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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 08:59 PM
Original message
Bush assails US Congress on trade pacts
Source: Agence France-Presse

Bush assails US Congress on trade pacts
Sat Nov 22, 10:34 am ET

LIMA (AFP) US President George W. Bush on Saturday sharply assailed the US Congress for going into recess without approving free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.

"It is extremely disappointing that the United States Congress adjourned without passing these three good agreements," Bush said in a speech in Lima to the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

"And I urge all those who support free trade to continue in pressing the case for the Congress to pass free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama and South Korea," said Bush, who leaves office January 20.




Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081122/pl_afp/apecsummitu...





Bush dislikes our Congress.
How can we make it up to him?
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rwheeler31 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. There is something wrong with that boy.
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Sarah Ibarruri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
2. Oh crap. The shithead is still there. nt
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Double T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
3. bush and cheney hate american workers.
How many more american workers and their families would you like make homeless and destitute President idiot? January 20th can't get here fast enough; bush and cheney still have two months left to completely destroy our nation.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. the trade deal with Columbia is good for the US
ending the tariffs on US agricultural exports will wipe out the (non-narcotic) trade deficit with Columbia.
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DJ13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Heard much the same thing about Mexico and NAFTA
No thanks.

"Free trade" always ends up costing the US workers somehow.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. protectionism has never saved a single american job
The US has lost millions more jobs to countries without free trade agreements than we have lost to Mexico. The worthless US dollar has made our exports competitive for the first time in a generation, now is not the time to get doors slammed in our face.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Protectionism has saved American jobs and businesses since our nation's founding.
Edited on Sat Nov-22-08 10:11 PM by w4rma
Where do you get this B.S. that protectionism doesn't save jobs?
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IsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. Sounds like Repug bull shit to me.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
20. The dollar has risen against other currencies. You are behind the times.
We can still import goods -- but, without the trade agreements, we have more control over our balance of trade. We have completely lost our competitive advantage. We are like the girl that gets a reputation for being easy. All the guys love us, but none of the guys want to marry us. All the nations want to export manufactured goods to us, but none of them want to import manufactured goods from us.

We are losing our ability to manufacture. We are losing our ability to make things. As a matter of fact, if we did not export weapons and related materials, we probably would not export much of any value at all.
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #20
28. It is impossible for a country to lose its "competitive advantage" in the free trade sense.
Because what matters is not absolute advantage but comparative advantage. If one country has comparative advantage relative to another country with respect to a particular good, that other country will have comparative advantage with respect to a different good, and they will trade on terms that are profitable for both. Ricardo showed this back in the early nineteenth century.

Free trade has its problems, but it's a good idea in theory. The global economy needs less protectionism, not more, at least from developed countries. What it needs in terms of regulation is global worker and environmental standards, and greater freedom for developing countries to protect their high-potential infant industries.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. And with regard to what products does America have a competitive advantage
Other than weaponry?

I am unaware of anything. We produce a lot of wheat, but so do some other countries. We produce a lot of corn, but we have lots of competition there. And our competition will always be cheaper because their people are forced to accept a lower standard of living.

So far, free trade has just turned the American people into the indentured servants of the world. That's how I see it.
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Everything we export. That's how trade works.
The fact that other countries produce the same products we do is irrelevant, as long as we can sell the products we produce in the global market--which we can.

It is true that we have a trade deficit, but this amounts to little, because the extra capital we spend on our net imports returns to us in other ways. This is the necessary logical consequence of the nature of exchange, international or otherwise: you buy something (imports) with something (exports), you don't get it for nothing.

The suggested that the world's largest economy is somehow an exploited subordinate player is ludicrous.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. And precisely what do we export other than debt and military equipment
and weapons? Do we export (and by that I mean do we have a positive balance of trade in our export of these items) cars? Buses? Pharmaceuticals? Oil? Washing machines? Computers? Textiles? Minerals? Beer? Wine?

What exactly do we export in significant enough quantities to suggest that we have an industry that competes favorably in world markets?
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. Plenty of stuff
Boeing: Commercial aircraft.

Loral: Communications satellites.

Caterpillar: Heavy construction equipment.

