united in opposition to ratification of this agreement.

President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe are pulling out all the stops to persuade Congress to approve the trade deal in this session. The Bush administration has mobilized its Cabinet to lead congressional delegations on sanitized field trips to Colombia. The Colombian government is reportedly spending more than $100,000 a month to lobby for the agreement.
Colombia claims to be taking steps to reduce the violence. That's good. But so far, it has done too little. And it has failed to bring its labor laws into compliance with international labor standards or enforce them effectively.

How many murders are "acceptable"? How many is too many? I can't answer those questions with a number other than zero.

And I know this: Unless working people can exercise their right to lift their families out of poverty and exploitation, trade cannot strengthen democracy or advance a better world.

The decimation of public interest, which is the purpose of the cretin in chief, has been so total under the present executive branch, that it is no longer even a consideration in their actions. Nothing in this 'agreement' benefits the U.S. Like the present attempts to forge a commitment to the Iraqi government, the executive branch has made an offer of benefits to another country that does nothing for U.S. workers.

Realization of the White House aims is widespread, and reader comments at WaPo do an excellent job of explicating the mess they are trying to create.

Comment from a reader:

iacitizen wrote:
As bad as the trade unionists and the workers in Columiba have it--and they are living under terrible circumstances--workers in America are also losing jobs. That alone should be enough to kill this deal. I can't believe we're negotiating trade deals in these hard economic times. Any member of Congress who approves any more trade deals will lose my vote.

Another informed opinion;
Southeasterner wrote:
.............So the same Republicans who claim to be against NAFTA now want to create another free trade agreement with Colombia?

Why in addition to the billions of aid we already give Colombia do we also need to give them a one-way free trade agreement for them to be our friends? We want to open trade, which will decrease the amount of cargo checks on Colombian imports by over 85%, to a country that supplies most of our cocaine? They don't sound like an ally they sound like a welfare recipient with a gun pointed at our head telling us what to do.

With or without a free trade agreement Colombia will still be our ally and still help us with our war on terrorism because we are the ones funding their “drug war”. The supporters of this bill could care less about our political agreements and are only concerned with shipping even more US jobs to a country with zero labor laws and bringing back more cocaine illegally.

Lula and Brazil = US ally
Uribe and Colombia = Bloods, Crypts and MS 13 ally
Chavez and Venezuela = Chevron and BP ally

My comment:
jocabel wrote:
That the government of Colombia violates basic standards of decency toward workers is enough to make this 'free trade' agreement unacceptable. Its complicity in murders makes it offensive. The administration sanctions any business interest no matter how lawless and abusive. That it calls Colombia successful shows its own lack of standards, and lawlessness.


WaPo editorialanimists have reached a new apex in aggressive ignorance in "Lapsed Principle" today. The Hiatt team gallops in, slamming Obama for campaign financing that results in lots for him to spend, while totally ignoring John McCain's violation of campaign finance laws.

I will ignore the idiot editors entirely, and give a few responsible and intelligent comments.

FergusonFoont wrote:
I know that the partisan Republican who wrote this editorial would very much like to see Obama only have available to him somewhere between a quarter and a tenth as much to spend during the general election phase of this campaign as John McCain had, but even his archest enemies do not accuse Barack Obama of being blithingerly stupid.

What is much more interesting is John McCain's acceptance of public financing funds during the primary phase of this election and then "opting out" of its limits so he can attrack more contributions after he has the nomination sewn up, to spend on trashing Democrats, thereby accelerating the general election phase for himself.

One can support a change in our election financing toward public financing while continuing to operate under current rules, as Obama has done. It's a bit dicier to permit McCain to shift back and forth, accepting public money at need but rejecting the conditions for its acceptance.

That's called "fraud."

Then succinctly:
Avedon wrote:
So, the fact that McCain is breaking the law on campaign finance is no biggie, eh?

Why should Obama be hamstrung if McCain isn't even going to play by his own rules?

And you're going to give McCain cover for it, too.

And a neat exposition of just the facts:
cassidyt wrote:
How utterly absurd. In contract terms, Obama made an offer and McCain failed to accept. Now McCain - and the Post - want to argue that Obama gave McCain and open-ended option! Look, McCain didn't accept the offer, as evidenced by his recent attempts to exit the public financing system. Obama certainly didn't offer to give McCain the option of first determining whether private or public funding was more advantageous to his campaign before accepting or rejecting Obama's offer.

Another ridiculous editorial from the Post. Obama should, and will, spend McCain into oblivion. Sorry, Freddie.

Then there's mine;
jocabel wrote:
John McCain's violation of campaign financing laws will not be prosecuted because of a lack of members on the regulatory board. Still, WaPo editors seems to be ignoring it entirely. Strange that only Mr. Obama's practices, not Mr. McCain's are the object of concern. Law breaking by GOP candidates, it would seem, is so standard a practice that is assumed in any campaign.

The WaPo editors continue to feature shameful collections of bias rather than facts in the 'editorials' they post.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unions these days sure seem obsessed with the welfare of non-Americans. I suppose being part of the Democratic Party for so long has twisted their thinking into internationalism, shunning nationalism.

3:15 AM  

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