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What's big news across Canada at the moment is that the Neocon Stephen Harper government will proceed with legislation to implement an extremely controversial "sellout" softwood lumber agreement with the US.

Why should this be of interest to Kossacks??

Because the deal, negotiated by Bush and his Canadian lackey, Harper will see $450 million funnelled straight past Congress and  the US treasury, and will go instead, directly to the Bush Whitehouse.

Washington Trade Lawyer, Elliot Feldman of Baker and Hostetler LLP has told the August 21st Ottawa meeting of the Standing Committee on International Trade that Canada was not only shafted when Harper caved to the US interests in the interminable Softwood Lumber debacle, but that the government of Canada is making a gift of $450 million to be spent by the president.

During questions following Feldman's presentation, NDP MP Peter Julian (New Westminster/Burnaby) noted the "quite a staggering revelation that the funding of $450 million would be, if I understand it, under the control of the White House; Congress would have no say and Canada would have no say as to the use of that money. And, hence, in a mid-term election year we would be giving $450 million to a massive political fund."

Feldman responded:

"This is in my view an historic, unprecedented, astounding intrusion into American politics. We searched all the way back to the Revolution and found nothing like it in American history. And the question that I came this morning to put is, "Will the Parliament of Canada accept responsibility for possibly tipping the balance in American politics in preserving the control of Congress by the president's party?" This softwood lumber agreement is an historic moment in part because of that proposition, and it's up to this Parliament to decide whether it will accept the responsibility. That responsibility cannot be shifted and, indeed, that money inevitably will go to shore up the electoral aspirations of the Republican party through the president -- it's not going to be touched by Congress -- it's going through an escrow fund. And these are questions that could impact American politics for generations and impact relations between Canada and the United States for generations to come. And that is entirely in the hands of this Parliament."

Here's a link to Elliot Feldman's report on the www.thetyee.ca

The Canada/US Softwood Lumber deal - which has been vociferously blasted by Canada's opposition parties, the Canadian lumber industry groups and business analysts - has come after years of futile NAFTA rulings which consistently found in Canada's favour, and Canada had no reason to capitulate now.

Although Washington has finally agreed to return $4-billion of the more than $5-billion in punitive duties that it has collected from logging companies over the past four years, that money will go to the giant trans-national and American logging corporations such as Weyerhaeuser for example, which are out there, destroying Canada's forests. Canadian taxpayers will get zilch, and so apparently, will Americans

It should be of great interest and concern to all Democrats and to all Americans that Canada has apparently become the primary financier of Republican election campaigns in the upcoming November elections

There's another article at www.rabble.ca on this issue

Originally posted to ingmarz on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Class of 72, Pandoras Box

    What?

    The White House can directly profit from a trade deal with another nation?

    What?

    You've got to get a link here.

  •  I Heard About This a Day or 2 Ago via Canadian (4+ / 0-)

    news, finding it mid-story.

    First guess, I'd say it's basically true.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:49:51 AM PDT

  •  Well we haven't even approved the deal yet (8+ / 0-)

    It's up for a vote the COnservatives would need the support of one or more of the other left leaning parties to pass it.

    Though it might be hard politically for the other parties to object to it strongly.

    Also I question Mr. Feldman's bias, this agrement would stop most of the lawsuits that are ongoing in this dispute.   Is he about to lose a whole bunch of clients?

  •  One Way for Democrats to Spin it is (6+ / 0-)

    To show a picture of Harper in one of his god-awful cheezy cowboy getups and ask, "Why does George Bush need this man to prop up his givernment?"

    Sean

    "For causes are ashes where children lie slain." - Stan Rogers, The House of Orange

    by whytwolf on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:57:34 AM PDT

  •  Sounds like Karl (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Hannibal, taracar

    has some new additions to his photo portfolio book of goat-fucking politicians.

  •  Just how long would it take to mount a posse and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cynical Copper

    pick up Harper on an international warrant? And, why not a peep yet from DNC/Dean, DSCC, and DCCC? Are they all ducking this one?

    It's easy to take democracy away from Americans. They won't take the risks or make the sacrifices necessary to force us out of power. --Gloating NeoCon Fascists

    by Enough Talk Lets Get Busy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:26:12 AM PDT

  •  If true, this should be front-paged and moved to (6+ / 0-)

    the top of everyone's talking points.  Not one dime of money resulting from a trade agreement with a foreign government should ever flow to a president.  If he signed off on this agreement, he should be impeached immediately.  Congress controls the purse, period.

    But some more corroboration is in order.

    We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

    by Jon Ferguson on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:29:33 AM PDT

    •  It should be frontpaged (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paul2port

      It boggles my mind that this piece of shit agreement could be implemented.

      $.5 Billion to the industries Shrub tried to protect and close to .5 Billion for whatever little Shrubby wants.

      I would call Harper Mini-Me but it just isn't funny any more.

      -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:19:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One more nail in Harper's political coffin (7+ / 0-)

    along with a few others I could mention but they would be off topic hot button issues. Everything about this guy seems shallow and temporary. I'm hoping he will fade along with his buddy GWB.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:36:10 AM PDT

  •  Awful that this is so recommended (4+ / 0-)

    One source (has anybody here ever heard of it?), one person known to be saying this. and people here already done with the trial and moving on to the  sentencing stage.

    Blech

    •  I've removed my recommendation (3+ / 0-)

      It doesn't pass the smell test, yet.

      •  Does CBC cut it for you or not? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankFrink

        Sorry - If you understood this, you'd be outraged.

        -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

        by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:18:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand it (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

          And I still lack sufficient evidence for outrage.

          •  Read my "to sum up" (0+ / 0-)

            This money is OFF BUDGET.   OUT OF CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT.  NOT FOREIGN MONEY.

            The constitution can't touch it (as if Bush actually followed it)

            -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

            by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:28:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nothing is ever out of congressional oversight (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PaintyKat

              As long congress wants to oversee it.  The president lacks the authority to sign a treaty with another country that says congress has no say in how U.S. funds are spent.  

              And, remember, this isn't the final form, and hasn't been signed by all concerned parties.  I'll be outraged when: it's final; it's signed; and the money has disappeared or been used illegally.  Until then, I reserve judgement.

              Calm yourself, please.

      •  Mine didn't last 30 seconds (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sleeps in Trees

        As soon as I saw the diarist's name and did some checking.  Bush may live everyday like he is an aging Frat Brat but this couldn't be his own cookie jar because of the US Constitution and specifics of budgetary process.

        PaintyKat

        I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

        by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:19:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's your issue? (0+ / 0-)

          The post or the poster?

          It IS his own cookie jar, because it is OFF BUDGET.

          -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

          by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:27:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is tax and tariff money (2+ / 0-)

            and it is impossible for this not to go to the treasury for dispursement of the $450M, 50M, and 500M to the various designates.

            I don't have an issue with any post but if it is the diarist to whom you refer - like every diarist or poster here, we all come with history and some responsible checking puts us all in better steed.

            When I joined dkos we were instructed and it is probably part of the FAQ to be selective about diaries and only issue rec to those that met a higher standard and this diary does not meet that standard.

            This is not a cookie jar for the President and many folks have done the diarists research for him/her to show the details.  Going to guess you wrote this and the post above it before you had read of the meat of the issue.

            Congress has the responsibility for taxation so these funds would technically have to pass through the US treasury.

            Do you really believe the Canadian govt. would be dolling out the $$ to each corp who has an interest and if it isn't accounted for within the US Treasury, what is to show that Canada ever returned the monies?

            PaintyKat

            I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

            by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 05:56:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, I don't (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sleeps in Trees, paul2port

              understand your post at all.

