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U.S. Blocked Release of CAFTA Reports
AP ^ | Jun 29 2005 | LARRY MARGASAK,

Posted on 06/29/2005 9:48:47 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer

The Labor Department kept secret for more than a year government studies that supported Democratic opponents of the Bush administration's new Central American trade deal, internal documents show.

The studies, paid for by the department, concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights. The agency dismissed the conclusions as inaccurate and biased, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

"In practice, labor laws on the books in Central America are not sufficient to deter employers from violations, as actual sanctions for violations of the law are weak or nonexistent," the contractor, the International Labor Rights Fund, wrote in one of the reports.

The studies' conclusions contrast with the administration's arguments that Central American countries have made enough progress on such issues to warrant a free-trade deal with the United States.

The administration and its congressional supporters argue that the elimination of trade barriers for U.S. products would open new Central American markets for U.S. farmers and manufacturers. Critics argue the trade agreement would allow serious labor violations to continue in Central America.

Hoping to lure enough Democratic votes to win passages, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman (news, bio, voting record) earlier this month promised to spend money and arrange an international conference to ensure "the best agreement ever negotiated by the United States on labor rights."

But behind the scenes, the administration began as early as spring 2004 to block the reports' public release.

The Labor Department instructed its contractor to remove the reports from its Web site, ordered it to retrieve paper copies before they became public, banned release of new information from the reports, and even told the contractor it couldn't discuss the studies with outsiders.

The Labor Department has now worked out a deal with the contractor that will allow the labor rights group to release the country-by-country final reports — provided there's no mention of the agency or federal funding. At the same time, the administration began a pre-emptive campaign to undercut the study's conclusions.

Used as talking points by trade-pact supporters, a Labor Department document accuses the contractor of writing a report filled with "unsubstantiated" statements and "biased attacks, not the facts."

The contractor's deputy director, Bama Athreya, blamed U.S. Trade Representative officials for circulating the document and citing passages that won't be included in the final versions of the reports.

One lawmaker said he was shocked that a federal agency charged with protecting the rights of Americans workers would go to such lengths to block the public from seeing its own contractor's concerns before Congress votes on the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

"You would think if any agency in our government would care about this, it would be the Labor Department," Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record), D-N.D., said.

Dorgan said he would use the contractor findings in an attempt to defeat the agreement, known as CAFTA.

Dirk Fillpot, spokesman for the Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, said the agency and an independent evaluator concluded the contractor "failed to meet the academic rigor expected to fulfill its contract" and the relationship was terminated June 10.

The competitively bid contract totaled $937,000, but Fillpot said $250,000 will be refunded to the Treasury.

Rep. Kevin Brady (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, who supports the trade agreement, said he is familiar with drafts of the reports and believes they will be "widely dismissed as a fraud." He accused the contractor of producing "a propaganda piece" and concealing "its rabid anti-CAFTA bias."

Athreya, the contractor official, has testified in Congress against the agreement.

The documents show the studies came within a whisker of widespread release in March 2004, when the labor-rights group posted them briefly on its Internet site.

The Labor Department quickly and successfully demanded the reports be removed on grounds they weren't approved by the agency. Officials also demanded the group retrieve a limited number of paper copies that were distributed at a hearing of a Latin American human rights body.

Shortly after that incident, Rep. Sander Levin (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., began a yearlong effort to pry the studies from the department through a Freedom of Information Act request. The department rejected his request until two months ago, when Levin received — and released — early drafts of the reports.

The Trade Representative's spokesman, Richard Mills, said trade officials referred to the Labor Department's critical document after receiving inquiries about the studies.

"From our perspective, nothing has changed. It's a great agreement that will improve labor conditions in Central America," Mills said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: cafta; coverup; freetraitors; ftaa; globalism; hemispheric; integration; nafta; newworlorder; nwo; redistribution; wealth; whitewash
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One lawmaker said he was shocked that a federal agency charged with protecting the rights of Americans workers would go to such lengths to block the public from seeing its own contractor's concerns before Congress votes on the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

CAFTA is awfully important to the globalists, and they will stop at nothing to get it passed, it appears.
1 posted on 06/29/2005 9:48:47 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer

Europe voted if they wanted a NWO.


