nafta

nafta: Page 1

Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Ruben Navarrette supports lowering U.S. wages to global levels - 11/27/09

Ruben Navarrette offers a "Special to CNN" called "U.S. workers can't hide from competition" [1] which can be summarized thusly: "suck it up, American workers! You have no right not to have your wages fall to Bangladeshi levels".

He discusses Luis Gutierrez' bogus "hire Americans first" provision, and says:

Will Jerry Brown far-left radio diatribes be used by Gavin Newsom, GOP to portray themselves as mainstream? - 10/21/09

For three years in the 90s, former California governor Jerry Brown had a radio program Berkeley's far-left KPFA. Jack Chang of the Sacramento Bee has obtained copies of some of the programs (link, see [1]) and is ready to reveal some of their shocking contents. He speculates that Gavin Newsom (a strong illegal immigration supporter) and the GOP might use the excerpts against Brown. For instance, consider this shocking bit:

[Brown] said U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, had "sold out" U.S. truck drivers by letting their Mexican counterparts drive uninspected vehicles into the United States.

I don't know what we're supposed to be shocked by: whether because Brown called them out, or whether because Brown opposed allowing potentially unsafe Mexican trucks on American roads as part of a NAFTA scheme that would indeed result in truckers' wages trending towards those of their Mexican competitors. If the first, who cares? Next question. If the second, Brown is definitely going against Beltway orthodoxy, but he was right.

Now, that doesn't mean that "Moonbeam" is right on everything; far from it. However, he does have quite a bit more backbone and integrity than Arnold Schwarzenegger and a combination with him and a similar conservative as Lt. Gov. would probably be better than what we have now. And, unless he starts making open borders noises, it would be far preferable to Newsom.

Other shocking! comments follow; for the first, note that the prison guards union and the like are quite powerful. Feel free to be shocked! in comments:

Mexican trucks on U.S. highways program on hold... for now (Ron Kirk) - 03/11/09

From this:

The Obama administration will try to reinvent a program to allow Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways.

An 18-month-old pilot program that allowed a few Mexican trucks beyond a border buffer zone died when President Barack Obama signed a sweeping $410 billion government spending bill on Wednesday. The bill barred spending on the pilot program.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Debbie Mesloh, said Obama has told the office to work with Congress, the Transportation and State departments and Mexican officials to come up with legislation to create "a new trucking project that will meet the legitimate concerns" of Congress and U.S. commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Note that Obama's choice to head up that effort will the the U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk. He's a very strong NAFTA supporter who's waiting to be confirmed.

Ron Kirk, Obama's U.S. Trade Representive? (supported "NAFTA freeway") - 12/19/08

Barack Obama is apparently considering naming former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk as U.S. Trade Representative. Kirk is a strong NAFTA booster while Obama has only pretended not to be one. During the campaign, Obama played a cute game: pretending to want to "renegotiate" NAFTA, only to later admit that he'd been misleading. With Kirk, at least what they want to do is a bit more out in the open.

Around March 12, 2001, Dino Chiecci of the Associated Press included this in "Meeting of Minds/Governors agree on Dallas trade center" (PDF link):

Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk said “75 percent of goods that move between Mexico and the United States by truck move come through our community on Interstate 35. This is our effort to make that corridor designated the 'NAFTA Freeway' the true river of trade between our communities."

Yes, you read that right: Obama's choice supported a "NAFTA Freeway", nowadays called the TransTexas Corridor. While the latter is a real plan in the late planning stages in Texas, endless hacks have claimed that its Mexico to Canada version - the NAFTA Superhighway is just tin foil hat talk. Accordingly, expect fun word games ahead, as Obama's supporters try to explain that that isn't the same as a "NAFTA Superhighway", something that those supporters have said isn't a plan despite Obama describing something that sounds an awful like it and despite Obama supporting a secretive Bush scheme (the SPP.gov) to "harmonize" regulations between the three countries.

Note also that Obama's choice to be Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, doesn't really oppose "free trade"; she simply supports "fair trade", i.e., "free trade" with fluffed pillows to make things a little more comfortable for those negatively affected.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce collaborating with Mexican government on trucks? (Thomas Donohue) - 09/23/08

In 2006, Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. suggested that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce consider registering as a Foreign Agent. Now, from an article entitled "Mexican lobby fights for truck program" (link):
The House has made it veto-proof clear: The controversial pilot program allowing big Mexican trucks to cross the U.S. border and travel into the country must end.

The Senate has yet to act, though. And Mexico and its U.S. big-business allies are ramping up their efforts to block the repeal, including a renewed warning by Mexican officials to retaliate against U.S. exports if the program is abolished.

