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U.S. LUMBER INDUSTRY CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF NAFTA DISPUTE SETTLEMENT SYSTEM
COALITION FOR FAIR LUMBER IMPORTS ^ | September 13, 2005 | COALITION FOR FAIR LUMBER IMPORTS

Posted on 12/22/2005 8:09:53 AM PST by hedgetrimmer

WASHINGTON, DC—Steve Swanson, Chairman of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, announced today that the U.S. lumber industry is challenging the constitutionality of a dispute settlement system under the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly referred to as Chapter 19. The Chapter 19 system allows bi-national panels of individuals to make binding decisions about application of U.S. law to U.S. unfair trade findings contrary to due process and other constitutional requirements.

“The Constitution does not permit these panels to be the final arbiter of whether U.S. law provides for relief from unfair subsidies and dumping for U.S. producers and workers,” said Swanson. “The challenge is against the Chapter 19 dispute mechanism, not the NAFTA as a whole.”

United States courts ordinarily decide appeals of findings that imports are subsidized or dumped. NAFTA Chapter 19 made findings regarding Canadian and Mexican imports appealable only to panels of individuals, some of whom are not U.S. citizens and none of whom is accountable within the U.S. government. Nothing like Chapter 19 has been included in other trade agreements, including DR-CAFTA.

When the Congress first considered Chapter 19 in 1988, the U.S. Justice Department warned that the Chapter 19 system would be unconstitutional. The U.S. government has repeatedly found that Canadian lumber imports are subsidized and dumped and threaten injury to the U.S. lumber industry. The World Trade Organization has approved these findings, and countervailing (anti-subsidy) and antidumping duties have been imposed on Canadian lumber imports since 2002. But a NAFTA dispute panel has exceeded its authority by directing the U.S. International Trade Commission to reverse a finding that unfair imports threaten the U.S. lumber industry. The U.S. government requested that one panelist be removed because of a conflict of interest, but he stayed on the panel.

“As NAFTA panels threaten to subvert application of the trade laws to unfair lumber imports, we must enforce our constitutional right to due process and accountable decision-making,” explained Swanson. “If Canadian lumber subsidies and dumping are not fully addressed, the unfair imports will result in scores of sawmill closures, cause thousands of job losses, and undermine millions of family timberland owners.” Swanson concluded, “All that the U.S. industry has ever requested is an end to Canadian lumber subsidies and dumping through open and competitive timber and log markets. The U.S. industry vigorously supports the U.S. government’s pursuit of free trade principles and a negotiated settlement based on reasonable Canadian commitments to timber policy reform. Until then, we will defend our rights to relief under U.S. law.”

The Coalition’s filing of this case comports with statutory requirements that it be initiated within 30 days of the end of a Chapter 19 proceeding.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Canada; Constitution/Conservatism; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: constitutionality; freetrade; nafta; redistribution; timber; unelectedpanel
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1 posted on 12/22/2005 8:09:55 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: JesseJane; Justanobody; B4Ranch; Nowhere Man; Coleus; neutrino; endthematrix; investigateworld; ...
NAFTA panels make binding decisions about application of domestic U.S. law. Again, their opinions have the force of U.S. law, like a court order. The panels are accountable to no one within the U.S. constitutional system of government. This is unprecedented and unconstitutional.
2 posted on 12/22/2005 8:13:22 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer

We knew what "free trade" agreements like NAFTA/CAFTA would do to our soverignty --- here is just the beginning of what it is doing to it exactly....


3 posted on 12/22/2005 8:14:56 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: hedgetrimmer

...And you can thank El Jefe President Jorge for pushing hard for soveringty-busting "agreements" like this. Un-freakin' believable. Foreign governments controlling U.S. law...


4 posted on 12/22/2005 8:16:32 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: hedgetrimmer
The World Trade Organization has approved these findings, and countervailing (anti-subsidy) and antidumping duties have been imposed on Canadian lumber imports since 2002. But a NAFTA dispute panel has exceeded its authority by directing the U.S. International Trade Commission to reverse a finding that unfair imports threaten the U.S. lumber industry.

What a tangled web multiple international trade treaties pose. In order to impose duties it must pass the muster of both WTO and NAFTA courts.

5 posted on 12/22/2005 8:16:33 AM PST by Always Right
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To: hedgetrimmer
Duties to offset unfair Canadian lumber practices do not cause housing price increases

• While the national average new single-family house price rose by roughly 40 percent between the first quarter of 2000 and the second quarter of 2005,1 lumber prices during the second quarter of 2005 were only about 1.6 percent higher than they had been during the first quarter of 2000.2

• Lumber costs account for roughly 2.5% of average house prices, a figure that has been falling in recent decades. In 1993, lumber costs accounted for approximately 4.25% of house prices.

