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DEMOCRATS VOW TO FIGHT FREE TRADE

Will Big Talkers Own Up to Rhetoric And Rein in Greedy Globalists?

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By Mark Anderson

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and several freshmen senators recently met to share their concerns over U.S. trade policies. They are rallying around the message in Dorgan’s hard-nosed book, entitled Take This Job and Ship It. The book examines rampant job losses under internationalist free trade policies but also includes proposed solutions to the nation’s downward economic spiral.

When AFP picked up this story Jan. 30, President Bush reportedly was on the brink of asking Congress to again grant him so-called “fast track” authority for negotiating trade deals with foreign nations. To regain that authority, Bush needs Congress to vote to give him license to negotiate trade pacts—without meaningful legislative oversight.

Congress could only vote up or down on any negotiated pacts, without being able to amend them.

The fast track status granted to Bush several years ago carries a “sunset” provision and is approaching expiration. Bush is seeking an extension before it expires.

These developments were shared with American Free Press at Dorgan’s office, when his assistant, Elizabeth Gore, met with Kansas resident and activist Abner Deatherage, a retired U.S. agricultural foreign service worker who for decades has traveled extensively and has some experience in the oil industry. Deatherage is informed about key issues and has been taking his concerns to Capitol Hill.

Deatherage was featured recently in AFP’s story about his National Grassroots Demonstration, which involves activating an extensive phone/fax network of union and farm group leaders, other members of such groups, and individuals, all of whom share strong concerns about the nation’s future—especially regarding job losses, dependency on foreign oil, and stemming the tide of illegal aliens crashing the southern border.

 “We’ve got plenty of oil in this country,” Deatherage told Gore.

AFP accompanied Deatherage to meet Gore on Jan. 30. As Deatherage and Gore discussed U.S. job losses and energy issues, she noted that Dorgan had met with freshman Democratic senators such as Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, James Webb of Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Moreover, another newcomer, Sen. Ben Cardin, is known as a free trader, but Gore said he is looking at the issue more closely.

Gore indicated that with the president’s low public approval rating, the state of the economy, public opinion trends and the changes in the legislature since the November elections, this is the right time to rethink U.S. trade policies.

“CAFTA [Central American Free Trade Agreement] passed last year, but it was a close vote,” Gore noted. The senators’ concerns over current trade policies and the related job losses, however, cross party lines. Gore noted that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) shares similar concerns because his state’s once-vibrant textile industry has hit the skids. Deatherage also plans to take these and other issues to House Republicans Ron Paul of Texas, Tom Tancredo of Colorado and others.

Deatherage told AFP after the Jan. 30 meeting that some basic matters that are fundamental to his work on Capitol Hill include the following:

America must pursue energy independence by uncapping existing domestic oil wells and drilling new ones, along with encouraging wider use of alternative fuels. He also supports the concept behind a bill he said Dorgan introduced in 2005 regarding windfall profits, which contains incentives for domestic oil production.

The United States must also incorporate so-called absolute advantage trade policy, which means that America should only import what it cannot make (or grow) itself and export those things that other nations cannot manufacture or grow. Due to climate, for example, America imports coffee and bananas, and the nations that produce those crops receive American hardwoods that do not grow near the equator.

As author, trade specialist and former General Motors executive Gus Stelzer has repeatedly noted, this idea was favored by classic economist Adam Smith, whose famed book, The Wealth of Nations, is wrongly considered the bible of modern-day free traders, when, in fact, it supports tariffs and other nationalistic measures that free traders oppose.

Any U.S. senator can be reached via the switchboard, 202-224-3121.
To contact Byron Dorgan, write to 322 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. Phone: 202-224-2551; fax: 202-224-1193. His Bismarck district office number is 701-250-4618; or in Grand Forks call 701-746-8972. His email is senator@dorgan.senate.gov.

(Issue #7, February 12, 2007)

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Updated February 3, 2007

 

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