2 posted on 06/29/2005 9:50:19 AM PDT by -=[_Super_Secret_Agent_]=-
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To: JesseJane; Justanobody; B4Ranch; Nowhere Man; neutrino; endthematrix; investigateworld; ...

FYI


3 posted on 06/29/2005 9:50:52 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer

You would think that the liberals would be all over this but apparently opposition to conservatives is more important.


4 posted on 06/29/2005 9:53:47 AM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
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To: hedgetrimmer
Incredible. This administration will go through any means necessary to shove its agenda down this country's throat, even if that means covering up everything that weakens their case.

And now, I will get called a socialist, and have 1000 messages in my inbox because I just spoke ill of the Bush administration on free trade issues.

5 posted on 06/29/2005 9:58:21 AM PDT by SunnyD1182
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To: hedgetrimmer
USTR Portman's Labor Rights Gimmickry
USDA plants its own news

The executive branch has become largely dysfunctional,
serving primarily as a propaganda outlet for Dubya's multinational corporatism.

6 posted on 06/29/2005 9:59:34 AM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Willie Green

Good links. Thanks for reminding us.


7 posted on 06/29/2005 10:01:21 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: TomasUSMC

Here are a couple of threads you might find interesting.


8 posted on 06/29/2005 10:02:25 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer
The studies ... concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights."

Excuse me, but so what and a big boo-freaking-hoo.
And exactly what is a "poor working condition" and exactly whom decides what "workers' rights" are. Huh? Some dweeb in a basement office in D.C. that's never had a callous on his hand and thinks Chess is a contact sport?"

As long as the workers aren't chained to the frigging machine and fed oats, I give a shiite what some guy in Costa Rica gets paid or if his factory isn't air conditioned.

Just as long a said cost savings measures are passed along to the consumer here in the USA I'm fine with it. Not like those turds at Nike who charge $100+ for a pair of crappy sneakers that cost them $3 to make in Malaysia. Now that ... 'sucks'.

9 posted on 06/29/2005 10:17:34 AM PDT by Condor51 (Leftists are moral and intellectual parasites - Standing Wolf)
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To: hedgetrimmer

It isn't about poor working conditions. If that were all it was about - who cares. But, alas it is not. {sigh}


10 posted on 06/29/2005 10:33:20 AM PDT by Just A Nobody (As Iraqi's stand up - We will stand down. . President Bush, 6/28/05)
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To: hedgetrimmer; AZ_Cowboy

FYI ;*(


11 posted on 06/29/2005 10:48:54 AM PDT by Just A Nobody (As Iraqi's stand up - We will stand down. . President Bush, 6/28/05)
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To: SunnyD1182
And now, I will get called a socialist, and have 1000 messages in my inbox because I just spoke ill of the Bush administration on free trade issues.

Don't forget the ever popular "Hillary!....Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" mantra.

12 posted on 06/29/2005 10:52:16 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: hedgetrimmer

give me a break (speaking to the author of this article), all this whinning about workers rights... If workers rights were so bad they wouldn't choose to work at the companies that employ them.


13 posted on 06/29/2005 10:55:13 AM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/scotuspropertythieving.htm)
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To: hedgetrimmer

Good Find Hedge BTTT !!!


14 posted on 06/29/2005 11:14:54 AM PDT by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: Condor51
You need to open up your mind and think about the rest of the country instead of just your own wallet. Speaking about the guy in Costa Rica you will care one day when that same factory is in your own backyard and your relatives are sweating through those same working conditions.

Then when Costa Rica's Constitution becomes our own you can think back to this little post and hug your Costa Rican neighbor who, like you, doesn't have any guns because they are not allowed in your Bill of Rights.