That's just for starters.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #37
55. Parts of these things are constructed here but often with parts
produced in other countries. How much commercial aircraft are we actually selling. And communications satellites are bought so that other countries can copy our technology. Same for heavy construction equipment.

I can't even buy a decent wooden clothes drier. The ones they sell now are made in China and they are so cheap they fall apart in no time. The fabrics and clothes we get are of horrible quality. We are being robbed by free trade.

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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #37
57. Last figures I saw was that Germany was the biggest exporting country, the US was second and
China was third. Germany is a lot smaller than the US and has a wage/benefits/social service structure that is, if anything, higher than in the US and is able to lead the world in exports, so high wages, by themselves, don't keep you from competing internationally.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #33
54. Factories have closed across America.
People do not have jobs. Americans are just serving hamburgers to each other thanks to "free" trade. There is nothing "free" about it at this point. The choice is not "free" trade or no trade. The choice is "free" trade or fair trade.

American wages below the CEO or management levels are stagnant in dollar terms and losing value in real terms. And unemployment is much higher that the statistics suggest -- thanks to "free" trade.

You can't name a single product outside defense in which we have a plus in the balance of trade numbers. That's how bad it is.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #28
43. The Comparative Advantage argument is corporatist BS
Edited on Sun Nov-23-08 05:17 PM by Odin2005
Read, as I recommended another poster to do, "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations" by David Landes. Landes says that if most of Europe had followed the dictum of Comparative Advantage very little of Europe outside of the UK would of industrialized. Comparative Advantage is why Latin America was left behind until recently
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #43
47. Nonsense. It follows quite logically.
It is true that in development contexts, other factors--like the problem of infant industries--can overwhelm it, providing good reasons for certain kinds of targeted protectionism (as has historically been practiced by essentially every industrialized country). But this does NOT serve as a justification for protectionism in developed countries like the United States, where capital markets are extensive and well-developed, and where protectionism serves mostly to prop up inefficient industries at the expense of both the American people as a whole and the people in the developing world who would otherwise be selling their products to us.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
42. BS. Read "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations" by David Landes.
Landes shows that protectionism is necessary for economic development and "Free Trade" was promoted by those already on top to keep everyone else down
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Sure, it's terrific if you stand against the workers. Democrats don't. n/t
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. farmers and ranchers aren't workers?
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. It's easy to believe you know exactly what this means to everyone concerned, and still
want to dump it on the people who can least afford that additional hardship.

That's not Democratic. It doesn't support Democratic values.
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSE U.S.-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENTMarch 7, 2008

Dear Member of Congress:

~snip~
How Free Trade Harms the PoorThe Colombian FTA will undermine conditions for family farmers in Colombia by requiring it to lowertariffs on agricultural imports. Colombian farmers and farm workers are worried that they will face thesame fate as 1.3 million Mexican farmers who were displaced when heavily subsidized U.S. agriculturalproducts flooded the Mexican market after NAFTA was signed. This will only add to Colombia's 3.8million internally displaced people, which is already second only to the Sudan, and disproportionatelyimpact Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities.Poor consumers are also harmed. The corporate consolidation by investors in the Mexican corn marketas a result of NAFTA helped bring about a steep climb in the prices of tortillas. More imports do notguarantee lower prices. The same thing can happen in Colombia.

People in developing countries need affordable access to essential medicines, not only for pandemic diseases like HIV/AIDS, but for a whole variety of serious health conditions. While the amended text ofthe agreement removes the most egregious provisions limiting the access to affordable medicines, itstill includes elements that undermine the right to affordable medicines. This will further undermine aColombian health system that only covers ten percent of Afro-Colombians.The case of Colombia is of extreme concern because of the longstanding, egregious human rights situation. Many current or former high ranking government officials are under indictment or have beenforced to resign because their involvement with paramilitaries and drug trafficking has been publicly exposed. Four hundred union activists have been killed in Colombia since its current president took office in 2002. The Colombian government has consistently failed to investigate and charge thoseresponsible for these murders and Colombia continues to be the most dangerous country in the worldfor union and labor organizers. The FTA will reward the Colombian government and business elites fortheir misconduct while deepening the economic disparity which is a root cause of the conflict, anddiminish human rights.Genuine political freedom does not exist in Colombia. During the most recent electoral period last fall,23 candidates who were running for office were murdered. One former congressman who consideredrunning for another term was advised that seeking re-election would likely result in his assassination;thus he decided against it.In preparation for the FTA, the Colombian government is making sweeping legal changes to codesgoverning land use and specific resources, including forests and minerals. These pre-emptive legalchanges dismantle the legal rights of Indigenous and Afro-Colombians.