Isn't this contrary to what free-traders tell us? Any time we get dumped on it's okay but heaven forbid we should look out for America and Americans first.

6 posted on 12/22/2005 8:17:57 AM PST by raybbr
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To: EagleUSA
Foreign governments controlling U.S. law...

Believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
7 posted on 12/22/2005 8:23:15 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: raybbr

Here' more:

EXPERTS CONSISTENTLY FIND NAFTA CHAPTER 19 UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Department of Justice
"If such decisions were binding, they clearly would involve the exercise of 'significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States,' and, thus, would transform the members of the panels and committees into 'officers of the United States' who must be appointed in the manner prescribed by the appointments clause of the Constitution.... [P]anels and committees (and, of course, the determinations they issued) would, thus, be rendered unconstitutional."


Testimony of Assistant Attorney General John O. McGinnis, Hearings before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, 100th Cong., 2nd Sess, 79 (1988).

“We firmly believe that language absolutely requiring the President to implement panel and committee decisions would be unconstitutional. . . . our testimony stresses that the Justice Department would oppose a provision that contained constitutionally deficient mandatory language,with the ‘authorizing’ language we favor inserted as a ‘fall-back’ in the event the mandatory formulation were held unconstitutional.”

Letter from Thomas M. Boyd, Acting Assistant Attorney General, to Peter W. Rodino, Jr., Chairman, Committee of the Judiciary, House of Representatives, May 24, 1988.


8 posted on 12/22/2005 8:27:01 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer
Believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I believe.

9 posted on 12/22/2005 8:27:16 AM PST by houeto (Mr. President, close our borders now!)
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To: Always Right

A look at the constitutionality NAFTA:

“[M]y proposition is that the United States-Canada dispute resolution provisions permit persons who are not officers of the United States, and who are not appointed under the Appointments Clause, to overrule federal officials who are officers of the United States … on the grounds that the officials did not follow United States law…. Not only does that scheme violate principles of representative government and democracy, but it also violates the Appointments Clause.”

Alan Morrison, Public Citizen, Appointments Clause Problems in the Dispute Resolution Provisions of the United States-Canada FTA, 49 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1299-1300 (1992).


10 posted on 12/22/2005 8:29:26 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: EagleUSA

It's no wonder the nations to our north and south feel so comfortable telling our government to "tell your people to STFU and do as they're told".


11 posted on 12/22/2005 8:29:36 AM PST by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: hedgetrimmer

NAFTA, CAFTA-DR...

Such a deal! A deal we should take a pass on.


12 posted on 12/22/2005 8:42:38 AM PST by DoughtyOne (MSM: Public support for war waining. 403/3 House vote against pullout vaporizes another lie.)
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To: cope85; gathersnomoss; gedeon3; G.Mason; R.W.Ratikal; Knitting A Conundrum; Havoc; Bob; ...

You may be interested in this.


13 posted on 12/22/2005 10:12:43 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer

Ah yes, the infamous Dirty Byrd Amendment


14 posted on 12/22/2005 10:20:08 AM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: hedgetrimmer

If it is true that this circumvents our legal system, then I have no problems with it being declared unconstitutional.

However, if another country wants to give us tons of money under any guise and without obligation for our own use, I have no problems with it.

If Japan wanted to give every American a car for free, our government should have no capacity to stop it to protect union (or other) jobs.


15 posted on 12/22/2005 10:22:49 AM PST by ConservativeMind
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To: raybbr
Isn't this contrary to what free-traders tell us? Any time we get dumped on it's okay but heaven forbid we should look out for America and Americans first.

But aren't home-buyers American? And aren't there more American home-buyers than Americans in the lumber industry? How does keeping out low-cost lumber constitute looking out for Americans first?

16 posted on 12/22/2005 11:06:01 AM PST by JoeFromSidney (My book is out. Read excerpts at www.thejusticecooperative.com)
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To: hedgetrimmer
"You may be interested in this."


How do you believe we can get OUR country back, short of armed rebellion? And why are we acting like this began to occur in our lifetime? The internet?


This isn't about NAFTA, WTO, CAFTA, our borders, the murdering of unborn children, Johnny Has Two Daddys, Janey Has Two Mommy's, Socialism, Communism, government welfare, traitors like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, etal., the United Nations, Muslims, the NEA, government largess, a corrupt and deviant, self serving Congress.

This is about every last one of the above and much more.


That dripping sound has become deafening.