              It's illegally collected, I might add, trade duties and tariffs.

              The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

              by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:16:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Frank (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Black Maned Pensator, FrankFrink

                I think, in PaintyKat's way she is trying to say that monies are not just handed over to the US without accountability and/or paper trails.  

                If the diarist can show how this can make it through the checks and balances of the US government and with the "intention" of the Canadian government then it would be plausible.

                Further, from an obvious stand point if this were fact the Democratic Party would be screaming about a 450 million campaign contribution.  Unfortunately money talks in politics therefore, this would be their main issue (especially in the established old guard).

                Again, this money does not "come from" the Canadian goverment, it is withheld from repayment by the US government.  One can suggest how you may like to use the money you have but one has not right to enforce it. (using "you" in the "vous" context)

                Finally, the ironic parti is, when has the present administration ever stood by their international contracts and obligations?  Contract or no contract, at this point the word and signatory of the present administration, is considered useless in the international community. (sorry if that sounds brutal, it was not meant to be)

                Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

                by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:45:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  So what's "the diarists name' got to do (0+ / 0-)

          with it, may I ask?

          •  I think paintykat is gently suggesting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankFrink

            that the diarist--who shall, for the purpose of this single post, be assumed to be not only anonymous, but also absent, and so immune to the possibility of hurt feelings--said diarist may, perhaps, have a history of writing over-wrought, poorly-researched diaries, at least one of which was so egregious that, rightly or wrongly, it was called out as being trollish.  While this would always be a subjective, and not a factual, judgement, the implication, I believe, is that the diarist, while most likely well-intentioned, is somewhat less reliable than others; and, without an overwhelming burden of proof, a reasonable person might be forgiven for lending said diarist's writings somewhat less than full credence.

    •  i did hear about this (0+ / 0-)

      about 5 days ago on CBC radio.  granted, the focus of the story (or the part i heard anyway) was how canadian lumber got royally screwed.  i did not hear anything about the money...

    •  Are you backing off any from that point? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhantomFly

      There seems to be a great deal of support behind this being a "windfall" for the Republican party and the US lumber industry.

      -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:49:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  *I* am (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PaintyKat

        The quoted passage simply says that the United States has agreed to spend the money on certain projects, enumerating their basic type / focus.  I can see no reason to assume that the "United States" in this instance means the executive rather than legislative branch.

        I can understand the Canadians being upset, but the rest looks like a tempest in a teacup to me.

        •  you'd better hope so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bionic

          I can see why Little might feel duped. There certainly is a lack of foundation to the way this diary sits and is presented. But as it tips and wobbles, the amount of money is still enough to affect Nov. in a disastrous way. This might be a bit tin foil hat, or we might need a new name for what this is, but I suspect back-door moves like this. The back door is where the sh*t happens, as in who supplied the Dean-scream audio from the soundboard in the first place?

          The worst that can be said about the fear-mongering here is that we are knee-jerking because of some sort of PTSD, having been screwed so many times. I certainly remember feeling like I was suffering from that when the London terrorists were apprehended and no liquids were allowed on board and folks yelled here: "What's the matter with you people? There are real terrorists. This was a real police action. To suggest the timing of this has anything to do with Lamont is irresponsible, crazy, and refusing to face the real danger." I feel the same way now. I wouldn't feel this way so much if it had turned out the guys in London were truly operational!

        •  There are many questions raised by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Little

          this diary.

          In particular, how is this $450M to be allocated?

          I understand your skepticism, but if you read the text of the agreement, this is a boondoggle.

          -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

          by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 01:20:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is this legal? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Black Maned Pensator

    It doesn't smell right.  Color me skeptical.  I don't think that you can have a foreign government make a contribution to a political party like your describing.  I would think that it's illegal.  Please prove me wrong.

    Why settle for the truth when you can have Truthiness???

    by wintersnowman on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:43:40 AM PDT

    •  A lot of things used to be illegal (4+ / 0-)

      Like 'torure' and spying on US citizens, well, now they are, unfortunately, the norm.

      I want to think this is not happening, but then again, at one time I thought none of those things I mentioned would ever happen in the US but here we are.

      I don't put anything past this Bush administration, and yes, things like this happen in those banana republics all the time.

      More will come out I am sure, until that time I, for one, can't say for certainty that this would never happen, how very sad, isn't it? America has been drug down to such a low level.

    •  It isn't coming from the Government (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankFrink, paul2port

      Rather, it was held in trust until the dispute was resolved.

      Therefore, it isn't coming from Canada directly.

      -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:33:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  More importantly, how would these funds go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintersnowman

      directly into the President's budget?  The President's budget is a line item in the Fed. Budget that has to be approved by Congress.

      It is not like the executive has a separate bank acct in which evildoers can deposit funds.

      The monies would have to go to the treasury and technically, isn't Congress supposed to hold the purse strings?

      I read the diary quickly and perhaps I need to go back and I haven't read the link but monies get shelled out to the GOP through the Faith-based BS and we know of the phoney non-profits.

      If corporations and individuals are limited in the amts. one can donate to political parties and candidates, how can another country donate to political parties.  That would allow other countries to control the US.

      Something seems hinky here to me and the most recent comments I recall reading from the diarist were a couple of really cold comments about not having any sympathy for any of the women who have died in this ugly mess some call war because they volunteered.

      Off to check other places but I have a lot more questions at this point than answers....

      PaintyKat

      PaintyKat

      I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

      by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 03:09:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't 'government' money (0+ / 0-)

        It is money that was held in trust while the tariffs were being negotiated.

        No oversight, no restrictions.  Sorry, this money is completely OUT of the cycle of overview.

        -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

        by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:17:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, I don't believe it is (0+ / 0-)

          Part of the monies is to be disbursed for meritorious projects and some is to be allotted to a benational group which part of it must be appointed by some US govt. officials.

          Those monies have to accountable.....

          Unless you can show me some documentation because these monies are taxes and tariffs.....Congress has the powers of taxation etc.

          PaintyKat

          I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

          by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 05:48:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're confused (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            paul2port

            the supposed binational group is the group that is supposed to determine what he meritorious projects. They are not two seperate recipients of duns.

            Cleary you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

            Learn more about this issue, which we and our media in Canada have been following for years, before you comment. You're way off the mark.

            The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

            by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:20:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Be more than happy to accept your apology (3+ / 0-)

              for unnecessary rudeness and esplain my comments pertain to US law and the Constitution and had nothing to do with Canadian journalists or citizens.  
              Further, I intended no offense to Canada or her people and my interest is from a budgetary aspect in the US.  

              Original research question for me: "Is this a private "slush fund" going to the President?" And I believe it is not and I also believe the escrow accounts have to go through the US treasury and the Fed.

              Though I am not currently working in the field, my specialization is in Public Administration with an emphasis in mgmt. As part of my grad program we had to tackle all levels of public sector budgetary processes.  

              The comments I've made are as a result of my readings of the primary documents and others' posting of same.  I haven't taken anything from any news articles or mags.  The binational industry council has nothing to do with meritorious projects.

              Pay particular attention to the last paragraph in which the One-Billion dollars is divided into $50 mil for binational industry council, there is an allotment of $450 mil for the meritorious projects, and $500 mil for the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports which is a US lobbying group for which I have included a partial membership list in another post below.

              However, from my reading of it, the deal (part 1) just before that says "The Parties shall encourage interested Persons in Canada and the United States to create the binational industry council described in Annex 13."