Believe me, working conditions will then be the least of your worries!

Go ahead, embrace NAFTA, CAFTA and the FTAA but don't say I didn't warn you.

15 posted on 06/29/2005 12:47:07 PM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: traviskicks
If that were the only place you could walk to for employment (because you certainly couldn't afford an automobile) the working conditions would be the least of your worries.

You take it for granted that employment opportunities are as abundant in freakin' Costa Rica as they are in the U.S.

16 posted on 06/29/2005 12:50:40 PM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: SunnyD1182
"Incredible. This administration will go through any means necessary to shove its agenda down this country's throat, even if that means covering up everything that weakens their case".
I agreed wholeheartedly and thanks for your post.

Here's one message patting you on the back.

17 posted on 06/29/2005 12:53:43 PM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: cripplecreek
IMO the liberals should be patting him on the back for this one. It appears to me that national sovereignty means little to nothing to "W" and we know it means nothing to the liberal commie's that call themselves Democrats.
18 posted on 06/29/2005 12:56:57 PM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: -=[_Super_Secret_Agent_]=-

And Thank God France voted no to the EU Constitution.


19 posted on 06/29/2005 12:58:04 PM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: hedgetrimmer
"From our perspective, nothing has changed. It's a great agreement that will improve labor conditions in Central America," Mills said.

"Or lower labor conditions in America along with our standard of living" tyw said.

Those of you that don't like the "press 1 for English" prompts should think about the idea of getting two phone books on your doorstep with one being in spanish or trying to deal with a grocery store that has no one that speaks english.

20 posted on 06/29/2005 1:06:55 PM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: hedgetrimmer
The Labor Department kept secret for more than a year government studies that supported Democratic opponents of the Bush administration's new Central American trade deal, internal documents show.

Bump!

21 posted on 06/29/2005 2:50:29 PM PDT by A. Pole ("Truth at first is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed and then it is accepted as self evident.")
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~; 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3rdcanyon; 4.1O dana super trac pak; ...

CAFTA ping


22 posted on 06/29/2005 3:21:00 PM PDT by madfly
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~; 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3rdcanyon; 4.1O dana super trac pak; ...

CAFTA ping


23 posted on 06/29/2005 3:23:38 PM PDT by madfly
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To: SunnyD1182

So true. Even though Bush is a better choice than Kerry, he's still doing some things that are slicing this country (horrible borders, terrible stand on illegal immigration) at the seams.

At this rate, it won't be a choice between good guy or bad guy; it'll be between the bad guy and the less-bad guy.

Who else thinks a major third party will be debuting one or two elections from now?


24 posted on 06/29/2005 4:01:46 PM PDT by Ultra Sonic (The liberals and the RINOs on the SCOTUS should be impeached.)
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To: madfly
"poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights."

Roger that ~ not having guaranteed smoke/coffee breaks are a bitch.

Workers, organize and fight for your rights!

25 posted on 06/29/2005 4:10:57 PM PDT by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: hedgetrimmer

secrecy in government bump


26 posted on 06/29/2005 4:14:51 PM PDT by Mr. Nobody
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To: hedgetrimmer
have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights

Which is precisely why they want CAFTA: so that they can take advantage of those conditions, and be able to undercut American citizens by playing on an unlevel playing field.

If you get to play the game under easier rules, while the other guy has a handicap, well...he's screwed.

Which is exactly what they want.

27 posted on 06/29/2005 4:29:59 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: All

I can't say how important it is for the American people to speak up to their Congress and let them know CAFTA will hurt us and our sovereignty.

So far, all the reports in the MSM talk about exporters and trade associations that are for it, but they NEVER mention that many many Americans are opposed to the economic and political mergers going on between the US, Mexico, Canada, and Central America. The mergers like the North American Community and NAFTA and CAFTA are STUNNINGLY unconstitutional, yet our representatives are forging ahead with this disaster.