Why the Colombia FTA Will Harm the United States

Why the Colombia FTA Will Harm the United StatesPeople in the United States would not be well served by the Colombia FTA. Labor and environmentalprovisions remain weak, which puts a downward pressure on standards here.The FTA will likely worsen the problems of coca production and drug trafficking, if competition fromartificially low-priced U.S. agricultural imports prevents small farmers in Colombia from earning a livingproducing legal crops.

We can also expect forced immigration to the U.S. to increase, if free trade continues to expand.Almost all people everywhere want to stay in their home country, but when economic conditions destroytheir livelihoods, they move to where decent jobs are available. We need to view the larger immigrationnumbers in the context of the U.S. governments promotion of economic policies that are a critical factorin uprooting people from their homes.

Free trade agreements encourage export-driven agriculture. This ultimately benefits a relatively fewU.S. agribusiness processors and traders and very large farms. This system accelerates agriculturalconsolidation, further undermining family farmers in the U.S. and developing countries.

The free trade model is the antithesis of the policies needed to guarantee basic human rights and global human security. For these reasons, we stand together with church leaders, Afro-Colombians,unionists, indigenous leaders, human rights and environmental groups in Colombia who oppose the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
More:
http://www.coc.org/system/files/Colombia+sign-on_0.pdf

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


U.S.-Colombia FTA talking points

If Passed the U.S.-Colombia FTA will:
  • Undermine human rights and fuel the fires of conflict. Colombia is still a country at war. Its record on human rights is dismal. Attacks on civil society, union leaders, Afro-Colombians and Indigenous people continue with impunity. The FTA will deepen the economic disparity, which is a root cause of the conflict, and diminish human rights.

  • Destroy small farmers. The agreement will favor only a small sector of Colombian farmers who export to the U.S. The Colombian Ministry of Agriculture estimates that if tariffs on agricultural imports from the U.S. were eliminated, overall income for farmers would drop by more than fifty percent. This would wipe out local farmers-as happened to the 1.3 million who have been displaced in Mexico since NAFTA passed 12 years ago. This will only add to Colombia's 3.8 million internally displaced people.

  • Increase drug trafficking. Colombia is already the world's largest producer of cocaine. The FTA will threaten livelihoods and displace small farmers leaving, for some, no other alternative than to join the drug trade.

  • Harm Indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians. The internal conflict has disproportionately displaced Afro-Colombian and Indigenous peoples from their resource-rich, ancestral territories, ignoring their constitutional and legal rights. Laws put in place in anticipation of the FTA to attract investment dismantle the legal rights related to territory, mineral and forest resources of these communities. Once the FTA is in place, under its investment rules, multinational corporations benefiting from these legal reforms will be able to sue the Colombian government for compensation for future lost profits if the laws are revoked.

  • Hinder access to life-saving medicines. While the amended text of the Colombia FTA removes the most egregious, CAFTA-based, provisions limiting the access to affordable medicines, it still includes NAFTA provisions that undermine the right to affordable medicines. This will further exacerbate a failing system in Colombia that only covers ten percent of Afro-Colombians.

  • Harm workers and environment. Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world for union and labor organizers. There is little that the labor chapter can do to address the continued violence and impunity in the country. Moreover, the government has demonstrated little will to promote the labor laws and policies which are necessary for the full exercise of the international core labor rights.

  • Increase the burden on women, children, and the poor. Provisions promoting the privatization and deregulation of essential services such as water, healthcare and education are written into this trade agreement. As these services become less accessible, women and the poor would have suffer the consequences of increases in prices of these services.

  • Undermine U.S. and Colombian sovereignty. The Colombia FTA contains a NAFTA-style foreign investor chapter that allows corporations to sue governments that pass environmental and public health laws that might reduce corporate profits.