              Annex 13:

              THE NORTH AMERICAN INITIATIVE ON LUMBER

                1. The Parties seek through the SLA 2006 to promote increased cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian softwood lumber industries and to strengthen and expand the market for Softwood Lumber Products in both countries.

                2. To this end, the Parties shall encourage interested persons in Canada and the United
              States to establish before the Effective Date a binational industry council, which shall receive
              $US 50 million pursuant to Annex 2C.

                3. The objectives of the council shall include:

              (a) strengthening the North American lumber industry by increasing the market for its products; and
              (b) building stronger cross-border partnerships and trust at all levels of the industry

                4. The council shall consider initiatives to benefit the North American softwood lumber
              market, including:

              (a) expanding the market for wood products in the non-residential construction
              market;
              (b) developing new methods and markets for using wood in raised wood-floor
              systems;
              © promoting the use of wood in existing residential markets;
              (d) educating consumers on the sustainability of wood products to demonstrate their
              desirability as an environmentally preferable building and finishing material; and
              (e) promoting the use of wood in Green Building Standards.

              [...]

              From Annex 2C

              Canada or its agent shall distribute $US 1 billion pursuant to the Irrevocable Directions to
              Pay to the escrow accounts referred to in paragraph 4 in the following amounts: $US 500 million to the members of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, $US 50 million to the binational industry council, and $US 450 million for the meritorious initiatives account.

              [...]

               Dr. Wolfy Post

              My only intent has been to gather and present factual information so that we can make some kind of plan for damage control if it becomes necessary.  

              Rest assured, I will continue to learn about this issue and I will also discuss it when it comes up  because my references and comments are supported by documentation.

              I suggest we negotiate a peaceful solution since I believe we are actually on the same team and I am willing to forego an apology.

              Would suggest smoking of the peace pipe but we would both probably come under the eye of NSA more than we already are.

              Peace,
              PaintyKat

              I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

              by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:49:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Gotcha (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PaintyKat

                I've never said that I believe this is a slush fund or that it is being paid directly to Bush or to teh Republican Party.

                Yes, the diary's title is certainly incorrect factually. The diary itself, I also consider inelegant. There's a much better diary to be written on this issue because it deserves to be explored and most certainly followed, especially by those of you on the American side. I say that because there is absolutely we can do about it now from the Canadian side. Those of us on the progressive Canadian side of the blogosphere have always held the position that the NAFTA resolution process should have been respected and all monies collected returned to Canada. And as I've said, Canadians have followed this issue for years. Americans have been slow to pick up on it. It's not a sexy issue - it's a mundane trade issue. It's more important now than ever that you do pick up on the trail. And follow it. Something isn't right, and never has been right, about the deal.

                Now, having said all that, there's nothing in the text of the deal that indicates that there is congressional oversight or not. We just plain don't know the whole mechanics of how this council etc.. will operate. And a September 1, 2006 deadline? Also, to simply state that there absoultely is congressional oversight is as factually incorrect as the title of this diary. Money has been hidden out of site of Congress before. And money has found its way into political campaigns indirectly and surreptitiously in the past. There appears to be a very good possibility, based on the text, that this money could very easily be manipulated because there is so much we don't know.

                It almost screams potential abuse, for reasons many here have expressed. The scenarios they have presented are completely plausible. That's why it will be important to follow the trail very closely now. I hope you, and others here, do. There's not much we can do now on the Canadian side except talk about it.

                Gotcha now on the separation of money between the council and initiatives. Admitededly I had tossed the $50 million out-of-mind. Just saw that as the administrative costs for the council who will make the decisions on the initiatiaves. Mea culpa.

                And, I honestly didn't understand portions of your posts and appeared to me as if it reflected only a partial familiarity with a very longstanding (at least in Canada) issue. I would be very pleased to see you do a diary on this at some point because I really believe this needs to be followed closely.

                OK, I've has long day with very little real-life work accomplished. I need to get some food.

                The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

                by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:41:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think we all agree (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PaintyKat

                  that this is shady.

                  Kat has done some awesome research on who benefits from this deal (NOT the people of either country).

                  What is sad to me is that the malfeasance will get buried somehow, and people in both countries will not realize this for what it is, POLITICS

                  -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

                  by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:04:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  With Dubya's penchant for flubbing everything he (0+ / 0-)

                  touches it is almost guaranteed it will be screwed up.

                  But one of the things I thought might prove interesting which I want to go back and look more about is whether the other org. the AITwhatever (homebuilders) might be a rival group and if that won't be a thorn in Bushies side.

                  I read how they were protesting the deal and seeings how that damn lobby group gets $500 million to oversee in some fashion - who knows how that competition will play out.  Might prove interesting to watch both groups PR releases.

                  The binational group that is to receive the $50 billion in escrow hasn't even been selected/appointed yet have they?  And Bush has to have all appointments approved so I anticipate this will require legislative approval unless he does one of those weekend ramjobs.

                  Thanks for your response and I am far too tired by now to wade through it but I can assure that I am not interested in gotchas.....waste of time.  We can put our heads together and come up with a lot more fruitful efforts.

                  Peace,
                  PaintyKat

                  Just a painty kat - NOT that be meanie cat

                  by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:23:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Canada! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, lcbo, Pandoras Box

    I had my maple leaf gear all ready for vacation, but if that Harper guy is in power much longer I'm going to have to find some other non-Bush enabling english-speaking country to pretend to hail from...

    Don't you get it yet? It's not incompetence. It's been the plan all along to destroy America.

    by voltayre on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:53:07 AM PDT

  •  I'm so sick of this entire continent (6+ / 0-)
  •  Hello folks, apparently a lot of you missed (5+ / 0-)

    my hotlink at the bottom of my diary, but here it is one more time. Elliot Feldman's Report

    There's another article on this issue on Rabble. The Softwood Deal: A Broken Election Promise

  •  Here's a helpful link (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Maned Pensator, Wary

    ... because this diary isn't well sourced.  It's going on the word of one person's testimony and in my quick reading of websites I find NO mention of the possible $450 million payment to the Bush White House.  

    Here's the CBC's overview of the dispute:

    http://www.cbc.ca/...

    Have at it and we'll see if this claim holds any water.

    Interesting to note that the diary's writer is nowhere to be found in the comments (as of this writing) to back up the claims.  We need more sourcing/ news background stories!

    Why settle for the truth when you can have Truthiness???

    by wintersnowman on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:09:06 AM PDT

  •  Text of the agreement (21+ / 0-)

    here

    The controversial portion referred to in the article is at the top of page 12.

    "2.    By September 1, 2006, the United States, in consultation with Canada, shall identify meritorious initiatives to receive the funds that are to be set aside for that purpose under Annex 2C.  The funds shall support meritorious initiatives in the United States related to:
    (a) educational and charitable causes in timber reliant communities;
    (b) low-income housing and disaster relief; or
    © educational and public-interest projects addressing:
    (i) forest management issues that affect timber-reliant communities, or
    (ii) the sustainability of forests as sources of building materials, wildlife habitat, bio-energy, recreation, and other values."

    We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

    by Jon Ferguson on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:09:07 AM PDT

    •  This is what we need to settle this issue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaintyKat, theadmiral

      A first glance at the quoted portions seem less than worrisome.  The "United States" is a large entity; I don't see how we can interpret this as excluding Congress.

    •  Good info (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for that.

      Iraq was not about 9/11. And bin Laden is still free.

      by Naturegal on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:18:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      for providing that soure, it is quite helpful!

    •  Thank YOU!!! (7+ / 0-)

      However, from my reading of it, the deal (part 1) just before that says "The Parties shall encourage interested Persons in Canada and the United States to createthe binational industry council described in Annex 13."

