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Bush to Sign NAFTA Expansion Bill

Bush to sign U.S.-Peru free-trade deal

Market Day
December 4, 2007

U.S. President George Bush said he would sign a U.S.-Peru free-trade agreement that cleared Congress Tuesday.

The Senate approved the free trade pact by a 77-18 vote.

“This agreement will level the playing field for American exporters and investors and will expand an important market in this hemisphere for U.S. goods and services, which will help strengthen economic growth and job creation in the United States,” Bush said.

“I look forward to signing this legislation into law.”

The agreement was modified in May under pressure from Democrats to take into account environmental and human rights concerns.

The deal will let more than 90 percent of U.S. products enter Peru’s growing market duty-free. Most Peruvian products already have duty-free access to the United States.

The House approved the agreement by a 285-132 vote Nov. 8.

 

As Senate’s ’08 presidential hopefuls absent, Peru free trade deal approved
Hillary, Obama and McCain absent while NAFTA expansion bill is approved

The Hill
December 5, 2007

The Senate approved a free trade agreement with Peru Tuesday that could have highlighted differences on trade among the Senate’s Democrats running for president — if any of them had been able to attend the vote.

All of the chamber’s Democratic presidential hopefuls were busy Tuesday afternoon taking part in a debate sponsored by National Public Radio, and as a result missed the vote on a controversial issue that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has been trying to use against his main competitors for the Democratic nomination.

Their presence would not have made a difference in the outcome. As expected, the Peru deal was easily approved, 77-18.

The deal had divided the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) had previously announced support for the Peru agreement, despite criticism from Edwards that the deal would contribute to U.S. job losses. All three are in a tight race in the first-in-the-nation caucus in Iowa, where some polls show a statistical dead heat.

Two other Democrats, Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Joseph Biden (Del.), had announced opposition to the Peru agreement.

GOP Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), another presidential candidate, also missed the vote. However, trade has been less divisive among Republicans running for president.

 

noworldsystem.com note:
This bill will:

* Continue to flood the U.S. with cheap foreign goods
* Lead to more U.S. layoffs and job outsourcing to other nations.
* Depress U.S. wages
* Increase the U.S. Trade debt
* Greatly expand the destruction of the Amazon rain forest
* Increased Animal suffering with a huge expansion of factory farms
* Increase Illegal Immigration into the U.S., as factory farms put Peruvian farmers out of business

 



Senate passes mammoth 648 billion defense bill

Senate passes mammoth 648 billion defense bill

AFP
October 2, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Senate Monday passed a mammoth 648 billion dollar defense policy bill, shorn of attempts by disappointed anti-war Democrats to dictate President George W. Bush’s Iraq strategy.

The bill included around 128 billion dollars for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate.

The legislation passed by 92 votes to three after Democrats lost several attempts to dictate US troop levels in Iraq.

While the Department of Defense Authorization bill for fiscal year 2008 sets the size of programs, funds can only be disbursed after the passage of a Senate defense spending bill due to be taken up by the chamber this week.

The most significant Iraq related portion of the bill was an amendment backed by Democratic Senator Joseph Biden which passed last week, calling for a federalization of Iraq, with large amounts of power ceded to the provinces.

The amendment was however non-binding and will not force Bush to change strategy in the unpopular war.

Democrats failed by only four votes to include an amendment which would require troops who served in Iraq or Afghanistan to be granted as much time at home as they spent on combat deployments.

The bill would have effectively limited the number of troops available for deployment, and cut the size of the 160,000 strong US force in Iraq more quickly than the gradual reductions which Bush has promised.

The House of Representatives has already passed its version of the Defense authorization.

Senate approves $150B in war funding
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071001/ap_on_go_co/us_iraq

The Mega-Lie Called the “War on Terror”: A Masterpiece of Propaganda
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/63632/?page=entire

Torture Rape In Iraqi Child Prisons
http://www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news%5C2007-09-30%5Ckurd.htm

 



Dems Can’t Make Guarantee On Troops

Dems Can’t Make Guarantee On Troops

AP
September 27, 2007

HANOVER, N.H. – The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.

“I think it’s hard to project four years from now,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation’s first primary state.

“It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting,” added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

“I cannot make that commitment,” said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Sensing an opening, Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson provided the assurances the others would not.

“I’ll get the job done,” said Dodd, while Richardson said he would make sure the troops were home by the end of his first year in office.

Foreign policy blended with domestic issues at the debate on a Dartmouth College stage, and several of the contenders endorsed payroll tax increases to assure a stable Social Security system.