  • Threaten the Amazon and wildlife. The FTA will stimulate an increase in logging and other extraction projects in the Colombian Amazon rain forest that mostly reside in Afro-Colombian and Indigenous territories. This will further endanger the lungs of the globe and precious species and will be reinforced by investor rules that allow corporations to sue the Colombian government when enforcement of environmental laws results in lost corporate profits.

  • Pirate traditional knowledge. The FTA will pave the way for large pharmaceutical and agribusiness corporations to patent traditional knowledge, seeds, and life forms. This opens the door to bio-piracy of the Andean-Amazon region and threatens the ecological, medicinal and cultural heritage of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples.
http://www.art-us.org/node/338
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. California used to be a wonderful source for garlic.
Now, practically all of our garlic comes from China. And a lot of our other agricultural products are from overseas. It is just a matter of time before we are told that our products are too expensive and therefore not welcome. The trade agreements have caused only misery in the U.S.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Discussions already under the bridge at D.U. regarding this "free trade" machination you advocate.
The U.S. Must Not Reward Murder
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Violence Against Workers Still Rampant in Colombia
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Free trade bubbles up in final US election debate
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

ALERT ISSUED on US-COLOMBIA Free Trade Agreement by Citizens Trade Campaign
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

FTA fails to protect workers
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Trade with Columbia won't be "free"
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

No Colombia Trade Deal Without an End to Violence Against Trade Unionists
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

"Freetrade" With Colombia: Double Speak, Deadly Silence and Deception
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

US warns no vote on Colombia trade deal a fiasco
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

The US-Colombia Unfair Trade Agreement: Just Say No!
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Colombia labor applauds convictions (prosecuted to impress U.S. Democrats)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Did you know Colombia completely obliterated an entire party? You may have heard about this:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Unionists' Murders Cloud Prospects for Colombia Trade Pact
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

There's an ENORMOUS list behind this one.
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. The FTA with Colombia will basically reduce barriers to US products
Colombian products are already allowed into the US at significantly reduced rates. It would be a net benefit to American workers that actually build farm/construction machinery, etc., and that's a good thing.

IMHO the argument that the FTA will be deleterious to small farmers is not credible. Go to local markets in South America and one would see it's absurd to think that local farmers would be displaced by US agricultural imports.

The FTA does call for enforcing worker's rights in Colombia; there's a loss of leverage without it. In any case murders of union members have been declining in recent years under the Uribe administration.

And it's in our interest to support a valued ally in the region.

The FTA with Colombia is good for the USA.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. You're seriously misinformed, or you are seriously attempting to disinform, yourself:
Colombian Military Murders More and More Unionists
March 26th, 2008

On March 22, 2008, Adolfo Gonzalez Montes, a Colombian coal miner and leader of the union SINTRACARBON, was assassinated in his home, leaving behind his wife and children. Adolfo Gonzalez Montes was the 13th unionist murdered in Colombia this year, putting Colombia on course to far exceed its rate of 40 trade unionists killed last year.

Since 1991, around 2,300 union leaders have been killed in Colombia a country which continues to lead the world in the murder of trade unionists. It must be noted that 433 of these unionists have been killed since President Alvaro Uribe took office in 2002. Some of these, moreover, have been killed by the Colombian military itself. And, all were put at risk by the Uribe Administration, which continues to wrongly stigmatize trade unionists as guerillas and terrorists.

As the LA Times recently reported, the Colombian militarys share of extra-judicial killings has been on a steady increase recently, with the military responsible for the killing of 287 civilians last year alone a 10% increase over the previous year. In total, the Colombian military has been responsible for over 955 extra-judicial killings since Alvaro Uribe was elected president in 2002.

The LA Times article also notes that this rise in extra-judicial killings has been accompanied by an increase in the phenomenon known as false positives, in which the armed forces kill civilians and brand them as leftist guerrillas. The LA Times further explains: A macabre facet of a general increase in extrajudicial killings by the military, false positives are a result of intense pressure to show progress in Colombias U.S.-funded war against leftist insurgents . . . .