      Annex 13:

      ANNEX 13
      THE NORTH AMERICAN INITIATIVE ON LUMBER

      1. The Parties seek through the SLA 2006 to promote increased cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian softwood lumber industries and to strengthen and expand the market for Softwood Lumber Products in both countries.
      1. To this end, the Parties shall encourage interested persons in Canada and the United

      States to establish before the Effective Date a binational industry council, which shall receive
      $US 50 million pursuant to Annex 2C.

      1. The objectives of the council shall include:

      (a) strengthening the North American lumber industry by increasing the market for its products; and
      (b) building stronger cross-border partnerships and trust at all levels of the industry

      1. The council shall consider initiatives to benefit the North American softwood lumber

      market, including:
      (a) expanding the market for wood products in the non-residential construction
      market;
      (b) developing new methods and markets for using wood in raised wood-floor
      systems;
      © promoting the use of wood in existing residential markets;
      (d) educating consumers on the sustainability of wood products to demonstrate their
      desirability as an environmentally preferable building and finishing material; and
      (e) promoting the use of wood in Green Building Standards.

      OK - so there is $50M of the $450.  Where's the rest?

      And here is the total distribution in black and white:

      From Annex 2C

      Canada or its agent shall distribute $US 1 billion pursuant to the Irrevocable Directions to
      Pay to the escrow accounts referred to in paragraph 4 in the following amounts: $US 500 million to the members of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, $US 50 million to the binational industry council, and $US 450 million for the meritorious initiatives account.

      So - what exactly IS the meritorious initiatives account?  I can't find it in the text.

      And here is Think Progress's take on it.

      -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:32:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  DrWolfy (6+ / 0-)

        That Think Progress link has to be more prominent here. It's the only US source I've found making this claim.

        Key paragraph:

        ThinkProgress contacted the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative. A spokesman said that he didn’t know if the White House would be involved in dispersing the funds or if Congress would be consulted, and was doubtful he would “be able to discern” this information in the future.

        The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

        by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:59:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a FUCKING OUTRAGE (6+ / 0-)

          This HAS to cost Harper SOMETHING.

          Bush is persona non-grata in Canada.  If it is known that this trade deal could benefit him greatly, there will be hell to pay.

          So, let's spell out old snake oil man (Harper) logic

          Cons and Libs closing in polls.
          Libs have no viable leader and therefore no desire for an election.
          Libs and NDP and Bloc would be outraged to know that the SLA helps Bush

          Hmmmm....  Better make this a confidence vote, so they won't dare oppose me.

          FUCKER>

          -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

          by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 01:19:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He knows how to play the game allright. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bionic, paul2port, fiddlingnero

            But it will backfire. There's an opt-out mechanism in the deal and I can foresee the US side making noises about pulling out of it within a year. That's when this deal backfires on Harper and as soon the next opportunity to vote them down in the House of Commons comes along they're out.

            Canadian Federal election sometime in mid-2007.

            The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

            by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 01:33:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  $500mil goes to DC lobbying group - (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankFrink, paul2port, DrWolfy

        Coalition for Fair Lumber Import

        Wiki listing....

        The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports is a lobby group in the United States that has protested against alleged

        subsidies the Government of Canada has given members of its pulp and paper industry.

         Wiki link

        Press release dtd. 8/22/06 from Coalition for Fair Lumber Import below.

         Coalition for Fair Lumber Import Press Release

        Another article is listed for the Globe and Mail

        [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v4/sub/MarketingPage?user_URL=http://www.thegl obeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FRTGAM.20060111.wsoftwoodd0111%2FBNStory%2FBusiness%2F&ord=115 6895940717&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true  Globe & M

        Members of U.S. lumber lobby exposed

        From Thursday's Globe and Mail

        Wednesday, January 11, 2006

        The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports has waged decades of trade war against Canada, but its membership has always been a closely held secret.

        Until now, that is.

        Wednesday, the coalition's Washington-based law firm inadvertently e-mailed a report of its recent public relations activities to journalists.

        The full text of this article has 443 words.

        Sure would like to see who belongs but it seems really strange right away that 500B would go to a lobbyist group.  Does that smell Abramoff or what?

        Of course, there is still the $50mil the binational industry council which I don't believe has been esta blished yet; and $US 450 million for the meritorious initiatives account.  Lots more work to do here but this is a start.

        Sure would like the full text of the Globe & Mail article and will go back and purchase it because I believe it was from Jan. 1, 2006 (fairly recent) which shows the members of the CFLI lobby group.

        PaintyKat

        I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

        by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:55:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the great research (0+ / 0-)

          You have done a great service to the cause.

          Doncha wish people would wake up and see that this is all about corporate welfare?

          -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

          by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:00:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But also important to scroll (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paul2port, DrWolfy

      over to page 55 and read what's in the Annex 2C referred to on page 12 - Article XIII(A). It still sound rather undefined and nebulous - 'meritorius initiatives'.

      I still can't tell from this document if this is really the 'final' draft.

      The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

      by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:08:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Everyone, please note this caution (5+ / 0-)

      But first, Jon, thanks for finding this.

      However, please note this from the DFAIT site regarding the link posted.

      NOTE: The pdf document is a revised version of the text initialled by the Minister of International Trade David Emerson and United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab in Geneva on July 1, 2006. The revisions are a result of a "legal scrub" of the July 1 text. Readers should note that the text is being posted exceptionally for information purposes only and that minor revisions are ongoing. In particular, both Canada and the United States continue to review the concordance of the English and French texts.

      It's not a final signed text.

      The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

      by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:11:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which version is the final text? (5+ / 0-)

      I've always found it very helpful when people provide links to the full text.

      However, in the discussion of this diary, I've gotten confused--there are links to texts that do not seem to be identical.

      Jon, I went to the full text to find the section you quote. It is in Article XIII, Institutional Arrangements, Part B, Private Initiatives.

      The section you quote from the full text you found is very similar to--but not identical to--the wording in the full text I found. The one I found is a PDF version from DFAIT, with a link from the BC Ministry of Forests to the "final legal text." However, I believe yours also was on the DFAIT website.

      For the part you mention, the wording is just changed in small ways.

      However, the Annex mentioned by others, on the softwood lumber council, is either Annex 12 or Annex 13, depending on which text of the agreement one is looking at. This may mean more significant variations. We might all be discussing slightly different versions of this Agreement.

      I don't have time right now to do more research to find out which is the "real" final text, but I'd like to alert readers to the possibility that disagreements may emerge if we're looking at different versions.

      Here is one additional resource, which I mention because they offer an annotated version of the agreement: American Consumers for Affordable Housing.

      Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! -- www.votefromabroad.org.

      by True North on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:14:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More info on final text (5+ / 0-)

        It looks like they have a "revised version" of the text that was initialed by Canada and the U.S. on July 1.

        The DFAIT notes that "minor revisions are ongoing" -- which means we should probably expect some more changes.

        The discussion here of the agreement can get confusing if different people are looking at different versions of the text.

        The latest "revised version" and the July 1, 2006 version, are both available on the DFAIT website.

        I think that Jon Ferguson's reference, above, was to the revised version, while mine was to the July 1 version. And that was enough to confuse me!

        Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! -- www.votefromabroad.org.

        by True North on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:24:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My god, people... (17+ / 0-)

    Don't just sit here and bitch about this being unsourced, go find another source. I'll show you--here's what TIME has to say, and their account looks to be in line with everything I've read in the article referenced and characterized here, except perhaps for the 'slush fund' characterization, which sounds like the personal opinion of a Washington insider--that, in an election year, this money could be used as a slush fund by the President. I see nothing to contradict that assertion, and I have no doubts that this President would do exactly that if he thought he could get away with it, whether it was technically legal or not. Which is why we have to watch him like a hawk, and call attention to this, both here and in Canada. But really, I don't see how anything has changed, except that we're all better off for having considered this possibility.