Mexican Embassy officials say the year-old pilot program has been a positive development for both countries...

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is bolstering Mexico’s efforts to save the program, arguing that the Mexican trucks are tightly regulated and offer unique business opportunities to the U.S. economy. And to highlight the issue, Chamber President Thomas Donohue recently traveled to Mexico to confer about the program with key officials.

"This whole issue is much more wrapped up in immigration and anti-Mexican sentiment that you see across the board," said Chamber lobbyist Janet Kavinoky, who leads the Americans for Transportation Mobility [fasterbettersafer.org]...
I'd like more information on to what extent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with the Mexican government.

Bush admin agrees to two more years of Mexican trucks - 08/04/08

From this:
The Bush administration on Monday extended a test program allowing long-haul trucks from Mexico full access to U.S. highways for up to two years, despite pending legislation in Congress to shut it down.

"We intend this extension to reassure trucking companies that they will have sufficient time to realize a return on their investment, and we anticipate additional participation with this extra time," said John Hill, the Transportation Department's top trucking safety regulator...
Previously:
Mary Peters, Carlos Gutierrez, Mexican official team up to promote Mexican trucks in U.S.
Sen. Byron Dorgan moves to block Mexican trucks (NAFTA)
"Mexican trucks approved for long-haul trips in U.S."
Mexican trucks to be allowed to carry cargo on U.S. highways (NAFTA)

UPDATE: There's more here, and here Democrats Rep. James Oberstar and Senator Byron Dorgan say they'll block the program as soon as they can.

John McCain at National Council of La Raza convention (charter schools, immigration "reform") - 07/14/08

[UPDATE: Did McCain pledge to stop immigration raids?]

Yesterday, Barack Obama spoke at the National Council of La Raza convention. Today, it's John McCain's turn to pander to that far-left, extremist-funding, racist-awarding group, and his prepared remarks are here.

"La Raza runs one of the largest housing counseling programs in the country that has helped tens of thousands of Latinos become homeowners with secure mortgages."

Yes, indeed. And, they've made it quite clear that that or a similar program is racially-specific.

He then says that he's an "unapologetic supporter of NAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, and the Colombian Free Trade Agreement" and once again promotes a "hemispheric free trade agreement".

Then this bit of "conservative" thinking:

I'm a strong believer in charter schools. La Raza has helped establish 100 charter schools and the results they are producing are very encouraging.

One of the charter schools funded by La Raza is has a "reconquista" nature, the Academia Semillas del Pueblo. See this for more on some others. Does McCain know the nature of those schools? Does he care?

He then reiterates that he supports amnesty:

I don't want to fail again to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. We must prove we have the resources to secure our borders and use them, while respecting the dignity and rights of citizens and legal residents of the United States. When we have achieved border security goal, we must enact and implement the other parts of practical, fair and necessary immigration policy. We have economic and humanitarian responsibilities as well, and they require no less dedication from us in meeting them.

Then, McCain reads an excerpt from the Arizona Republic's article "205 Migrants Die Hard, Lonely Deaths", the same excerpt he read into the Congressional Record on July 12, 2005 in support of McCain-Kennedy (PDF link):

Several years ago, the leading newspaper in my state published an article putting faces on the tragic human costs of illegal immigration, and I would like to briefly quote from it: 'Maria Hernandez Perez was No. 93. She was almost 2. She had thick brown hair and eyes the color of chocolate... [two other cases deleted]... We can't let immigrants break our laws with impunity. We can't leave our borders undefended. But these people are God's children, who wanted simply to be Americans, and we cannot forget the humanity God commands of us as we seek a remedy to this problem.

Needless to say, he's being extremely sleazy. If our laws were enforced - something that both McCain and the NCLR have opposed - many of those deaths would not have occurred. It's those who support illegal immigration - including McCain and the NCLR - who are partially responsible for those deaths, not those who want our laws to be enforced.

Then, as if the above wasn't enough, he confirmed his support for amnesty yet one more time:

"I spoke recently at both the NALEO and LULAC conferences, as did Senator Obama. I did not use those occasions to criticize Senator Obama. I would prefer not to do so today. But he suggested in his speeches there and here, that I turned my back on comprehensive reform out of political necessity. I feel I must, as they say, correct the record. At a moment of great difficulty in my campaign, when my critics said it would be political suicide for me to do so, I helped author with Senator Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform, and fought for its passage. I cast a lot of hard votes, as did the other Republicans and Democrats who joined our bipartisan effort. So did Senator Kennedy. I took my lumps for it without complaint. My campaign was written off as a lost cause. I did so not just because I believed it was the right thing to do for Hispanic Americans. It was the right thing to do for all Americans. Senator Obama declined to cast some of those tough votes. He voted for and even sponsored amendments that were intended to kill the legislation, amendments that Senator Kennedy and I voted against. I never ask for any special privileges from anyone just for having done the right thing. Doing my duty to my country is its own reward. But I do ask for your trust that when I say, I remain committed to fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform, I mean it. I think I have earned that trust.

