Saturday, February 21, 2009

Remembering The Past Is A Key To The Present

As you know no doubt know, Obama just took his first big trip abroad as president ... to Ottawa. That got me to thinking - it has been almost a year since Canadian TV reported that Obama's aide, Austan Goolsbee, was assuring Canada that NAFTA was safe and sound, despite Obama's campaign promises to renegotiate NAFTA while campaigning in the Rust Belt. Remember that? If you need a refresher, here it is:

Obama campaign mum on NAFTA contact with Canada
. Despite repeated requests, Barack Obama's campaign is still neither verifying nor denying a CTV report that a senior member of the team made contact with the Canadian government -- via the Chicago consulate general -- regarding comments Obama made about NAFTA.

- Snip -

On Wednesday, CTV reported that a senior member of Obama's campaign called the Canadian government within the last month -- saying that when Senator Obama talks about opting out of the free trade deal, the Canadian government shouldn't worry. The operative said it was just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously.

The Obama campaign told CTV late Thursday night that no message was passed to the Canadian government that suggests that Obama does not mean what he says about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated.

However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama's senior economic adviser -- Austan Goolsbee -- and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.

Earlier Thursday, the Obama campaign insisted that no conversations have taken place with any of its senior ranks and representatives of the Canadian government on the NAFTA issue. On Thursday night, CTV spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation with the Canadian government office in Chicago. He also said he has been told to direct any questions to the campaign headquarters.

During a candidates' debate Tuesday, both Democratic party leadership contenders -- Obama and Hillary Clinton -- suggested they would opt out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if core labour and environmental standards weren't renegotiated.

- Snip -

On Thursday, the Canadian embassy in Washington issued a complete denial.

"At no time has any member of a presidential campaign called the Canadian ambassador or any official at the embassy to discuss NAFTA," it said in a statement.

But on Wednesday, one of the primary sources of the story, a high-ranking member of the Canadian embassy, gave CTV more details of the call. He even provided a timeline. He has since suggested it was perhaps a miscommunication.

The denial from the embassy was followed by a denial from Senator Obama.

"The Canadian government put out a statement saying that this was just not true, so I don't know who the sources were," said Obama.

Sources at the highest levels of the Canadian government -- who first told CTV that a call was made from the Obama camp -- have reconfirmed their position.

- Snip -

However, Harper had a warning to anyone contemplating renegotiation of the trade deal.

"If a future president actually did want to open up NAFTA, which I highly doubt, then Canada would obviously have some things we would want to discuss," Harper said.

My, my - was that really only a year ago? Oh, yes - Obama was saying one thing to people in the Midwest, and apparently, saying something quite the opposite on the down low in Canada.

Lo and behold, it seems the Canadian report was right, at least according to this NY Times article regarding Obama's recent trip, Nafta Looming Over Obama’s Canada Trip :
As a candidate, Barack Obama courted votes in the Rust Belt by suggesting he might renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pact he criticized as not “good for America.”

Now Mr. Obama is about to make his first foreign trip as president to Canada, the United States’ largest trading partner — and he is sounding a strikingly different message.

With Canadians up in arms over “Buy America” provisions in President Obama’s economic recovery package, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper warning the United States not to back away from its international treaty obligations, Mr. Obama, who will make a day trip to Ottawa on Thursday, is no longer emphasizing the idea of reopening Nafta.

Instead, he and his senior advisers are talking up the booming trade relationship between Canada and the United States — the largest trade partnership in the world, the White House says — and limiting their Nafta message to revamping side agreements on environmental and labor protections.

Well, golly gee. Yet another campaign promise proven to be a lie. Raise your hand if you are surprised! Yeah, I thought not.

The article continues:
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, the president said there were “a lot of sensitivities right now” about renegotiating trade pacts “because of the huge decline in world trade.” As he tries to right the struggling American economy, Mr. Obama pledged to do so in a way that would enhance, rather than suppress, trade between the two nations.

“It’s not in anybody’s interest to see that trade diminish,” he said.

Trade is an issue that has long bedeviled Democrats, and this is especially so for Mr. Obama. Trade has split the party along regional and economic lines, pitting those who see a globalized economy as inevitable and productive against those in economically depressed areas of the nation, like Ohio and Michigan, who see the price of free trade, in lost jobs and declining wages, as simply too high for the American worker to bear.