    •  THANK YOU. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb

      "We choose a foreigner to hate / The new Iraq gets more irate / We really know nothing about them, and no one cares." - Barenaked Ladies

      by PhantomFly on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:13:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been using Google to try and find a source (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, philipmerrill

      I wasn't just bitching.

      Iraq was not about 9/11. And bin Laden is still free.

      by Naturegal on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:14:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My thoughts exactly about Bush and Repubs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, PaintyKat, PhantomFly

      We've learned to always believe what we hear no matter how outrageous it is because we've been screwed so many times before!

    •  Been researching since I opened diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, dharmafarmer, paul2port, DrWolfy

      but the diarist has some responsibility to do research before posting the article and it makes sense that some documentation would be necessary other than news articles for this sum of monies and agreement between two major countries in North America.

      I have now located the partial list of membership for the DC lobbying group - U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports which was revealed only in Jan 2006 because it was always kept secret and guarded but an attorney mistakenly e-mail press releases to journalists with the membership list.  Good show......

      The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports has waged decades of trade war against Canada, but its membership has always been a closely held secret.
      Until now, that is.

      Wednesday, the coalition's Washington-based law firm inadvertently e-mailed a report of its recent public relations activities to journalists. And the intended recipients of the message are many of the key members of the coalition, including lumber companies, land brokers, as well as mergers-and-acquisition experts.

      "Everyone on that list is a member," acknowledged Harry Clark, a lawyer at Dewey Ballantine in Washington. "But that's not the membership list. It's just part of the membership."

      The list includes several large, mostly public, companies, long suspected to be active in the coalition. These include

      International Paper Co. of Stamford, Conn., Sierra Pacific Industries of Redding, Calif., Temple-Inland Inc. of Austin,

      Tex., Potlatch Corp. of Spokane, Ore., and Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. of Seattle, Wash.

      Also on list are officials at a clutch of large, private lumber companies from across the United States, including Seneca

      Sawmill Co. of Eugene, Ore., Stimson Lumber Co. of Portland, Ore., New South Cos. Inc. of Myrtle Beach, S.C.,

      Hampton Affiliates of Portland, Ore., Moose River Lumber Co. of Moose River, Me., Riley Creek of Laclede, Idaho,

      Shukualak Lumber of Shukualak, Miss., Gulf Lumber Co. of Mobile, Ala., Swanson Group Inc. of Glendale, Ore., and Tolleson Lumber of Perry, Ga. [...]

      The list also demonstrates that its membership extends beyond lumber mills. The e-mail recipients include Sullivan Forestry Consultants Inc., a Georgia-based timberland realtor, and Evercore Partners Inc., a mergers and acquisitions company.

      The coalition has steadfastly refused to disclose its members. For example, it filed the most recent lumber trade case in 2002 in the name of dozens of regional lumber industry associations and labour unions, not individual companies.

      But the coalition's key decision makers and financial backers have been its individual corporate members, according to a Canadian lumber industry official who declined to be named.

      [https://secure.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060111.wsoftwoodd0111/PPVStory  Link]

      PaintyKat

      I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

      by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 05:37:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I posted a list of those members from a different (0+ / 0-)

        source here at Dkos back on Feb. 8, 2006. Click here.

        The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

        by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:09:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Find Center for Public Integrity useful (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FrankFrink, DrWolfy

          to follow lobbying, pharma, telecom and media ownerships, personal finance, and congressional travel.  

          This site helps me track ongoing issues which have proven important in the last few years.  

          Included it since you mentioned in one of your posts about lacking source for tracking corp. donations.  They have an email list - reminders on current work.

          Heck, I could have saved a whopping 4.95 had I known about your previous post of the Globe/Mail article.  Oh, well.

           Center Public Integrity

          PaintyKat

          Just a painty kat - NOT that be meanie cat

          by PaintyKat on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 11:54:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Can we call it extortion? (8+ / 0-)

    This is the result of letting corporations write laws. Corporations would rather extort payoffs under cover of 'free trade', 'fair trade' or 'trade policy' than actually produce a product and sell it at a fair price. They have purposely bought their WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA trade pacts and made sure that all disputes are decided in secret by hand-picked lackeys. So it's no surprise that this WH would secretly pocket the payoff.

    The same reasoning is behind the various Kelo-inspired initiatives that Howard Rich is buying onto this fall's election ballots in so many states. The idea is to extort reimbursement for 'lost income' out of the state and local governments in order to violate zoning laws. sandlapper is keeping track of this, and Rich's other big initiative TABOR. This diary: CA-Init: Prop 90 Does More Damage than Eminent Domain by UTBrianci explains the 'eminent domain' scam for what it is really intended: forcing the gutting of governmental regulation.

    •  In the US we call (0+ / 0-)

      that extortion that the government has to pay private property owners and corporations to ensure enviornmental laws, etc, we call that 'takings' that the government is 'taking' the full rights away from those entities.

      To me it's just another Orwellian use of the word because, in fact, it is those entities who are taking the government, meaning the citizens.

      •  Aren't takings when the property is taken (0+ / 0-)

        Remediation is the term for cleaning up environmental hazards etc and property owners are blocked from selling property once it has been identified as polluted.

        In this area and I believe it is Fed. environmental audits must be performed on any commercial property before its sale or closing.

        Guess I am familiar with takings for public use in its broadest sense, but are you suggesting the govt. now takes private property and defines the remediation as public use?  Or are there environmental regulations that can be used for takings?

        PaintyKat

        I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

        by PaintyKat on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:35:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  how much money and power do they want????? (0+ / 0-)
  •  if the "opposition parties" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, FrankFrink, StrayCat, paul2port

    are livid about this, then why are they continuing to prop up Harper's government? They, together, represent a majority of Parliament, don't they?

    •  the liberal party isn't ready for an election (7+ / 0-)

      They're under an acting leader right now, which makes it hard to fully unite around a platform - there are about 10 people vying for the job, each with different ideas about where to take the party policy wise.

      Though, harper did lose a lot of popularity up here by unreservedly supporting Israel in the Lebananon war.  Cons and the Liberals are back even in the polls, even without a proper Liberal leader.

      Anyway, that's mostly why the Liberals may want to avoid an election.

      Changing French Fries to Freedom Fries was arguably this Republican Congress' biggest achievement. - Stephen Colbert

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:35:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think of it like a card game. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, allpaintedcold, paul2port

      Poker.

      The Consrevatives are bluffing - making the forthcoming parliamentary vote a matter of confidence means that an election comes across as a national referendum on this single issue. And that's not enough for the leaderless Liberals to forge into battle.

      The other players reactions.

      NDP - calling all in (they will vote against it) but without enough chips in play to make any gain.

      The Bloq Quebecois is checking. Due largely to the Lebanon flap and subsequent fall in Quebec support for teh Conservatives the BQ is no longer so inclined to support Harper but is loathe to tip their hand immediately. They will likely vote against, but there are not enough votes between BQ and NDP to bring Harper down.

      That leaves the Liberals. Currently checking but do not have a strong enough hand (i.e. leaderless and without clear party policy on a nuimber of issues) at the moment to stay in play. They will eventually fold. Well, fold somewhat. What I can see is teh Liberals making taking a free vote approach within their caucus. This will allow Liberal MP's in ridings with significant lumber ties to vote against it leaving the rest of their members to vote with the government.

