Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pander, Ports and Punjab

You probably heard glowing, Tony Snow-inspired, reports of President Bush's speech before the NAACP this week. Yet, according to Colbert King of WaPo, Bush fell short. He spoke on "black" issues, thus putting members in a racial box.... speaking not as the President to U.S. citizens, but speaking to black U.S. citizens.

As NAACP President Bruce Gordon said, instead of appearing as our President and commander-in-chief, he assumed the role of "panderer." That's Bush, "panderer-in-chief," when he's not the "decider."

Others have been deciding things lately too, but they haven't received much media coverage since the flareup in the Middle East.

Did you know that the House "joined the Senate in approving a free trade agreement with Oman, adding the Arabian Gulf state to a list of Middle Eastern countries that have lowered barriers to U.S. exports." Sounds good doesn't it..... but the devil is in the details, as they say.

The vote was fairly close, 221- 205, with most Democrats opposing, their argument being the agreement "posed a security risk because it gives Oman-based companies the right to operate U.S. ports, subjecting the United States to international arbitration if it tried to block a deal similar to the since-canceled plan by a Dubai company to take over management of several U.S. ports."

That's right.... a ports deal that was slipped by us when our attention was focused elsewhere. As Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) argued... "Do you want a company in Oman managing this flow of who-knows-what into our borders? Would you let any company that operates in Oman run our airport security? The Oman free trade agreement hands over the keys to any company that operates in Oman."

Check here for how the voting went for this security-threatening agreement. Click on the Republican or Democrat area to bring up the full list of Representative names.

And last, just an interesting note from our "democratic" friend, India. It ordered blog sites blocked in the country. Why? It was "prompted by the discovery of a Web site that contained 'two impertinent pages' rife with material containing 'extremely derogatory references to Islam.' " Indian bloggers "have accused the government of censorship and demanded to know why their sites have been jammed." The Indian government seems to be backing off, calling the action a "technical error."

Could this censorship happen in the U.S.?

Not if we, the electorate, stay vigilant, and throw out the liars, Luddites, malingerers and lobbyist-loving lawmakers in November.

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