28 posted on 06/29/2005 4:42:25 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: hedgetrimmer
One lawmaker said he was shocked that a federal agency charged with protecting the rights of Americans workers would go to such lengths to block the public from seeing its own contractor's concerns before Congress votes on the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Shocked, shocked I tell ya...

Who didn't know the republicans were as corrupt as the democrats???

29 posted on 06/29/2005 5:27:12 PM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailer park!!!)
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To: madfly

Thanks for the ping! Someone mentioned on another thread, and it bears repeating, when did the citizens of this country ever have a say in these loathesome "agreements?"

"We the People" = just words on a yellowed fading document?


30 posted on 06/29/2005 6:23:14 PM PDT by La Enchiladita (Remembering our Heroes today and every day.)
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To: Ultra Sonic
At this rate, it won't be a choice between good guy or bad guy; it'll be between the bad guy and the less-bad guy.

That's been the case since the '84 elections put good guy Reagan back in office.

31 posted on 06/29/2005 7:01:43 PM PDT by Founding Father ( Republicans control the Oval Office, Senate and House, but still can't govern.)
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To: tyw


my opinion on your comments:
http://www.neoperspectives.com/sweatshopsandwelfare.htm



32 posted on 06/29/2005 7:55:17 PM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/scotuspropertythieving.htm)
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To: madfly; All
Thanks for the ping.

NAFTA is a failure, job losses and the trade deficit have increased since it passed so why are we doing this all over again? Maybe Bush should hold town hall meetings and tell us how these trade deals are so good for America.

33 posted on 06/29/2005 8:14:15 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Reaganwuzthebest

NAFTA, if you take out Mexico is not a failure. "free trade" between US and Canada make sense and benifit each other greatly. Mexico, I just don';t understand.


34 posted on 06/29/2005 8:18:08 PM PDT by -=[_Super_Secret_Agent_]=-
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To: -=[_Super_Secret_Agent_]=-
NAFTA, if you take out Mexico is not a failure. "free trade" between US and Canada make sense and benifit each other greatly. Mexico, I just don';t understand.

You're correct, I should have put free trade with third world countries whose labor standards are far below ours like Mexico and China is a failure. Trading with those that are on some kind of economic par with us is beneficial and necessary.

35 posted on 06/29/2005 8:24:35 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: hedgetrimmer

It's the Executive Branch. That means President Bush or someone designated by him decides what's released and what isn't. Get over it Libs. Your side lost in November and doesn't get to make those decisions. Too bad so sad.


36 posted on 06/29/2005 8:29:39 PM PDT by balch3
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To: Founding Father

Unfortunately, the first election I was old enough to take major interest in was the most recent 04' one between Bush and Kerry.

After all, I was a mere young'un when Clinton's sexual escapades made the news wires. Even so, I'm kind of sad that I'll never know personally how Reagan performed in office.


37 posted on 06/29/2005 8:31:35 PM PDT by Ultra Sonic (The liberals and the RINOs on the SCOTUS should be impeached.)
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To: tyw
****You need to open up your mind and think about the rest of the country instead of just your own wallet. Speaking about the guy in Costa Rica you will care one day when that same factory is in your own backyard and your relatives are sweating through those same working conditions.****

That's utterly absurd.

Unless of course one is a member of organized labor, a gubmint 'worker', an OSHA official, or a socialist concerned about the poor, down trodden "workers of the world" (unite peasants and rise!).

38 posted on 06/30/2005 5:28:55 AM PDT by Condor51 (Leftists are moral and intellectual parasites - Standing Wolf)
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To: hedgetrimmer

Bingo.


39 posted on 06/30/2005 6:02:04 AM PDT by hershey
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To: Condor51

****That's utterly absurd.****

Good argument. I suppose you think I should agree?

I simply want to protect my country, the whole country and nothing but the country. What do you want to protect besides your money???