      So, the bill passes. But look to the SLA to backfire on Harper is less than a year - I figure 6 to 8 months. By that time the Liberals have a new leader in place, have solidified their platform, and they can find another issue or issues with which to bring Harper down.

      Federal election in mid-2007.

      The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

      by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 01:29:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only Nit I have with the title (7+ / 0-)

    is that it makes it sound like Canada was complicit in the deal.

    A better title is "America pockets $1B of illegally acquired money" (this is per WTO and other rulings AGAINST the DoC for illegal tarrifs.

    And, $450M goes straight into the pockets of the powers that be, and $500M right into the pockets of the lobbyists that got the initial tarrifs passed.

    Basically Canada got screwed (again) and this time the PM is complicit.

    -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:46:36 AM PDT

    •  Canada's Neocon Prime Minister Stephen Harper (10+ / 0-)

      is an even more pathetic, grovelling Bush-lackey swine than Bush's other Poodle, Blair. As opposition leader prior to becoming PM, he shouted out "Shame, Shame" in the House, when it was announced that Canada would not participate in the Iraq attack. Since he took office, he's boosted Canada's contribution to the Afghanistan atrocity, where they now slaughter and are being slaughtered, and put them under American command,.

    •  Harper is not "Canada," unless Bush is "America" (9+ / 0-)

      Thank you for distinguishing between a corrupt government and its people--many of whom oppose Harper's shenanigans with all their hearts. You and I would certainly feel better knowing that world can distinguish between George Bush and "America." Plenty of Canadians despise this deal (see journalism cited in comments above), and they despise Harper's Bush-lite style of governance.

      "He that knew all that learning ever writ/Knew only this - that he knew nothing yet"

      by aphra behn on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:07:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You feel our pain (5+ / 0-)

      We have been screwed from day one with this racist conservative fool. There was a price for the ascent to power of religious right wing conservatism that occured in Canada. It came in like the tidal wave that swept America. Do not think that we are not going to pay a steep price for it. We are witnessing the selling out of Canadian interests in exchange for past favors now. It will only get worse, IMHO.

      There is a proud tradition of Canadian Liberal PMs telling republicans Presidents to go f*** theselves on war issues. We all miss that terribly. Until we get our act together here, expect nothing but Republican style BS from north of the border. We are suffering ever bit as much as Americans; we are all in this together.

      •  Yes, indeed. (5+ / 0-)

        Although Jean Chretien was something of a rogue in many ways I was never prouder of him than when he refused to traipse along on Bush's coattails and join the Iraq adventure.

        One of the all time classic stories of Canadian politics was when the Nixon tapes revealed Nixon calling Pierre Trudeau an asshole. Trudeau's response was "I've been called worse things by better people."

        "Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear" Wm. Gladstone

        by lcbo on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 02:05:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bionic, paul2port

        don't be expecting Ignatieff to criticize Bush if he becomes leader of the Liberal Party.  Still waiting for him to do the intellectually honest thing and admit he was wrong in enabling Bush to go into Iraq.  With Ignatieff, the Liberals are going to lurch so far to the right on foreign policy it will be hard to distinguish between them and the Conservatives.  That's  a much bigger danger, IMHO, and will make Canada's turn to the right in foreign policy permanent.

  •  Are there any sources... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to the text of the agreement and information about this fund that is being alleged to be the reception of the money?

    Seems to me that any moneys received as settlement would have to be under control of Congress, not the administration.

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

    Republicans believe in training Al-Qaeda, but not in training American workers.

    by Lestatdelc on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:49:11 AM PDT

  •  Shameful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg

    I'm utterly ashamed of my country and gov't.

    Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall: And universal Darkness buries All.

    by Dunciad on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:50:00 AM PDT

  •  Wow (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Bionic, Kingsmeg, paul2port

    Anybody think this could cause the Harper government to fall? The Conservatives only have a minority government and have been sharing power with the Bloc...

    •  Unfortunately no. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, paul2port

      Liberals are leaderless and have no appetite for an election now.

      It will be different 6 to 8 months down the road, when they have a new leader and the mechanisms within the SLA come back to bite the Conservatives in the ass. Lumber prices are going down, housing market in the US appears to be in recession. If that happens soon all of a sudden Canadian lumber producers are paying tariffs and duties again...

      Harper continues to govern until then.

      The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

      by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:30:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's another concern (8+ / 0-)

    Who tracks/audits/etc. where this money is actually spent?  

    The text says that the uses must be determined by Sept 1/2006.  

    So - my VERY REAL CONCERN is that this money just vanished and no one will know HOW it was spent.

    -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:01:19 PM PDT

    •  Short deadline for so much money...! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankFrink, Wary, philipmerrill

      Sets off alarms here - Take a lot of money and spend* it in a few days (*determine the uses).  Hmmm...

    •  Or Money will be promised (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, philipmerrill

      to where it will help the Republican Party get more bang for the buck come Nov Election--nothing like a huge community 'promise' for big bcks to buy a whole lot of political love.

    •  My bet is the Repubs already (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, FrankFrink, philipmerrill, DrWolfy

      know where it is going to get the most votes--these guys don't miss one trick!

      Just look at the 'deal' they worked out with Canada, while we are talking about $450 million--the Bush administration must repay $4 billion in punitive taxes extracted from Canada BUT Canada won't receive ANY of those funds, no indeed,  --from the diary:

      Although Washington has finally agreed to return $4-billion of the more than $5-billion in punitive duties that it has collected from logging companies over the past four years, that money will go to the giant trans-national and American logging corporations such as Weyerhaeuser for example, which are out there, destroying Canada's forests. Canadian taxpayers will get zilch, and so apparently, will Americans

      It should be of great interest and concern to all Democrats and to all Americans that Canada has apparently become the primary financier of Republican election campaigns in the upcoming November elections

  •  Let's see what (or if) the media reports (4+ / 0-)

    on this based on the apparent Septmeber 1, 2006 deadline to determine these 'meritorious initiatives'. May have to do some more digging.

    The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

    by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:37:47 PM PDT

  •  As a Canadian (7+ / 0-)

    I must say I am firmly outraged by this. It's a 3 fold attack on sovereignty in north america and a travesty if this is let stand.

  •  This is a credible worry (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Wary, philipmerrill, DrWolfy

    $450 million for a new group set up by the executive branch to dispense to their charitable projects with very loose constraints, those supportable clauses are very vague, is a Republican pork barrel fund.

    Canada should reject this deal and our media should look into it.  Although I do have to laugh a bit about our media finding anything the White House doesn't hand them on a platter with their spin.

    This new group will reward friends of the GOP and could easily time gifts for political purposes.

  •  Friday dump day = Sept. 1st, 2006 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink, tarheelblue, daMule, DrWolfy

    WARNING - this whole diary might be a waste of time. Sometimes "move along, nothing to see here" is good advice.

    BUT - with all the patriotic vacationing this long Labor Day weekend, who wants to put a beam in their eye about softwood? Why do you hate LABOR? Is this more liberal self-hate, desperately disgracing themselves with wild wild internally inconsistent allegations of what what...Don't you have work on Tuesday? Do you have a job?

    In other words, the deadline for this whole deal is one of the best days of the year to have a news story die!

    PHIL :)

  •  asking for the media to investigate this is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DrWolfy

    a joke .. somehow, I suspect most of this is headed right for media coffers {political campaign ads, anyone?} ..

  •  Posted a diary on this last April (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueInARedState, DrWolfy

    here. Glad to see it's getting more attention. It does stink.