17 posted on 12/22/2005 11:31:16 AM PST by G.Mason (Others have died for my freedom; now this is my mark ... Marine Corporal Jeffrey Starr, KIA 04-30-05)
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To: hedgetrimmer

nafta http://www.amerikanexpose.com/othlinks.html#NAF


18 posted on 12/22/2005 1:28:55 PM PST by cope85
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To: EagleUSA

The World Trade Organization has approved these findings, and countervailing (anti-subsidy) and antidumping duties have been imposed on Canadian lumber imports since 2002


19 posted on 12/22/2005 1:30:03 PM PST by cope85
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To: hedgetrimmer

America is no longer a soverign nation, thanks to George Bush. His policy of open borders, bring millions of Mexicans in this country for us to take care of plus these horrible treaties he and Bill Clinton and Rush Limbaugh supported are going to be the death of this country. But that is the way they want it. The death of the middle class and the birth of a slave nation for the Republicans.


20 posted on 12/22/2005 1:54:48 PM PST by swampfox98 (I voted for George Bush and got Vicente Fox. Phooey!)
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To: hedgetrimmer
The U.S. industry vigorously supports the U.S. government’s pursuit of free trade principles and a negotiated settlement based on reasonable Canadian commitments to timber policy reform.

These saps wanted it, now they got it...

21 posted on 12/22/2005 5:25:37 PM PST by Iscool (Start your own revolution by voting for the candidates the media (and gov't) tells you cannot win.)
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To: ConservativeMind
If Japan wanted to give every American a car for free, our government should have no capacity to stop it to protect union (or other) jobs.

Hey, I'm with you...I think we Americans should all ban together and refuse to buy anything made in America...American goods are far too expensive...

22 posted on 12/22/2005 5:31:46 PM PST by Iscool (Start your own revolution by voting for the candidates the media (and gov't) tells you cannot win.)
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To: hedgetrimmer
Bump.

Now we will see whether there is any Constitutional honesty left in the Courts...

23 posted on 12/22/2005 6:18:12 PM PST by Paul Ross (My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple...It is this, 'We win and they lose.')
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To: Paul Ross
Now we will see whether there is any Constitutional honesty left in the Courts...

I want to believe there is.
24 posted on 12/22/2005 6:19:36 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: JoeFromSidney
But aren't home-buyers American? And aren't there more American home-buyers than Americans in the lumber industry? How does keeping out low-cost lumber constitute looking out for Americans first?

Apparently you missed the point. Lumber is such a small fraction of the cost of building a home that it is almost negligible.

25 posted on 12/22/2005 7:46:12 PM PST by raybbr
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To: JoeFromSidney
How does keeping out low-cost lumber constitute looking out for Americans first?

Looking out for Americans first, means first defending the Constitution. Letting in so-called low cost lumber while undermining Constitutional rights does no American citizen a favor. It is our duty as citizens to protect the rights of all citizens, and this is done by adhering to our Constitution, which protects our right to a representative government.
26 posted on 12/22/2005 9:50:03 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer

Thanks for the ping. I was wondering how long this would take, seems we may find out how many Surpreme Court members
are CFR goons.


27 posted on 12/23/2005 5:20:50 AM PST by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: hedgetrimmer

Dumping is one thing when it is the price of the good that is dumped. What about when it's the wage... nobody wants to talk about that forthrightly.


28 posted on 12/23/2005 6:44:19 PM PST by Havoc (President George and King George.. coincidence?)
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To: raybbr
Lumber is such a small fraction of the cost of building a home that it is almost negligible.

OMG LOL. You actually believe that? If I build a house, will you donate the lumber?

29 posted on 12/23/2005 6:48:42 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: hedgetrimmer; Toddsterpatriot

We have a Constitutional right to expensive lumber! To the barricades!


30 posted on 12/23/2005 6:49:55 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: hedgetrimmer

Nice to see you've re-discovered the folks at Public Citizen.


31 posted on 12/23/2005 6:58:08 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: hedgetrimmer; Mase; expat_panama; 1rudeboy; EagleUSA; Always Right
NAFTA panels make binding decisions about application of domestic U.S. law. Again, their opinions have the force of U.S. law, like a court order.

And yet the U.S. has ignored these binding decisions. I guess they don't have the force of U.S. law, do they?

32 posted on 12/23/2005 7:27:35 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: hedgetrimmer
and this is done by adhering to our Constitution, which protects our right to a representative government.

Our representative government is protecting you from low cost Canadian lumber. You read about the tariffs, didn't you?

33 posted on 12/23/2005 7:28:48 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Havoc
Dumping is one thing when it is the price of the good that is dumped.

I just hope the U.N. doesn't tell us to drop these lumber tariffs.

34 posted on 12/23/2005 7:31:54 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Check what I've found:

The current softwood lumber dispute (Lumber IV) commenced in April of 2001. From May 22, 2002 to Dec 20, 2004 most Canadian softwood lumber exported to the US was subject to a combined countervailing and anti-dumping duty of 27%, collected by US Customs. From December 20, 2004 to December 12, 2005 the duties collected were 20%. On December 12, 2005, the duties collected at the border were reduced to 10.81%.
Government of British Columbia

Something smells unconstitutional. Not.

