Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NAFTA Reform Just the Start - U.S. Trade Critics

U.S. trade policies have been catastrophic for America for decades. We need a dramatic reversal that probably won't come with the next administration:

The next U.S. president needs to fundamentally redirect U.S. trade policy to preserve manufacturing jobs and reduce the huge trade deficit -- not just tinker with the North American Free Trade Agreement, critics of U.S. trade deals said on Wednesday.

"We need to change the whole discussion about investment, about subsidies, about enforcement of trade laws," said Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union. "How does any country continue to prosper when it's accumulating an average annual trade deficit of about $700 billion per year?"

But Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said it was more important in the short term to change the agreement's investment provisions because they encourage U.S. companies to move jobs to Mexico.

Similar reforms are needed in other trade agreements, including the one that set the terms of China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, she said.

Wallach blamed NAFTA, China's WTO accession and other trade agreements for many of the roughly 3 million manufacturing jobs the United States has lost since 2000.

Seized Laptop Shows Chavez-Rebel Ties

Chavez is a big problem in Latin America:

A single laptop can reveal much, and so it is with the digital treasure chest that Colombian commandos found in the jungle quarters of slain rebel leader Raul Reyes.

Files in the computer seized in Saturday's raid into Ecuador that claimed the lives of Reyes and 23 of his comrades offer an intimate portrait of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's desire to undermine Colombia's U.S.-allied government.

If authentic, the documents show that sympathies Chavez first aired publicly in January grew out of a relationship that dates back more than a decade. But Chavez is not one of the correspondents, and his sentiments mentioned in these documents are relayed solely through the rebels.

Venezuela says the documents are lies and fabrications. If they are, they are expertly done.

Its a dangerous situation:
Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia on Monday, after Colombian government commandos conducted a weekend strike against communist rebels inside Ecuador's borders.

Venezuela has also announced that it will be expelling Colombia's ambassador as a war of words erupted in South America over the raid that killed Raul Reyes, a prominent member of FARC -- the guerrilla army that is considered the world's richest insurgency.

Don't be surprised if warmonger Bush is inciting the hostilities:
Ecuador and Venezuela say they are moving thousands of troops to Colombia's borders, a day after Colombian forces killed a leftist rebel leader in Ecuadorean territory. Colombia later charged that high-ranking Ecuadorean officials met recently with the slain rebel, Raúl Reyes, to accommodate the guerrillas' presence there.

The developments raised tensions in a region that has been on edge in the several months since Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez had a bitter falling-out. Mr. Reyes was the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Obama, Clinton Speech Transcripts 3-4-08

Hillary lives to fight another day. In the process she will destroy the Democrats chances of winning in November (Read Entire Transcript here):

This is your campaign and your moment, and I need your support. For more than a year, I've been listening to the voices of people across our country, you know, the single mom who told me she works two jobs, neither provides health care for her kids. She just can't work any harder.

The little girl who asked how I'd help people without homes? It turns out her family was about to lose their own.

The young man in a Marine Corps shirt who said he waited months for medical care, he said to me, "Take care of my buddies. A lot of them are still over there. And then will you please help take care of me?"

Americans don't need more promises. They've heard plenty of speeches. They deserve solutions, and they deserve them now.


America needs a president who's ready to lead, ready to stand up for what's right even when it's hard. And after seven long years of George W. Bush...


... we sure are ready for a president who will be a fighter, a doer, and a champion for the American people again.


Oh, I think we're ready for health care, not just for some people or most people, but for every American.


I think we're ready for an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, but every single hard-working American who deserves a shot at the American dream. I think we're ready to declare energy independence and create millions of green-collar jobs.


We're ready to reach out to our allies and confront our shared challenges. We're ready to end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan.


And we're past ready to serve our veterans with the same devotion that they served us.

Barack Obama is undaunted. But he faces hard times ahead (Read Entire Transcript here):
You know, decades ago, as a community organizer, I learned that the real work of democracy begins far from the closed doors and marbled halls of Washington.

It begins on street corners and front porches; in living rooms and meeting halls with ordinary Americans who see the world as it is and realize that we have it within our power to remake the world as it should be.

It is with that hope that we began this unlikely journey – the hope that if we could go block by block, city by city, state by state and build a movement that spanned race and region; party and gender; if we could give young people a reason to vote and the young at heart a reason to believe again; if we could inspire a nation to come together again, then we could turn the page on the politics that’s shut us out, let us down, and told us to settle. We could write a new chapter in the American story.

We were told this wasn’t possible. We were told the climb was too steep. We were told our country was too cynical – that we were just being naïve; that we couldn’t really change the world as it is.

But then a few people in Iowa stood up to say, “Yes we can.” And then a few more of you stood up from the hills of New Hampshire to the coast of South Carolina. And then a few million of you stood up from Savannah to Seattle; from Boise to Baton Rouge. And tonight, because of you – because of a movement you built that stretches from Vermont’s Green Mountains to the streets of San Antonio, we can stand up with confidence and clarity to say that we are turning the page, and we are ready to write the next great chapter in America’s story.

In the coming weeks, we will begin a great debate about the future of this country with a man who has served it bravely and loves it dearly. And tonight, I called John McCain and congratulated him on winning the Republican nomination.

But in this election, we will offer two very different visions of the America we see in the twenty-first century. Because John McCain may claim long history of straight talk and independent-thinking, and I respect that. But in this campaign, he’s fallen in line behind the very same policies that have ill-served America. He has seen where George Bush has taken our country, and he promises to keep us on the very same course.