    ...but for three years I had roses and I apologized to nobody.

    by sagesource on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 03:41:45 PM PDT

  •  An example of how this can be abused (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bionic, FrankFrink, paul2port, DrWolfy

    Here is some of the $50M part

    The council shall consider initiatives to benefit the North American softwood lumber
    market, including:
    (a) expanding the market for wood products in the non-residential construction
    market;
    (b) developing new methods and markets for using wood in raised wood-floor
    systems;
    © promoting the use of wood in existing residential markets;
    (d) educating consumers on the sustainability of wood products to demonstrate their
    desirability as an environmentally preferable building and finishing material; and
    (e) promoting the use of wood in Green Building Standards.

    They set up some phony marketing company to "Promote the Use of Wood" (do we really need anyone to promote the use of wood ?) that company then donates to 527 groups and directly to republican candidates. The only reason I can see for the Sept 1 deadline is so that they can make it happen in time for November and so fast that no one will be able to make a big enough stink in time to do anyting about it.

  •  Updates from Canadian Media (6+ / 0-)

    These all the same thing:

    Consumer groups in the U.S. said Monday they are hopeful the Canadian federal government will force significant changes to what they are calling a "bad deal with Canada."

    The American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH) - whose members represent 95 per cent of U.S. lumber consumption - said they are shocked by the aspects softwood lumber deal, which would force Canadian companies to pay a billion dollars of duties back into two U.S. funds.

    Susan Petniunas, a spokesperson for the ACAH, said one fund would be paid out to a small portion of the U.S. lumber industry, which the other would be a "meritorious fund" which the Bush Administration could use at its discretion without Congress approval.

    CBC

    Yahoo Business News

    Toronto Star

    Halifax Chronicle Herald

    A more significant quote from Susan Petrunias in an article atCNW Telbec, the most frequently used and most widely accessed full-text news release site in Canada (they've been around since 1960), which says:

    Petniunas added that ACAH is shocked at the creative accounting system the Administration has designed to force Canadian companies to pay a billion dollars of duties collected since 2001 back into two funds a half-billion dollars each in duties collected since 2001.  Half would be paid out to a small portion of the U.S. industry, giving them the ability to buy up smaller competitors or force them  out of business.  She said that this action also will add to the instability of the domestic market.

       The other half-billion dollars will go to a discretionary fund that the Administration can use as it sees fit for what it calls "meritorious
    programs".  The funds apparently will be off-budget and not have any Congressional oversight, and doled out any way the Bush Administration wants. "If there is any legal basis for this creative way to circumvent the U.S. Treasury -- which we do not believe there is -- and the two governments want to force Canadian firms to contribute a percentage of the illegally collected duties into these two funds, we would urge the government to spent the entire billion dollars on affordable housing, specifically focused on rebuilding the Gulf Coast," Petniunas said.

    So, yep, I'd have to now say that there really is something to the story outlined in this diary.

    The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

    by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:08:21 PM PDT

  •  As the CBC says... To Sum Up (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alyosha, Bionic, drag0n, FrankFrink, paul2port
    1. $450 Million to "meritorious projects" that are as of now unspecified.
    1. Who specifies?  Well, some "committee" appointed by whom?  Harper and Bush (speculation, but seems reasonable)
    1. CBC says "The Bush administration could use at its discretion without Congress (sic) approval"
    1. CNW Telbec says "The funds apparently will be off-budget and not have any Congressional oversight, and doled out any way the Bush Administration wants."

    So - what's the truth here?  I don't know, I haven't seen anyone DENY that the Bushista will use this however they want.

    Can we now Rec this diary?

    -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:24:39 PM PDT

  •  The integration (0+ / 0-)

    of the Greater North American Union has started. Bush and Harper's wet dream.  Perhaps Reid should firmly suggest to the press that the money be used for Katrina reconstruction. Lets hear Bush give excuses why that money shouldnt be used for something like that just before the midterms.

  •  Here's my conspiracy theory (0+ / 0-)

    <tinfoil>
    Remember a couple months back when there was a story about the Republican party exaggerating how much money they made at some fundraiser? (sorry - for the life of me I can't find a link now)  Well, I wouldn't be surprised if this money just started magically appearing in RNC bank accounts to make up the difference between the money they actually raise and the money the claim to raise at these fundraisers.
    </tinfoil>

  •  Part of a long term Canadian strategy? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paul2port

    How about this:

    1. Canada props up Republicans, leading to continued Republican government
    1. Said Republican government continues to turn the US into a fascist theocracy
    1. 'Brain drain' from the US to Canada as those with the education, means, and disposition to flee the anti-science, anti-freedom, fascist state that the US has become do so
    1. Canada prospers

    I'm on to you, you sneaky Cannucks.

    It turns out that Bush IS a uniter... he united the intelligent half of the country virulently against him.

    by fizziks on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:21:12 PM PDT

    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah - there is a great exodus of intellectuals fleeing the US.  It's all a great scam to get all the smart people up here...  

      /snark.

      Hey, I'm here...  :)

      -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by DrWolfy on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:15:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well if it's going to the Repubs, (0+ / 0-)

    let's all hope it was only $450 Canadian dollars.

  •  Complete Assumption (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink

    This is a reactionary instead of logical look at the situation.

    Yes, the way these funds can be used could be negative but, according to the wording, it is to be used in the best interest of the nation.  It is completely up to the American administration if they adhere to their "word" and the letter of the agreement.  Canada has no power in any situation to pressure and or strong arm the US government to adhere to their word.  If this were so, there would have never been a  Soft Lumber issue.

    To say that Harper intentionally signed this deal to purposefully fund the republican government is at the very least conspiratorial.  There is no proof of such and according to the letter of the contract, no intention.

    I am not dismissing that this may be the case but presently there is nothing to point to it.

    Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

    by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:31:57 PM PDT

    •  It's very simple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankFrink

      Canadian politicians are experts at establishing slush funds. They have been at it for years - releasing vast sums of money to politically sensitive areas prior to an election - and hopefully, reaping electoral awards to build their presence in the house.

      All the republicans need to do is appoint the right people to their non-profit group, go around to small communties touting the wonderfull things they have done for working class communities and voila! slush fund.

      The naysayers here are naive indeed.

      Hands across the border! Yay!

      •  Facts... (0+ / 0-)

        Re-read the post.  I am not a naysayer.  I am commenting on the diary and the facts presented,  not a conpiratorial idea nor on a projection on the administration's interpretation of the law.

        I said that according to the diary and the interpretation of the test one cannot draw the conclusion that

        Canada Forks Over $450 Million Donation to Repugs

        This statement is a complete lie. As said in my above diary, regardless of what contract the US and Canada signs, Canada has no control over how the monies are used.  Which in essence is the crux of this diary.

        Further, your statement

        Canadian politicians are experts at establishing slush funds

        has no relevance as these monies are not "slush fund" monies.  These monies will not be comming from the coffers of the government but, in essence it would be the witholding of finds due to Canada.

        Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

        by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:10:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My statement has a great deal of relevence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FrankFrink, Sleeps in Trees

          considering that there are strong ties between republican political operatives and Harper operatives. In some cases - the same people.

          I hope Americans keep an eye on this. I really do.

          •  Relevance (0+ / 0-)

            Concerning stong ties, I agree with you.  Not relevance concerning the "slush funds" red herring you previously stated.  

            After the fear mongering, conspiracy theories, media frenzied, terror warning barage that the US has been burdened with I am trying to the best of my ability to stick with reality and facts.  Those that pertain to this specific diary and the specific accusations the diarist made.

