So, George Bush took the advice of most Republican public relations pros and changed the subject away from Karl Rove's possible felony; that should have been expected.
But there is another subject that will affect your daily life far, far, more than whether a CIA case officer was "outed" and far, far, more than your "right to choose".
Sure, you'll hear the opposite from the NARAL and planned parenthood fund raising gang. And the DNC will tell you that Valerie Plame's identity was the greatest state secret since the Manhattan Project. But what neither party is telling you is that you're about to get screwed with your pants on. And both parties have a hand in it. If they're lucky, you won't pay any attention.
(More below the fold).
This week, the House of Reprentatives will receive the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or "CAFTA", for consideration. And Republicans and their counterparts across the aisle -- both of whom are in the tank for corporate contributors -- are more than happy that their actions aren't being noticed.
CAFTA is just the first of a whole host of Latin American trade agreements the Bush Administration hopes to pass on behalf of companies like Levi's, Tommy Hilfigger, and the rest of the "sweatshop mafia". If it passes, the Bush Administration is set to drive full bore into a heavy round of new trade negotiations in Latin America -- and will be hoping to score on the Doha Round of the WTO, too.
None of these trade agreements do anything to assist workers -- either those who are displaced in the US or those who are shamelessly exploited in the developing nations. There is no provision that requires signatory countries to adopt US-style labor or environmental standards; no provision (beyond the minimimally enforced International Labor Organization standards) to allow workers in developing countries to organize and collectively bargain; and, most substantially, no provision to prohibit "one-off" market exploitation. (One-off market exploitation occurs when a third country, not a party to the treaty, manufactures goods in a signatory country to exploit the market of the more developed country. Mercedez-Benz and Sony, for example, moved most of their new manufacturing for the US market to Mexico once NAFTA was passed. The result was that Mercedes and Sony made more profits, Americans lost the new job growth, and Mexican workers got low-paying, low-skilled jobs without much chance for advancement; far less than they would if a Mexican manufacturer sold cars and TV's to the US.)
This fight is coming up this summer. The bill will be introduced this week, and Congress has two weeks to act on it. That means, it will be first on the agenda after the August recess (or possibly even sooner.)
Let your Congressional representative know you don't like NAFTA -- and you sure as hell don't like NAFTA on steroids.