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, as well as Dodd, Obama and Edwards all said they would apply the tax to income now exempted.

Richardson said he wouldn’t and Clinton refused to say. “I’m not putting anything on the proverbial table” unilaterally, she said.

Current law levies a 6.2 percent payroll tax only on an individual’s first $97,500 in annual income.

Biden also said he was willing to consider gradually raising the retirement age, which is now 67.

Kucinich said that while he favors taxing additional income, he wants to return the retirement age to 65, where it stood until the law was changed in 1983.

Health care, and the drive for universal coverage, also figured in the debate.

“I intend to be the health care president,” said Clinton, adding she can now succeed at an undertaking that defeated her in 1993 when she was first lady.

But Biden said that unnamed special interests were no more willing to work with Clinton now than they were more than a decade ago.

“I’m not suggesting it’s Hillary’s fault…It’s reality,” he said, carefully avoiding a personal attack on the Democrat who leads in the polls.

Biden said a “lot of old stuff comes back” from past battles, adding, “when I say old stuff I mean policy. Policy.”

Across the stage, Clinton smiled at that.

The moment was not the only one in which attention turned to the former first lady, a campaign front-runner bidding to become the first woman president.

Asked whether presidential libraries and foundations should disclose their donors, she said she had sponsored legislation requiring it. Asked whether her husband’s foundation should voluntary disclose, absent a requirement, she said, “you’ll have to ask them.”

“I don’t talk about my private conversations with my husband,” she added.

She seemed to suggest differently at another point, after being asked whether she would ever approve torturing a suspected terrorist to prevent the detonation of a big bomb.

She said no, and Russert said former President Clinton, her husband, once suggested it might be appropriate.

“Well, he’s not standing here right now,” she said, an edge in her voice.

There is a disagreement, Russert rejoined.

“Well, I’ll talk to him later,” she said with a smile.

A question about lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 drew a cheer from the students listening in the Dartmouth auditorium.

And expressions of support only from former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska and Kucinich.

The opening question of the two-hour debate instantly plunged the eight contenders into the issue that has dominated all others — the war in Iraq.

With the primary season approaching, all eight have vied with increasing intensity for the support of anti-war voters likely to provide money and organizing muscle as the campaign progresses.

Edwards said his position on Iraq was different from Obama and Clinton, adding he would “immediately drawn down 40,000 to 50,000 troops.” That’s roughly half the 100,000 that Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has indicated could be stationed there when President Bush’s term ends in January 2009.

Edwards sought to draw a distinction between his position and Clinton’s, saying she had said recently she wants to continue combat missions in Iraq.

“I do not want to continue combat missions in Iraq,” he said.

Clinton responded quickly, saying Edwards had misstated her position. She said she favors the continued deployment of counterterrorism troops, not forces to engage in the type of combat now under way.

Asked whether they were prepared to use force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, several of the hopefuls sidestepped. Instead, they said, all diplomacy must be exhausted in the effort.

Moderator Tim Russert of NBC News asked about Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani’s pledge to set back Iran by eight to 10 years if it tries to gain nuclear standing.

Biden flashed anger at the mention of the former New York mayor. “Rudy Giuliani doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about,” said Delaware senator, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“He’s the most uninformed person on foreign policy that’s now running for president.”

The debate unfolded in the state that has held the first presidential primary in every campaign for generations.

The contest is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22, but that is expected to change as other states maneuver for early voting position in the campaign calendar.

The debate was broadcast on MSNBC, New Hampshire Public Radio and New England Cable News.

 



Senate Passes Bill Adopting Iraq Balkanization

Senate Passes Bill Adopting Iraq Balkanization

Press TV
September 27, 2007

The US Senate has passed a bill, suggesting Iraq’s partition into a federation of ethnically divided regions, urging Iraqi officials to agree.

Today, in an act showing frustration over Bush’s war policies in Iraq, the Senate Republicans and Democrats joined to pass a non-binding resolution, calling for the creation of a federal system of government in Iraq with regions divided along ethnic lines.

The proposal to break up Iraq into decentralized regions came from Senator Joseph Biden, who is running for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Supporters of Iraqi partition believe it would let Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish factions settle their differences and make it easier for US troops to return home.

However, it is unlikely that the Bush administration will alter its policies on Iraq, in light of this resolution. Earlier this week, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said that the administration supports a federal Iraq rather than a divided country.

This is the first time in over a year that the United States Senate has reached a bipartisan consensus on Iraqi policy.