Then, even more Hispandering:

"Let me close by expressing my respect and gratitude for the contributions of Hispanic-Americans to the culture, economy and security of the country I have served all my adult life. I represent Arizona where Spanish was spoken before English was, and where the character and prosperity of our state owes a great deal to the many Arizonans of Hispanic descent who live there. And I know this country, which I love more than almost anything, would be the poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of those millions of Americans whose families came here from other countries in our hemisphere. Latinos are among the hardest working most productive people in our country. The strength of your religious faith and the strength and closeness of your families are a great force for social stability and individual happiness. In my recent visit to Mexico, I visited the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and was greatly moved by the experience, and came to appreciate all the more your deep devotion to the God who created us and loves us all equally. I will honor your contributions to America for as long as I live. We would not be the special country we are without you.

Then, he smears those who support our laws:

I know many of you are Democrats, and many of you would usually vote for the presidential candidate of that party. I know I must work hard to win your votes, but you have always given me a respectful hearing, and I appreciate it. I know many of you were disappointed and hurt by those who used the debate on immigration last year, not to respectfully debate the issue, as most did, but to denigrate the contributions of Hispanics to our great country. I denounced those insults then, and I denounce them today.

Influence on both sides of the border - 07/03/08

"Influence on both sides of the border/Activists' political power is rising in Chicago and their homeland, as they seek reforms through marches and money"/Antonio Olivo and Oscar Avila/Chicago Tribune/[[April 6, 2007]]/

SPP North American Leaders Summit April 21, 22 in New Orleans - 04/20/08

The fourth annual "North American Leaders Summit" - part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership started by George Bush - will be held Monday and Tuesday in New Orleans and will be attended by Bush, Felipe Calderon of Mexico, and Stephen Harper of Canada. Expect the news reports about the event to be credulous. Speaking of which, Norma Greenaway of the Canwest News Service/Ottawa Citizen offers this:

The annual leaders' gathering, popularly referred to as the Amigos Summit, is being held against the backdrop of a gripping race for the U.S. presidency where the North American Free Trade Agreement has become a favourite punching bag of Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama... The two have promised to kill or rewrite the pact if elected president as they compete for the support of voters, many of whom blame NAFTA for job losses, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Well, not exactly. Obama recently spoke in code, indicating his support for the SPP process, and of course there's GoolsbeeGate to consider. Her paper was given ("obtained") a warning to the leaders from the "North American Competitiveness Council", a group of major businesses such as Home Depot:

Among other things, [the warning] expressed frustration over "serious roadblocks" that have hampered efforts to make borders within North America more efficient and secure... "Our most critical request to the leaders is for them to ensure that the SPP remains a dynamic and effective path forward for trilateral and bilateral co-operation," says the report, urging the leaders to make clear "sustained progress on the SPP agenda is a strategic priority."... "To the extent NAFTA itself continues to be a target, efforts to "deepen NAFTA" will be largely unsuccessful," [a draft version of the warning] said... A senior U.S. official, briefing American reporters on the leaders' summit, said Friday the pact is a winner for all three countries. Dan Fisk said the value of trade among the three countries had grown to almost $1 trillion from $290 billion in 1994, the year NAFTA took effect... "We want to find ways to, frankly, convince the American people from our perspective, first and foremost that this is an arrangement that has worked for us, and it's also worked for our neighbours," said Fisk, [Senior Director in the National Security Council for the Western Hemisphere].

An earlier meeting with Condoleezza Rice resulted in Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa saying this:

"We have also discussed that we should strengthen and make a permanent commitment with the continuity of this high-level dialogue in North America at all levels and particularly at the level of heads of state and government."

Becky Bohrer of the Associated Press red baits here, following this paragraph with a quote from one of the "People's Summit" protesters with a quote from someone from the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization:

One target of protesters is expected to be the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. They say the pact, which aims to share information between the three governments and smooth out regulatory differences, is a threat to national sovereignty and an attempt to create a military partnership to enforce the North American Free Trade Agreement.

This quotes Fisk:

"We think NAFTA works... We think the record of its past 14 years shows that it works. There's nothing broken. Why fix a success?"