            The aforementioned MO may be the only way that both Americans and Canadians can keep their eye on the ball.  Unless we overlook the rhetoric and sustain a "reality based" factual look at the situation we as liberals will be given the same meme as the US "moonbats".

            Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

            by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:28:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In Canada (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sleeps in Trees

              "Slush Funds" are a big part of politics. Much like pork is in the USA. I am simply suggesting that Americans would do well to keep an eye on this story. Quite frankly, if the story was reversed journalists here would be all over it.

              I am not an American. I live in the reality based community known as Canada. We think the shit on CNN every day is a sad joke.

              Keep an eye on this that is all I am saying... maybe the republican operatives who were obviously instrumental in concocting this disgracefull deal which saw the Harper government give away the store learned something while they were up here.

              Who is appointing the members of this non-profit anyway?

              •  err thanks for the schooling (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                drag0n

                but, I am a Canadian too.  

                Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

                by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:06:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In that case (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sleeps in Trees

                  I find it hard to believe that you would be the least bit surprised if these funds turned out to be used for the political ambitions of the administration. Esp. in the case of the Bush administration, which has remade much of Americas upper bureaucracy in its image - to the point of sacrificing its own national security and destroying a sovereign country.

                  The diary proves nothing but Americans should definitely keep an eye on that fund as it is rooted in a suspicious deal made by suspicious people at a time when Americans really do need to start being suspicious of their government. I am happy the poster posted it and I hope there are follow ups.

                  Quite frankly - the entire softwood lumber agreement is politically based and every aspect of it should be met with a healthy skepticism.

                  •  These are sneaky motherfuckers n/t (0+ / 0-)
                  •  Didn't say I was suprised (0+ / 0-)

                    I have no idea why you would think I would or would not be surpised about anything.  You have continually based your remarks on what you suppose I am or think.

                    My personal feelings about this subject have been minimally  stated and I have looked at the facts and commented on such.

                    The statement of yours I do agree with is

                    The diary proves nothing but Americans should definitely keep an eye on that fund as it is rooted in a suspicious deal made by suspicious people at a time when Americans really do need to start being suspicious of their government

                    The diarist would have been wise to place this in the diary instead of stating the situation at hand as fact.  Say it is it lays - "It looks underhanded, I have no proof, but my gut tells me something underhanded is afoot."

                    Unfortunately in this diary it was written as fact with  proof where there presently is none.  Nor any legalities presented.   Therein is my problem as per my previously written posts.  We must deal with facts to keep us relevent in the political arena.

                    Thank you for the discourse but, I must hit the hay.  Last week of summer holidays for the little guys and the PNE is a calling.   Hopefully we will run into each other again. :-)

                    Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

                    by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:51:11 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Extensive analysis of the text of the agreement (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      FrankFrink, DrWolfy

                      here.

                      I believe there is a prima facie case that it's a slush fund. What else would you call it?

                      The bottom line is simple: The terms of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada will give Bush complete control of an escrow account with $450 million in it, controlled by a board that Bush appoints, and which can be used for any purpose whatever, with no Congressional oversight.

                      Canadians may be used to order and good government, but  we're dealing with DISorder and bad government -- positively lords of misrule.

                      I think it's unfortunate that posters here are debunking the poster for bringing this to their attention, instead of doing more research to see if there is a case.

                      Anyone who isn't outraged isn't paying attention.

                      by lambertstrether on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 10:16:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Technically not quite true (0+ / 0-)

          The entire $5B stolen from Canada is being handed back to the Canadian government which will turn around and hand $1B of it back to the US government.  This means that the money does actually come from the coffers of government. It would probably also be illegal to use any of it for election purposes as per the discussions up thread since it would no longer be monies retained by the US gov. from the duties but monies sent to it as part of the "deal".

          •  Thanks for checking in. (0+ / 0-)

            Just noticed that it's been posted over at http://www.pogge.ca<a</a> href="http://www.pogge.ca">pogge.ca.

            Didn't realize that was the case - it goes to the Canasian Treasury and then $1 billion back to the US Treasury? I didn't see that in the document posted at DFAIT. Or is that process part of another, monetary, treaty?

            The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

            by FrankFrink on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:47:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Got it now - ANNEX 2C, clauses 4 and 5: (0+ / 0-)

            ASSIGNMENT OF CASH DEPOSITS AND DISBURSEMENT OF PAYMENTS

            1. At least 30 days before the Effective Date, the United States shall provide Canada or its agent with information identifying three separate escrow accounts whose beneficiaries are respectively:

            (a) the members of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports;

            (b) a binational industry council described in Annex 13; and

            © meritorious initiatives in the United States identified by the United States in consultation with Canada as described in Article XIII(A).

            1. Canada or its agent shall distribute $US 1 billion pursuant to the Irrevocable Directions to Pay to the escrow accounts referred to in paragraph 4 in the following amounts: $US 500 million to the members of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, $US 50 million to the binational industry council, and $US 450 million for the meritorious initiatives account.

            The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

            by FrankFrink on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 08:11:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ding Ding Ding (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankFrink

              Give the man a cupie doll.

              That is the key language.

              And don't you just love mini-me (Harper) is going to make this a confidence vote, hoping that the liberals aren't ready for an election.

              -6.5, -7.59. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

              by DrWolfy on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 07:13:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Unfortunately it appears (0+ / 0-)

                that the Bloq Quebecois will support it, not because they wish to prop up Harper but because they are 'Quebec First'. Someone has leaked info that the Quebec industry voted 157-3 in favour of the deal.

                So even if the NDP and Liberals both vote no, the combined Conservative and Bloq votes allow it to pass.

                Tomorrow is supposed to be 'announcing the meritorious initiatives' day. Sure to be a late Friday afternonn news dump.

                Keeping my eye on it, though.

                The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

                by FrankFrink on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 11:01:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry about the spelling (0+ / 0-)

        really bad day with the contacts.  ;)

        Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

        by Sleeps in Trees on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:11:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rivals Dubai Ports fiasco (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drag0n

    Thanks for doing the research on thie important posting.

  •  SLA with commentary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink

    Anyone who isn't outraged isn't paying attention.

    by lambertstrether on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 12:27:51 AM PDT

    •  That's very well put together. (0+ / 0-)

      Awesome. Thanks for bringng it over.

      The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

      by FrankFrink on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 08:14:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, this could be the biggest story of all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankFrink

        $450 million is a lot of money! I think the sheer scale of it makes people resist it.

        Please, let's keep pushing on this. It seems like skepticism on this thread gave the ideas a real workout and straightened out the issues with the original sourcing.

        As always, God is in the details, and the details here are in the text of the agreement -- as well as well-founded skepticism about administration behaviors.

        I think the unrecommendations, as the skepticism worked itself out, may have hurt this diary, and that's unfortunate.

        Anyone who isn't outraged isn't paying attention.

        by lambertstrether on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 11:24:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Canadians agree: It's a slush fund (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink

    Canadians agree: "It's a slush fund"

    Bob Rae of the Canadian NDP back in July:

    Rae said the deal means the White House will effectively get nearly a half-billion dollars to spend as it sees fit.

    "It's kind of a presidential slush fund that's being given to them."

    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

    The Bush White House cut (to use for aid projects as it sees fit) is nothing less than a huge slush fund for the upcoming Congressional elections--an unprecedented campaign gift from the Harper government to the Republican re-election bid, paid for by the Canadian lumber industry.

    See analysis of the text of the agreement here, if you don't believe them, or me.

    Anyone who isn't outraged isn't paying attention.

    by lambertstrether on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 11:42:19 AM PDT

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