35 posted on 12/23/2005 7:35:45 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Reduce those tariffs you silly hosers.

36 posted on 12/23/2005 7:42:32 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Why, you afraid they might have authority that your representatives gave them? lol.


37 posted on 12/24/2005 7:21:06 AM PST by Havoc (President George and King George.. coincidence?)
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To: hedgetrimmer

Isn't NAFTA an "agreement," rather than a treaty, which would have had to be ratified by the senate? I was under the impression that was the case.

If that is the case, then such an "agreement" isn't valid under the Constitution anyway, since there's no such thing mentioned in the Constitution. And it certainly can't superceed any US laws.

Mark


38 posted on 12/24/2005 7:24:55 AM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: Havoc
Unlike you, I understand that the UN has no authority over the United States.
39 posted on 12/24/2005 9:01:11 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: MarkL
Isn't NAFTA an "agreement," rather than a treaty, which would have had to be ratified by the senate? I was under the impression that was the case.

NAFTA was passed by a majority in the House and Senate.

And it certainly can't superceed any US laws.

You are correct, NAFTA does not have greater authority than the US Constitution. Neither does any treaty.

40 posted on 12/24/2005 9:04:01 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
NAFTA was passed by a majority in the House and Senate.

Do you happen to know how it passed in the senate? It doesn't matter if the house approved it or not. And for a treaty to be ratified, it has to pass a 2/3 vote in the senate.

Mark

41 posted on 12/24/2005 12:25:55 PM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
You are correct, NAFTA does not have greater authority than the US Constitution. Neither does any treaty.

The key is that once a treaty is ratified by a 2/3s vote in the senate, and the president signs it, it becomes "law," and the US government is obligated to obey it. While any law or treaty passed cannot superceed the Constitution, a treaty can superceed federal, state, and local laws.

Mark

42 posted on 12/24/2005 12:28:48 PM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: MarkL
Do you happen to know how it passed in the senate? It doesn't matter if the house approved it or not. And for a treaty to be ratified, it has to pass a 2/3 vote in the senate.

Congressional-Executive Agreements (US law)
Agreements with a foreign power that have been approved by the US Congress. Unlike a treaty (in the US constitutional sense), it does not supersede existing law and does not require a two-thirds vote by the Senate. Instead, it is enacted as an ordinary law which requires majority votes by both the House and Senate followed by approval from the President. (In contrast, a sole executive agreement is ratified by the President alone.)

43 posted on 12/24/2005 12:41:46 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (The Federal Reserve did not kill JFK. Greenspan was not on the grassy knoll.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot; MarkL
Unlike a treaty (in the US constitutional sense), it does not supersede existing law

Not even treaties supercede existing law.   

The Panama Canal Treaty included a number of protections for US citizens that Carter included to dupe America into ratifying it.   Right after ratification the US government proceeded to renege on on its promises saying that treaties are just contracts between nations, and it's laws that govern people regardless of what treaties say.  Panama Canal Employees took it all the way to the Supreme Court and lost.

44 posted on 12/24/2005 1:49:19 PM PST by expat_panama
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To: 1rudeboy
We have a Constitutional right to expensive lumber!

We have a right to a Constitutional government. Or did they forget to teach you that at the leftist university law school?
45 posted on 12/24/2005 8:45:32 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: MarkL

And we even have "treaty enforcers". That is one of the duties of the US Coast Guard, as part of the department of Homeland Security.


46 posted on 12/24/2005 8:47:50 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer
Actually, there are plenty of classes in any law school about the U.S. Constitution. Maybe you should take one or two. [hint]

In other words, the U.S. Constitution is not about what hedgetrimmer feels on any particular day.

47 posted on 12/24/2005 9:45:36 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
Actually, there are plenty of classes in any law school about the U.S. Constitution.

Apparently when you take one at a leftist university on a Pell grant, they leave important parts out of the lecture.

But only a "free trader" would stand against his fellow citizens and argue on behalf of unelected bureacrats from foreign countries to make decisions for the American people about how they must trade. The "free traders" disrespect the Constitutional authority granted to Congress to regulate trade, and prefer foreign governments to impose trade policy on us.
48 posted on 12/24/2005 11:08:22 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer
It's perfectly understandable that you feel intimidated by anyone with a higher education, but completely unnecessary. Should you ever choose to ever make the argument that these trade agreements are unconstitutional, instead of mouthing platitudes, just let me know.
49 posted on 12/25/2005 7:45:28 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Merry Christmas.


50 posted on 12/25/2005 8:17:01 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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