This lets something slip:

It is more like a progress report on how the three countries are integrating... Bush's agenda will start today with the reopening of the Mexican Consulate in New Orleans...

Greg Flakus of the publicly-funded Voice of America - a source not intended to spread disinformation inside America - leads with the thoughts of someone from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau here, offering not just one but two pictures of her.

Ben Feller of the Associated Press offers this:

Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the three countries benefit by working together against competition from China and India. "North America needs to maintain its economic unity," said Donohue, who is taking part in the summit.

The Laura Carlsen Farce (denies North American Union from slightly-honest Left) - 03/03/08

Laura Carlsen of the "Americas Program, Center for International Policy" (who also blogs at americasmexico.blogspot.com) offers "The North American Union Farce" (link). She raises issues with the Security and Prosperity Partnership, but she also disputes that it could be a precursor to a North American Union. This is the "slightly-honest Left" version of NAU denials, as opposed to those on the Left who are useful idiots or worse and who reflexively dismiss all concerns simply because of those who express those concerns (a recent example: Alex Pareene). She has her own issues to deal with:

While the lack of transparency and the U.S. corporate and security-dominated agenda of the SPP are cause for great concern, they are not evidence of a plot to move toward a North American Union. Among the most bizarre assumptions of NAU scaremongers is the contention that the SPP will threaten U.S. sovereignty and erase borders. The idea of a regional union that effaces U.S. sovereignty is light-years away from George W. Bush's foreign policy of unilateral action and disdain for international law and institutions. On the contrary, the precepts of the Bush administration's foreign policy point to a return to the neocon belief that the world would be a better place if the U.S. government just ran everything.

Of course, under some form of continental integration, the U.S. - or at least U.S.-based elites working with elites in the other countries - would be the ones running things, all comfortably unilateraly.

Then, it's on to the, "stop worrying about your issues, worry about mine!" part:

Given the absolute lack of factual data to support the existence of a secret plan to create a North American Union, it's tempting to assume that the NAU scare was put forth as a red herring to divert attention from real issues facing the country. By channeling the insecurities of white working-class Americans into belief in an attack on U.S. sovereignty, the NAU myth obscures the very real globalization issues raised by NAFTA - job loss, labor insecurity, the surge in illegal immigration, and racial tensions caused by the portrayal of immigrants as invaders. This is convenient for both rightwing politicians and the government and business elites they attack because real solutions to these problems would include actions anathema to the right, including unionization, enforcement of labor rights, comprehensive immigration reform, and regulation of the international market. Instead, these options are shunted aside with the redefinition of the problem as a conspiracy of anti-American elites.

1. It would be extraordinarily foolish to wait for a smoking gun before worrying about the possibility of a NAU emerging.

2. Those racial tensions aren't caused by a small number of commentors referring to an "invasion", but to the presence itself of the illegal aliens.

3. The elites trying to encourage the rest of us to think they're conspiring against us is the cover for what's in effect a conspiracy by the elites? Does that make sense to anyone else?

4. Needless to say, many of those on the right support "comprehensive immigration reform", something that would assist the elites and something that would make the situation even worse.

5. Those who support "free" trade are obviously quite willing to fluff up the pillows a bit; witness Barack Obama's proposals to slightly left-ify NAFTA, something that has no doubt been vetted as acceptable by those who support "free" trade. See, of course, his recent article in which, speaking in code, he came out in support of the SPP.

Mary Peters, Carlos Gutierrez, Mexican official team up to promote Mexican trucks in U.S. - 10/18/07

From this:
Bush administration officials [Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez] held a news conference with Mexico's transportation secretary [Luis Tellez] yesterday to respond to criticism of a program allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads, but critics in Congress who helped pass counter-legislation are unmoved...

...By overwhelming margins, the Senate and the House adopted identical amendments into the Transportation/HUD Appropriations bill that would cut off federal funds for the truck project. The House passed the measure 411-3 while the Senate voted 75-23. The bill awaits consideration by a Joint Conference Committee...
The press conference included a sideshow: an inspection of a U.S. and a Mexican truck. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) - who opposes the trucks for union-related reasons - said about that:
"The information we need to ensure the safety of American drivers on American highways is not available... That includes vehicle inspection and drivers' records and accidents reports. None of that information is available. An 'inspection' of a hand-picked Mexican truck at a press conference doesn't change that."

Vicente Fox: FTAA common currency (Amero), Hillary for president, Bill Richardson, driver's licenses, lies about heathcare... - 10/11/07

On Monday's Larry King show, former Mexican president Vicente Fox:

* Said that the Free Trade Agreement of the Americans (FTAA; called in Spanish ACLA) on which he worked with president Bush was to, long-term, include a common "Latin American" currency. Since that agreement would apply to the U.S., the currency would apply here as well...

