The issue that should be of greatest concern, however, is the continuing loss of our nation's independence because of these agreements. The April 18 New York Times reported how a NAFTA tribunal (created under NAFTA's Chapter 11) had been given superiority over our nation's state and federal courts in a dispute involving a Canadian real-estate company. The highest court in Massachusetts ruled against the Canadian real-estate company, and the United States Supreme Court declined to hear its appeal. However, the NAFTA tribunal overruled both of these courts. In that same New York Times report, former congressman and former federal-appeals-court judge Abner Mikva commented, "If Congress had known that there was anything like this in NATFA, they would never have voted for it."
The FTAA will compromise America's independence just as surely as the European Union has entrapped its member nations. Our leaders shouldn't be proposing more of these pacts; they should be withdrawing us from pacts that already unfavorably impact our jobs, borders, and national independence.
Please ask your representative and senators to vote "no" on any and all of these sovereignty-destroying "free trade" agreements.
Robert W. Kelley
Stop NAFTA and the FTAA
The American people are not being told that the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is much more than a simple trade pact. The architects of the FTAA intend that it broaden and deepen NAFTA. Instead of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, which comprise NAFTA, the FTAA would broaden NAFTA by encompassing all 34 nations of the Western Hemisphere, with the current exception of Cuba. It would deepen NAFTA by involving the FTAA in an ever-increasing number of functions that are properly the private domain of national governments. Even now NAFTA tribunals are claiming the authority, approved 10 years ago by Congress, to overturn the decisions of U.S. courts.
In 1993, Henry Kissinger lobbied for NAFTA by noting that NAFTA "is not a conventional trade agreement, but the architecture of a new international system." The FTAA would be a further expansion of that architecture, with a shifting of control of government's functions to unelected hemispheric bureaucrats.
The appeal to "free trade" in the name chosen for this latest power grab is a blatant deception. Trade under the FTAA would be highly regulated by a socialist bureaucracy, even more so than with NAFTA.
Americans should appeal to their representative and senators to reject any agreement to expand NAFTA into an FTAA. Current plans are to complete the hemispheric agreement by January and then present it to Congress. For more information check out (http://www.StoptheFTAA.org).
Donald W. Jones
The Dying Is Far from Finished
Now over 1,000 American lives have been lost in Mr. Bush's invasion of Iraq. And the dying is far from finished. What reward have we gotten for this great sacrifice, for the countless broken hearts and families destroyed? Sadly, we have lost much of the world's respect and support that are needed to help defend us against terrorism. We have diverted massive quantities of people and resources away from our defense against terrorism and into the Iraq war. Terrorism and hatred of America have grown, so we are now less safe from terrorism. By going it nearly alone, our troops have been left to suffer by far the greatest part of the deadly burden in Iraq. And Mr. Bush will hand our children the enormous bill for it all.
It is time to stand up and correct Mr. Bush's right-wing blunder that has claimed so many of our loved ones' lives. Only an international alliance can cope with the international problem of terrorism. Mr. Bush remains tied to his old policies, which have badly damaged that alliance.
Without a change in policy we cannot expect a change in results. For the sake of America we must elect a president who will regain the international respect and support that are needed to effectively address the threat of terrorism. Mr. Bush has made tragic errors, and many have paid the price.
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
In last week's issue of the River Cities' Reader, Alderman Keith Meyer's response to our questionnaire on a riverfront hotel contained an error. We printed that Meyer said he wanted to make the riverfront a skate park. It should have read "state park."