US Plans to Disintegrate Iraq
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=24475&secti..351020201

Senate to vote on Iraq division plan
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070924/pl…._070924201148

On Sunday talk show, Clinton refuses to commit to full Iraq pullout by end of first term
http://prisonplanet.com/articles/september2007/240907_b_Clinton.htm

FLASHBACK: Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.ph….articleId=3882

 



US Plans to Disintegrate Iraq

US Plans to Disintegrate Iraq

Press TV
September 25, 2007

The US Senate is planning to vote on a proposal backed by Democratic Senator Joseph Biden to divide war-torn Iraq based on ethnic lines.

Advocates of the plan, which is to be voted as soon as Tuesday, claim that the plan would allow US troops to eventually go home without leaving chaos behind.

The Plan, which calls for an autonomous federation of Kurdish, Shia and Sunni regions has come under fire by critics, who say Iraq’s ethnic groups who live side-by-side in cities and inter-marry are not divided by lines on a map.

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which delivered recommendations in December, warned division could trigger mass population flows, the collapse of the Iraqi security forces and ethnic cleansing by strengthened militias.

 

Senate to vote on Iraq division plan

AFP
September 24, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Senate is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on a Bosnia-style plan to subdivide Iraq on ethnic lines, touted by backers as the sole hope of forging a federal state out of sectarian strife.

Though the measure is non-binding, and would not force a change in President George W. Bush’s war strategy even if it passes, the vote will provide a key test of an idea drawing rising interest in Washington.

Advocates say the plan, championed by Democratic senator and presidential hopeful Joseph Biden, offers a route to a political solution in Iraq that could allow US troops to eventually go home without leaving chaos behind.

A loose autonomous federation of Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni entities might look good on paper, but critics charge it ignores Iraq’s ethnic stew, such as cities where ethnic groups live side-by-side and inter-marry, and are not divided by lines on a map.

“Critics have come along and said ‘I don’t like your plan,'” Biden said, adding: “if you don’t like Biden’s proposal, what is your idea?”

The plan, drawn up with former Carter administration foreign policy expert Leslie Gelb, would provide for a federal system as permitted by Iraq’s constitution, stop Iraq from becoming a failed state and:

– Separate Iraq into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni entities, with a federal government in Baghdad in charge of border security and oil revenues.

– Aim to defuse sectarian violence by offering Sunnis a share of oil revenues.

– Boost reconstruction aid and debt relief.

– Launch an international diplomatic effort to rally the world’s great powers and Iraq’s neighbors to the new federation’s cause.

The plan, offered as an amendment to a defense policy bill, already has achieved what many other Iraq war measures have failed to do: attract support from across the political chasm carved in Washington by the war.

Several Republicans, who back Bush’s troop surge strategy, but bemoan political deadlock in Baghdad, have signed on.

“We have a flawed political design that we are pushing currently in Baghdad,” said Republican presidential longshot Senator Sam Brownback, one of 11 co-sponsors of the bill.

Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison looked for inspiration to the Dayton Peace Accords which led to the creation of a semi-autonomous Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb Republic.

“I think what we have seen in Bosnia is a lessening of tensions when there is a capability for the security forces, the educational and the religious sects to have their own ability to govern within themselves,” she said.

Critics, who have included the White House, have argued Biden plan is a recipe for more chaos in Iraq.

US ally Turkey would oppose such an initiative, fearful of unrest among its Kurdish population, they say, adding that a partitioned Iraq would lead outside powers like Iran and Saudi Arabia to bolster rival ethnic militia.

Other critics say frontier drawing in the Middle East by western powers has caused enough historical heartache, and it should be up to Iraqis to shape their future.

Some also say that partitioning Iraq, even if Baghdad remains whole, could encourage ethnic cleansing.

US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker backed devolving of power to Iraqi regions, but opposed a formal partition during an appearance in Congress this month.

“Baghdad, in spite of all of the violence it has seen and all of the population displacements, remains a very mixed city, Sunnis and Shia together,” Crocker said.

“Any notion that that city of over five million people can be neatly divided up or painlessly cleansed of a huge number of people is just incorrect.”

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which delivered recommendations in December warned partition could trigger mass population flows, the collapse of the fragile Iraqi security forces and ethnic cleansing by strengthened militias.

But Biden argued that all other options have failed, and says Iraq’s ethnic groups are already separating.

“President Bush, and many Democrats continue to cling to choice number one,” he said in a campaign mailing to supporters at the weekend, arguing US troops could not “build or force unity where none exists.”

On Sunday talk show, Clinton refuses to commit to full Iraq pullout by end of first term
http://prisonplanet.com/articles/september2007/240907_b_Clinton.htm

FLASHBACK: Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.ph….articleId=3882