An example of the phenomenon of false positives is the murder of three union leaders in the oil-rich region of Arauca by the 18th Brigade of the Colombian Armed Forces. As Colombias own Attorney General as well as a well-respected judge of Colombias Constitutional Court concluded, these unionists were killed by the Army in cold blood. They further concluded that the Army, after the fact, planted guns in their hands to make it look like they were guerillas killed in a gun battle.

More:
http://blog.thehill.com/2008/03/26/colombian-military-m... /

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Colombian Labor Scholar Says Union Members Face Genocide
by James Parks, Feb 28, 2008

~snip~
Earlier this month, an AFL-CIO delegation of union leaders traveled to Colombia where they met with Uribe and told him the U.S. union movement cannot support the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until real progress is made to protect the lives and rights of trade union members.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Emerita Linda Chavez-Thompson, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen and United Steelworkers (USW) counsel Dan Kovalik found Colombias unionists still operate in a climate of fear in the country, where 40 trade unionists were murdered in 2007. In meetings with Colombias trade unionists, they also ascertained the government has systematically undermined union members rights while exerting little effort to address the murders of Colombian trade unionists, despite some new government initiatives.

As Chavez-Thompson says:
Despite the Colombian and United States governments assertions to the contrary, there has been too little real progress in ending the brutality that trade unionists face in Colombia. In 2008 alone, five trade unionists have been murderedalmost one per week.
Colombian workers are not murdered at random, says Sanin. They are killed in a deliberate effort to destroy unions. Violence is directed against new unions in the process of forming and against existing unions to stop them from gaining benefits for workers.

More:
http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/02/28/colombian-labor-schol... /

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More Trade Unionists Killed in Colombia In First Eight Months of 2008 Than in All of 2007

Assassins murdered Alexander Blanco Rodriguez in front of his coworkers during a shift change on August 26th, 2008. Mr. Blanco, a leader in the oil workers' union, was the 41st Colombian trade union member to be murdered this year.

Between January 1st and December 31st 2007, 39 union members were murdered, a significant decline from the previous year. Unfortunately this trend has been reversed, with this number already surpassed in 2008 with four months remaining in the year.

According to the Escuela Nacional Sindical, there has been an increase in murders of union leaders over union members, with 15 leaders killed so far this year compared to 10 last year. In addition, 125 death threats were registered before the end of August.

More:
http://www.usleap.org/more-trade-unionists-killed-colom...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Clearly it doesn't matter to you, but the Democratic Party has a strong tradition of support for the working class. The businesses which abuse them don't need any militant protectors against the very people they have exploited and sucked the very life blood from from the beginning. They have death squads to do that in Colombia, and the corporate media to do that for them here.
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #19
31. As a working class hero of the proletariat AND a union member
I probably have a much stronger tradition of supporting union workers than many others.

I'm certainly not alone in my support for an agreement with Colombia; so do the editors of the New York Times -- as expressed in their editorial from just last week.

<snip>

Pass the Colombian Trade Pact

We dont say it all that often, but President Bush is right: Congress should pass the Colombian free-trade agreement now.

Mr. Bush signed the deal two years ago. The Democratic majority in Congress has refused to approve it out of a legitimate concern over the state of human rights in Colombia and less legitimate desires to pander to organized labor or deny Mr. Bush a foreign policy win.

We believe that the trade pact would be good for Americas economy and workers. Rejecting it would send a dismal message to allies the world over that the United States is an unreliable partner and, despite all that it preaches, does not really believe in opening markets to trade. There is no more time to waste. If the lame-duck Congress does not approve the trade pact this year, prospects would dim considerably since it would lose the cover of the rule (formerly known as fast track) that provides for an up-or-down, no-amendment vote.

Because of trade preferences granted as part of the war on drugs, most Colombian exports already are exempt from United States tariffs. The new agreement would benefit American companies that now have to pay high tariffs on exports to Colombia...

<snip>

Read it at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/opinion/18tue1.html?_...
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #31
36. Oh! Well, that's different. If the editors of the New York Times stand behind it, by all means
it's gotta be the last word. We'd better by god get busy and pass that danged thing.

