The House of Representatives is moving toward a vote on the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, and the spin machines of the White House and the corporate special interests - along with their amen corner in the media - are working overtime.
These are the days when the big lies get told - as we learned more than a decade ago when the Clinton White House was busy working with congressional Republicans to win support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and more recently when Congress debated establishing permanent normal trade relations with China.
To counter the Orwellian twists of facts and figures that are sure to come from the White House and its political allies, fair trade campaigners (www.citizenstrade.org and www.wiscotrader.org) have come up with a top 10 list of trade doublespeak - and the facts to counter it:
"Whenever the other side has you talking their language, they've got you. That, to me, is what it's about in a nutshell and it's almost that simple." George Carlin in an interview with Tim Russert, when asked why he thought the Democratic Party and John Kerry failed to connect with the voters. (November 23, 2004)
Matt Bai had a cover story in Sunday's New York Times magazine. ("The Framing Wars," July 17, 2005) It's spin about spin. On one level, it's an article about how Democrats now understand the value of "framing"--that language and narrative matter in politics.
Caught up in democracy-spreading adventures abroad, Congress continues to ignore residents who are clamoring for democracy in its own backyard.
The 560,000 citizens of Washington DC--the only geographic region in the country without representation in Congress--are tired of having no voice. "When this country committed troops to Iraq, I had no vote," US House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC's non-voting representative, told the Washington Post, "...the taxes paid to this war, I had no vote."
So last week, Norton and scores of DC voting rights activists came up with a clever solution to get the attention of Congress: they drummed up the support of the international community. As delegates of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) converged on Washington for their annual meeting, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/01/AR2005070101959.html">hundreds of protestors urged them to "Free DC."
Next Saturday, July 23, is the three-year anniversary of the meeting at #10 Downing Street in London that was recorded in the now infamous minutes known as the "Downing Street Memo." Suggesting that the Bush Administration was intent on going to war with Iraq with or without intelligence on Saddam's WMD, the memo has given new impetus (and vindication) to antiwar critics of the invasion.
To highlight these disclosures, AfterDowningStreet.org, a new and growing coalition of veterans' groups and activist organizations working with Rep. John Conyers, has organized hundreds of events, dramatic performances, house parties and study circles planned coast to coast next July 23. At least eight events will involve members of Congress. Click here to see what's happening in your area.
In New York City, The Nation and Democrats.Com are teaming up to present a public forum at the New York Society of Ethical Culture featuring Rep. Maurice Hinchey, the Hon. Liz Holtzman, Air America host Randi Rhodes and Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com. The event starts at 2:00 and is free to the public. Click here for more info and click here to read Holtzman's recent Nation mag piece outlining the legal case that could and should be made against senior Bush officials for the torture at Abu Ghraib.
It appears that no one in Washington has bothered to ask why it is that the Republican National Committee is leading the defense of Karl Rove. But it's a good question.
If Rove is really the president's deputy chief of staff in charge of policy, as opposed to a political hack operating within the White House and using taxpayer money to do the work of the Republican Party, wouldn't it make sense that his defenders would be current and retired policy specialists? And since the controversy in which he is embroiled has something to do with national security, wouldn't it be at least a little more assuring if a former Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser or chief of the Central Intelligence Agency were to speak up on his behalf?
But, no, as the controversy about his leaking of classified information heats up, Rove is being defended, for the most part, by RNC chair Ken Mehlman, a political operative who has never been seriously involved in policy matters â€“ let alone national security issues.