* Promoted immigration from Mexico, "guest" workers, and NAFTA...

* Lied about U.S. citizens not paying the healthcare costs for illegal aliens...

* Agreed with Felipe Calderon's claim that "Mexico does not stop at its border"...

* Promoted driver's licenses for illegal aliens...

* Said he wants Hillary Clinton to be president and called Bill Clinton a "great man"...

* Said that Bill Richardson was a "excellent man" and that "he's so Mexican in his interior"...

Transcript here; excerpts in the extended entry.

The first point resulted in this:
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox confirmed the existence of a plan conceived with President Bush to create a new regional currency in the Americas, in an interview last night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

It possibly was the first time a leader of Mexico, Canada or the U.S. openly confirmed a plan for a regional currency. Fox explained the current regional trade agreement that encompasses the Western Hemisphere is intended to evolve into other previously hidden aspects of integration.
Fox' statement resulted in Les Kinsolving asking about it:
A spokeswoman for the White House has denied any knowledge of a discussion between President Bush and former Mexican President Vicente Fox where the two, as Fox confirmed, conceived a plan for a regional currency for the Americas.

Spokeswoman Dana Perino also said she's not aware of any plan for such a currency either...
Whether that's worth a plugged Amero is left up to the reader's judgment.

FOX: ...And so I am not claiming for open borders to everybody. What I am claiming for is a decision, an intelligent decision with a vision to the future, because the United States needs that energy to support the elderly, to support the pension plans, to be competitive in front of Asia and China. And it's a must.

...KING: ...In his state of the union address [Calderon] said, "I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico."

Do you agree with that?

FOX: Yes. Yes. But I also put my feet on the ground or my boots on the ground. And I understand the problem. But we must deal with problems. We must deal with challenges...[blathers on...]

FOX: ...and give a driver's license, because you need a driver's license only to those who know how to drive, and you will be much more secure to have those guys driving with a driver's license, the insurance and everything all together, instead of them driving without a license and without any I.D.

..FOX: ...[promotes guest workers]

...KING: ...We have an e-mail question from Patricia, Oxnard, California: "Why should the American public have to pay for medical care of illegal immigrants from Mexico? Why shouldn't we be able to bill the government of Mexico for care given to their citizens?"

FOX: Patricia, let me tell you that you're not paying for medical care for undocumented workers...

FOX: ...what I see is fear dominating people here -- or some people here because it's still, I would say that a majority of your citizens would go along with a reform, done with a proper intelligence and solve this problem once and for all and convert it into win-win situation.

KING: [who does he want for president?]

FOX: A lady [i.e., Hillary] would be my choice... [Bill Clinton is a] Great man. [Jimmy Carter's great too] ...[his "Fox Center" is] associated with the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California, the largest think tank in the world. They are going to open an office in San Cristobal, in the farm by the side of the center so that we will work on developing knowledge and research together.

...[Bill Richardson is an] Excellent man. I mean, he's so Mexican in his interior, I like him a lot. And he's a good governor. Good man.

...KING: E-mail from Mrs. Gonzalez in Elizabeth, New Jersey. "Mr. Fox, I would like to know how you feel about the possibility of having a Latin America united with one currency?"

FOX: Long term, very long term. What we propose together, President Bush and myself, it's ALCA, which is a trade union for all of the Americas. And everything was running fluently until Hugo Chavez came. He decided to isolate himself. He decided to combat the idea and destroy the idea...

KING: It's going to be like the euro dollar, you mean?

FOX: Well, that would be long, long term. I think the processes to go, first step into is trading agreement. And then further on, a new vision, like we are trying to do with NAFTA.

KING: How is NAFTA doing?

FOX: Excellent. Mexico's seventh largest trading economy in the world... So we account for hundreds of thousands of jobs in this economy in the U.S.

March 25 Coalition flyer - 03/18/07

From march25coalition . org/organize

May 1st, 2007 we will be out in the streets, not shopping or selling, if possible not working; but Marching.

On February 3rd & 4th, 2007, a Conference hosted by the March 25th Coalition culminated in a call for a national day of actions for workers and Immigrant's Rights. The day, May 1st, 2007.

Mexico's U.N. ambassador promotes North American Union - 11/01/06

From this:
U.S.-Mexico relations could remain paralyzed unless leaders of the two nations and Canada formalize a North American partnership — akin to the European Union — before the U.S. baby boomer retirement wave hits in the next eight years, a ranking Mexican diplomat said here Tuesday.