Why don't you write your Congressman and tell him what the New York Times says? He'll probably pass out when he realizes how off base the Democratic Congress has been.
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. I daresay my Senators and Representatives are quite aware of the FTA issues
and many recognize it would be good for US workers. The Democrats in Congress are not all in lockstep against the FTA with Colombia; they aren't Republicans, after all.

It's an issue that deserves honest debate, and to not be held hostage by hysteria just because it was negotiated between the Bush and Uribe administrations.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Democrats stand firmly against the practise of killing union workers. Period. n/t
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #40
44. Colombia Free Trade and Labor Unions: Myth vs. Fact
Please feel free to dispute any of the following with real evidence.

Myth #1: Union members in Colombia are more likely to be murdered than other individuals in Colombia.

Fact: Union members are far less likely than average Colombians to be murdered. In 2007, the homicide rate for unionists was less than one-seventh the rate for the general population (less than 5 per 100,000 versus 39 per 100,000). The national homicide rate has dropped 40 percent since 2002, and the homicide rate of unionists has dropped by twice as much over that period.

Myth #2: All Union members killed in Colombia are murdered because of their union activity.

Fact: Statistics for Colombian unionist homicides include all victims who were members of a union, regardless of the actual motive.

Myth #3: Colombia has the worlds highest incidence of unionist murders.

Fact: This assertion cannot be supported. We are not aware of any other country in the world that tracks homicides based on union membership. The United States does not.

Myth #4: The Government of Colombia does not protect union members from violence.

Fact: The government has established a special program to protect labor union members and other persons that may be at risk. Today, approximately 9,400 people are protected by that program, of which more than 1,900 are union members making them the largest group of private citizens participating in the program. Funding for the protection program has increased by 141 percent from 2002 to 2007 to over $38 million.

Myth #5: The low conviction rate for homicides of over 2,000 union members dating back to 1991 demonstrates particular impunity for unionist homicides.

Fact: Well over 300,000 Colombians were victims of homicide during that period. Conviction rates were low for all crime victims in a country that was wracked by violence and had a judicial system that was overwhelmed and inadequate. Today violence has dropped significantly in Colombia and the government is seeking to end impunity.

Following a decade under previous administrations in which there were no convictions in homicides of union members, the Uribe Administration made prosecuting homicides against unionists a priority and is making progress. The government established a special unit within the Prosecutor Generals Office with 13 prosecutors, 69 investigators, and 27 supporting lawyers focused exclusively on cases of violence against trade union members. The unit prioritized investigation of 187 cases of violence against unionists cases identified by Colombias three leading labor unions as well as the backlog of other unionist homicide cases.

Since 2001, 73 cases involving trade unionists have been resolved with 88 convictions involving 156 individuals. Of the 187 cases prioritized in early 2007, 14 have been prosecuted resulting in 27 individuals sentenced for their crimes.

Myth #6: Withholding approval of the free trade agreement (FTA) provides leverage to pressure the Colombian government to help combat crimes against union members.

Fact: Colombian efforts to strengthen the rule of law and end the violence began long before negotiation of the FTA. These actions were not taken for the benefit of a trade debate in the United States -- they were taken as part of a commitment by the Colombian government to the Colombian people. The FTA enshrines in an enforceable international agreement Colombias commitment to adopt and maintain laws ensuring fundamental labor rights and to enforce its labor laws. Ratification of the FTA will provide additional tools for the United States to ensure continued progress by future Colombian governments on labor matters.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #44
50. For any DU'ers who are actually interested, the link to Zorro's material is the US gummint
The administration trying to ram that FTA down the throats of two countries whose people don't want it, will be harmed by it:

http://64.233.169.132/search?q=cache:_v767qR4JFsJ:www.u...

If the link doesn't work, just put the first line in a search. You will get the link instantly.

Jesus H. Christ.
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. Still waiting for the hard evidence that contradicts those listed facts
It's rather presumptuous to assert the Colombia FTA is being rammed "down the throats of two countries whose people don't want it, will be harmed by it".