40 posted on 06/30/2005 6:02:27 AM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: traviskicks
"Our inner cities (and Indian reservations) didn't experience this prosperity..." Our inner cities have experienced prosperity??? That's news to me. And the Indians... I'm thankful every day that I didn't grow up on an Indian reservation. True, now they have casino's but if it weren't for gambling they still wouldn't have jack.

Tell you what, come back and argue your point when CAFTA and the FTAA have thoroughly disrupted "most" peoples way of life here in America and America gives up it's sovereignty for the FTAA's Constitution just like what the EU is trying to do.

41 posted on 06/30/2005 6:15:25 AM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: SunnyD1182
And now, I will get called a socialist, and have 1000 messages in my inbox because I just spoke ill of the Bush administration on free trade issues.<<<<<

The President is by no means "above" criticism.

President Bush is right on only one issue as far as I'm concerned: The War in Iraq. His willingness to turn a blind eye to illegals within this Country, his willingness to usurp United States Sovereignty with a "Union of the Americas (NAFTA, CAFTA, et al)..points towards HIM being of a socialists mindset..not those who call him on it!

Maybe I'll get some mail too!
P.S. If I had not VOTED for Bush, I would not be in a position to critisize him, but I did vote for him..or at least who I THOUGHT he was.
42 posted on 06/30/2005 6:16:02 AM PDT by Iron Matron (The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , By the Blood of our Forefathers a Sovereign Nation.)
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To: tyw

"Our inner cities (and Indian reservations) didn't experience this prosperity..." Our inner cities have experienced prosperity???
---

Note the word 'didn't'. The governments of these countries are acting in a similar fashion.

And the same thing was said about NAFTA. The sky was falling folks were dead wrong.


43 posted on 06/30/2005 6:22:32 AM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/scotuspropertythieving.htm)
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: traviskicks
One more comment... The article link you provide seems to focus solely on what supposed good CAFTA and the FTAA will do for these poor third-world countries in South America. I don't see anything written in the article that covers what will happen to America during this same period.

If you want to help South American countries then I'll get you a one way plane ticket so you can go help them yourself. Wouldn't that be more gratifying to you???

If CAFTA is so great then explain to me why after many years of NAFTA the people of Mexico still risk life and limb to cross into America???

45 posted on 06/30/2005 6:24:03 AM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: traviskicks
I totally agree with the last sentence of the article "more government social programs must be reduced and/or eliminated."

So now tell me why, again, I should trust this government to create a "social welfare" system funded by my tax money to support a third-world country and why I should care. How is it going to help America and increase our prosperity???

47 posted on 06/30/2005 6:31:42 AM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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To: hedgetrimmer
"The studies, paid for by the department, concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights."

Using that criteria, we should stop trading with Red China IMMEDIATELY!

48 posted on 06/30/2005 6:39:52 AM PDT by albee (A paranoid schizophrenic is somebody who just found out what is going on.)
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To: EzekielCode
>>> Rather than focusing on getting a REAL Conservative the nomination, GOP Kool Aid drinkers are being scared into nominating a RINO in the hopes of just defeating Hillary, only to have a RINO win and enact what she would enact anyway.<<<

Zell Miller said that he did not leave the Democrat Party, that the Democrat Party left him, well, just call me Zell, as I have sent for information regarding the CONSTITUTION PARTY, and have REFUSED to renew my Membership with the Republican Party - nor donate to ANY Republican cause!.

I believe we can turn this around. God help us, it may take a civil uprising..but I do not like seeing the Blood of Our Forefathers spilled for nothing.

It is time to bring up a NEW PARTY. A party that will defeat the Repubs and dems at the Polls..we can do it.
49 posted on 06/30/2005 6:40:47 AM PDT by Iron Matron (The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , By the Blood of our Forefathers a Sovereign Nation.)
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To: albee

You got that right!!!


50 posted on 06/30/2005 6:57:07 AM PDT by tyw (".. foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." - George Washington)
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