The last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, fought hard to pass Nafta, and made many in his party uncomfortable — including, eventually, his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who like Mr. Obama talked of reopening the pact when she was running for president.


Ah, yes, Obama continues to renege on campaign promises made, now that he's actually in the White House. His latest is yet another stand with a Bush Doctrine, Siding with Bush, Obama says Afghan detainees have no U.S. rights. Oh, what a surprise!!! Just like the Extraordinary Rendition and State Secrets part Obama kept - I have been saying this for MONTHS and months - Obama is Bush III. This is why he voted for FISA, too. He wanted all the same "tools" available to him that Bush managed to secure. Here's the nitty-gritty:
The 600-plus detainees at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their imprisonment, the Justice Department said today in a two-sentence court filing.

Last summer the Supreme Court gave al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects held at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detention. But the Justice Department argues that Bagram is different: it's in a war zone and the prisoners are the result of continuing military action.

"They've now embraced the Bush policy that you can create prisons outside the law," said Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union, who has represented several detainees.

"The hope we all had in President Obama to lead us on a different path has not turned out as we'd hoped," said Tina Monshipour Foster, a human rights attorney representing a detainee at the Bagram. "We all expected better."

The decision also disappointed Amnesty International, which issued a report calling for judicial review of the detentions.

Uh, yes. Again, groups are "disappointed" - the ACLU, Amnesty International, HRC, and on, and on. All "disappointed" that Obama is not doing what he said he would do.

They SHOULD be disappointed in themselves for believing his lies, for pretending that his "hope and change" message was a substitute for certifiable experience and an actual RECORD on which to base his claims. They're "disappointed." Yeah. Join the club. I'm "disappointed" that all of these groups bought this crap in the first place, and stuck us with this guy.

Sigh. Once again, though, there is one bright light, one adult in the room who DOES instill some faith. Oh, and she actually HAS a record on which to base her actions. Oh, yes, Sec. Clinton. She is winding up her first trip abroad as the Secretary of State, and has been doing a fine job of it. Here she is arriving in China:

And while in China, Secretary Clinton has been focusing on a number of issues, particularly Climate Change. Hopefully, this will be an issue on which our two countries can work together successfully (Sec. Clinton did mention Tibet, but for now, the Obama Administration is keeping a low profile on the issue of human rights).

Hmmm - I wonder what will be next on Obama's list of promises to break? Oh, that could be a whole new party game, come to think of it! We already have the drinking game Jon Stewart proposed (taking a drink whenever Obama pauses while talking), so why not have a "Which Promise Is Going Down The Toilet Next?" game? Hey, it's one the whole family can play together! What a uniter!! Which one do you think is next?


SFIndie said...

Good morning, Rev Amy. I hope the mom-to-be is doing well, and you're finding homes for the babies. It's a good thing you and your partner did, taking her into your home; your "good karma" bank account is overflowing!

So, next on the list of BigOhNo's promises to break? Didn't he promise not to mess with Social Security? Didn't he condemn McCain for wanting to privatize it (which was a lie, but that's neither here nor there)? I think Social Security's going to be his next big broken promise. Oh, he won't call it "privatization", he'll give it some fancy name, but he'll destroy it, with help from all his rich buddies for whom Social Security is just an extra night on the town rather than the means to live life.

And yet, I still don't hear the Obots complaining. Even my own siblings, all of whom I love dearly, are so immersed in the propaganda they're still flying the flag of HOPE! and CHANGE! Family gathering this weekend, I'm the only non-believer, I'll have to go to that happy place in my mind and pretend I'm someplace else....someplace where, say, Hillary Clinton is our Prez!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Oh, my, SF - well, I'll sure be thinking of you as you are surrounded by the Hope/Change brigade!

GOOD point abt Soc. Sec. And you are absolutely right - he will call it some high-falutin' name that will make the little people THINK he is doing something FOR them, rather than taking something FROM them, which we know is what he'll be doing...

And thanks, SFIndie. Mama Dog got pretty sick on Fri., but after eating rice, chicken, and ground turkey, she is all better (we were trying to switch her to a puppy diet, but seems it didn't agree with her). She also attacked one of our other dogs, twice (once while we were out of town - very quick trip to see my ortho), which I understand is not unusual for a mother dog. Still, not any fun for our dog, Sasha, poor thing!

We're just waiting - we made a whelping bed, and she has taken to it, so that's good. Any day now...