I'd like to see it happen; ergo your assertion is false.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 07:04 AM
Response to Reply #17
25. Shining example of how well farmers do with FTA's with the U.S.
This was already posted here by DU'er Dems Will Win:

U.S. Corn Subsidies Said to Damage Mexico

Published: August 27, 2003

The more than $10 billion that American taxpayers give corn farmers every year in agricultural subsidies has helped destroy the livelihoods of millions of small Mexican farmers, according to a report to be released on Wednesday.

Prepared in advance of critical trade talks next month, the report by Oxfam International argues that the subsidies given American corn farmers allow them to sell their grain at prices far below what it costs to produce. That has led to cheap American corn flooding the Mexican market and pushing the poorest Mexican farmers out of business, the report said.

''There is a direct link between government agricultural policies in the U.S. and rural misery in Mexico,'' according to the report entitled, ''Dumping Without Borders: How U.S. agricultural policies are destroying the livelihoods of Mexican corn farmers.''

...

Mexico, the birthplace of corn, opened its borders to American corn exports after signing the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. Within a year, corn imports from the United States doubled and today nearly one-third of the corn used in Mexico is imported from the United States. The United States is the biggest exporter of corn in the world and the biggest exporter of corn to Mexico.

The report said the price of Mexican corn has fallen more than 70 percent since Nafta took effect, severely reducing the incomes of the 15 million Mexicans who depend on corn for their livelihood.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

~~~~~~~~~~

Poor farmers jobs destroyed
2008-01-31

~snip~
Trade liberalisation has filled Mexico with cheap alternatives, leaving small producers unable to compete.

"Every hour the country imports an estimated 1.5 million dollars worth of agricultural and food products, almost all from the US.

"During the same hour, 30 people leave their homes in the Mexican countryside to seek work in the US.

"We have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects unfair trade policies are having on the poor and agree we have a moral responsibility to speak out and support them out of poverty."

Benefits and limitations
Indigenous coffee farmer, Vicente Gmez, whom CAFOD supports through a partner in the south of Mexico says: "Since NAFTA we get very little for what we sell.

"Now coffee only brings in six pesos a kilo but a pair of trousers is 100, shoes 150, hat 50."

The bishops statement also says: "Mexico cannot close its borders indefinitely, not only because we are not self-sufficient in everything but also because the market now exceeds national limits in both its benefits and limitations.

"However, when the laws of the market impose upon the rights of the people and communities, profit becomes the supreme value and serves the large interest groups, excluding the poor and generating a global economic system which is both unjust and inhumane.

"It is necessary to seek paths, in the sphere of international commerce, which change those systems which generate injustice and exclusion in those countries or sectors of society which are less developed.

"No system is untouchable when it generates death."

http://www.cafod.org.uk/news/poor-farmers-2008-01-31

~~~~~~~~~~

ETC., ETC., ETC.
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. Then eliminate US agricultural subsidies.
Which, incidentally, are a classic example of protectionism.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. You bet. Should have been done long, long ago. n/t
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
8. "I want mah free trade agreement annah wannit now!"
Bush assails US Congress on trade pacts, November 22, 2008










What a horrid eight years it has been.


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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:19 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. Bush just can't admit what a horrendous president he has been.
He is in complete denial. He is a very angry, very dangerous man in my opinion. He is bitter beyond belief and lives in a fantasy world, in a delusion. It's as though he is surrounded by a bubble that he has created that prevents him from seeing reality.

You have to understand that for eight years he has hidden from the American people. Early on, he started selecting his audiences very carefully. He never really got any feedback from people who disagreed with him. Read The Price of Loyalty. It is amazing how he silenced those around him who dared to express their own opinions and ideas. So, of course, he is still holding out for his crazy ideas that have long been proved unworkable.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 03:49 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. He has to be the oddest President we've had, other than Nixon.
Who would expect a man who ran for office of a huge country to be snotty, surly, backbiting, completely destructive, disrespectful toward people, particularly the poor of this world, and ignorant? What a damned shame the system allowed the right-wing to slide him into place, with no recourse for the American people but to grin and bear it for eight years, after two filthy, underhanded Presidential campaigns which no honorable man would have permitted.

