Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush: I Never Met A Cover-Up I Didn’t Like

As itemized on these pages, the Bush Administration has this pesky habit of funding studies and then suppressing the parts they don’t want to hear. It's a very convenient trait if you don't want anything smudging up your rose-colored glasses. But every so often, a tiny sliver of truth reaches the light, and just as quickly BushCo dismisses it as liberally biased bullshit.

Cut to today where some truth about CAFTA is peeking its nose out of the cracks.

The Labor Department kept secret for more than a year government studies that supported Democratic opponents of the Bush administration's new Central American trade deal, internal documents show.

The studies, paid for by the department, concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights. The agency dismissed the conclusions as inaccurate and biased, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

"In practice, labor laws on the books in Central America are not sufficient to deter employers from violations, as actual sanctions for violations of the law are weak or nonexistent," the contractor, the International Labor Rights Fund, wrote in one of the reports.

The studies' conclusions contrast with the administration's arguments that Central American countries have made enough progress on such issues to warrant a free-trade deal with the United States.
...

Hoping to lure enough Democratic votes to win passages, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman earlier this month promised to spend money and arrange an international conference to ensure "the best agreement ever negotiated by the United States on labor rights."

But behind the scenes, the administration began as early as spring 2004 to block the reports' public release.

The Labor Department instructed its contractor to remove the reports from its Web site, ordered it to retrieve paper copies before they became public, banned release of new information from the reports, and even told the contractor it couldn't discuss the studies with outsiders.
...

One lawmaker said he was shocked that a federal agency charged with protecting the rights of Americans workers would go to such lengths to block the public from seeing its own contractor's concerns before Congress votes on the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

"You would think if any agency in our government would care about this, it would be the Labor Department," Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said.
Shocked! Dumbfounded! Utterly bewildered!! Bush suppressing information that he doesn’t want us to know? Why, that’s horrifying! What if he did that relating to a matter of national security like war or a rogue state’s level of WMD? Why, we might find ourselves misled into an unnecessary war or something even more terrifying! Let’s hope THAT never happens.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Painfully funny stuff! I just quoted and liked back to this post from US Liberals at About.com. (You can find it at http://usliberals.about.com)