Hoping it's centuries after we're all gone before the right-wing gets its slimy, never-worked-a-day in-their-life fingers around the throat of our country again. Maybe by then they will have evolved almost to the point of becoming human.
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. 'Surly, backbiting, destructive, disrespectful ...'.. Jeb is just like him, but without the charm.
Edited on Sun Nov-23-08 08:55 AM by seafan

Jim Morin, Miami Herald, 10/9/02


Jeb Inc.


When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe


Interactive graphic of Jeb's business dealings


Jeb Bush raided the coffers of dedicated state trust funds to avoid raising taxes.


Jeb "Veto Corleone" Bush is not done yet. Stealth school voucher amendments on November ballot.



Governor of Florida 1998-2006

An eight-year nightmare within an eight-year nightmare.



"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt...If the game runs sometime against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake." --- Thomas Jefferson, 1798





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OhioChick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:47 PM
Response to Original message
11. Just what we need with so many people here out of work.
:eyes:
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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
12. The drunken buffoon has got some nerve.
He completely fucks up the country and the global economy and derides Congress for not passing what he considers a 'good agreement'? Guess what asshole? NOBODY LIKES YOU. NOBODY CARES.
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santamargarita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
13. Just Get The Fuck Out Of Our White House!
GO!
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-22-08 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
15. Who was on the trade delegation, Chimpy?
What are the details? Are the labor and environmental considerations relegated to side deals to be negotiated "later"? Again? You haven't put in the homework, Mr. President. Nobody trusts you anymore. Or at least they shouldn't. And the country's in no mood to buy one last pig in a poke from you and your thieving friends.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 06:13 AM
Response to Original message
24. If it's called a free trade agreement I don't want it.
Those were soooo Bush administration.
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TankLV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
27. WELL DONE, CONGRESS - DON'T DO ANYTHING WITH THIS SOCIOPATH!
Edited on Sun Nov-23-08 10:16 AM by TankLV
And bunkerboy, YOU should just go sit in a CLOSET and DO NOTHING for the remainder of your time in AL GORE'S House - now President OBAMA'S House!

You fucking WAR CRIMINAL are lucky you're still BREATHING!

Just go the fuck away!!!


Thank you,

...the Rest Of The Planet...
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judesedit Donating Member (450 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
30. Thank God Congress has finally gotten the hint from U.S. citizens
No more blank checks. No more blanket approvals. Tell Colombia, Panama, and S. Korea that we will not deal with them under the current conditions. It will be one compromise for another. As Barack said to the leaders of other countries and kingdoms. For those who work toward peace and justice for ALL, we will gladly cooperate and assist. As for the others, we will defeat you in due time. Finally. Someone who cares about the little guy.
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blue_onyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
39. We've had enough "free trade"
So I hope these agreements never pass.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
41. The Globalists can take their Free Trade and shove it up their asses. n/t
FAIR TRADE NOW!!!
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. Shove it up their asses without lubrication!
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. ACK!!! Must get disgusting image out of head...
:puke:
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
46. Canada and Colombia sign free-trade agreement
<snip>

Canada and Colombia signed a free- trade agreement on Friday, hoping to boost investment and trade flows at a time of global economic instability.

The pact, which has been criticized by union leaders in both countries as well as opposition politicians and human rights activists who say Colombia is not doing enough to stop attacks on activists, includes side agreements on labor and environmental rights.

The deal must be ratified by lawmakers in both countries. It was signed as leaders from the United States, China, Japan, Canada, Australia and other Pacific Rim economies gather in Peru's capital, Lima, for a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, forum.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said at a news conference the trade deal sent an anti-protectionism message at a time of economic turmoil when some countries have increased trade barriers.

<snip>

More at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081122/wl_canada_nm/canada...
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
49. Nancy and Harry you just say out loud that the Bush admin is over
No more of his disastrous policies will be considered. The US government will resume operation on jan 20.
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
52. Fuck off, chimpy
You already fucked America enough.
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-23-08 10:05 PM
Response to Original message
53. Can't wait for Jan. 20 when Bushit's off the stage & getting hounded by lawsuits for the rest of his
life.
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workinclasszero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-24-08 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
56. Yeah free trade has worked so well for the USA
and the rest of the world. :sarcasm: :eyes:

Bush has so much more destruction to do and so little time.
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