FEBRUARY 7, 2000
No joy in vindication
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com

I have enjoyed the opportunity to interview a wide variety of personalities on a broad spectrum of issues and topics. These have included Karl Malden, the recently late Desmond Lewellan ("Q" from the Bond flicks), Ambrose Evans Prichard, Arkansas trooper Larry Patterson, William F. Buckley and his son Chris, Dave Hackworth, Bo Gritz, Maj. Gen. Jack Singlaub, Russian defector Stan Lunev, and more politicians and authors (from heroes to goats) than I care to remember. However, to date my fondest memories remain of an interview/debate I had with Warren Christopher's special assistant for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Eight years ago I was among the more vocal critics warning of potential dire consequences that could and would result from NAFTA (and later from the World Trade Organization). NAFTA was, and is, an interesting study, in that it collected strange bipartisan supporters and detractors.

I was fortunate to have been befriended by a man who was both a patriot and an economist. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but that was how I viewed, and still view, Dr. Pat Choate. Before the trade agreement had popped up on the political radar screen, I started researching NAFTA. In the course of that study I did something scant few (if any) of the legislators who voted for insidious treaty-that-isn't-really-a-treaty-but-is, had done. I read it. All 1,472 pages. I sat at my dining room table with a yellow highlighter and red pen and pored through every flipping line -- page after page after page after page.

My neophyte analysis suggested that NAFTA was r-e-a-l bad. Even before the bastard son GATT proposed the World Trade Organization, NAFTA was, and is, sleazy, disingenuous, duplicitous, and overflowing with potential negative consequences.

I confess, I kinda got obsessed. I spent far too much time trying to explain the evils of NAFTA to my radio audience. Most of them didn't care, and would have preferred my spending time on almost anything else -- preferably their pet topic. However, NAFTA was, and is, more dangerous than a double-edged razor. As P.J. O'Rourke once observed, "It's like giving alcohol and the car keys to a teenage boy."

Here's a quickie Readers Digest version of the key dangers of our "trade agreement":

  1. It isn't a treaty per se. A treaty requires a two-thirds majority vote of the U.S. Senate. However, even before Ross Perot, Pat Choate, Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson circled their wagons to fight it, the New World Anus realized they couldn't get it passed as a real treaty. So although it walked like a duck, and quacked like a duck, and flew like a duck, and defecated like a duck, they called it "an agreement." See, an international "agreement" only requires a simple majority of both houses. The vote was so close in the Senate that Vice President Al Gore had to cast the deciding vote. That alone should be ample reason not to vote for the @#$%& thing.
  2. NAFTA was literally the camel's nose in the tent. It planted the seed for its illegitimate offspring-on-steroids that followed. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) had been percolating in the shadows for years. However, the addition of the World Trade Organization as the "dispute resolution" arm was the coup de grace.
  3. NAFTA is a trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico. When conflicts occur (which are inevitable), NAFTA created a mechanism for resolving disputes. Any dispute could be brought to an executive committee, which is comprised of representatives from each of the signatory countries. However, the adjudication of the dispute is held in secret executive session, and the decision of the judges is final. No appeal, no review of the proceedings, no recourse other than to eat excrement and try not to develop a taste for it.
  4. The biggie is the cruel reality that local, state, and yes, even federal law can and will be abrogated by a secret trade star chamber. But it gets worse. If you lose a dispute with either the NAFTA star chamber tribunal or the GATT World Trade Organization, you cannot appeal. State or federal legislation cannot mitigate a bad decision. It cannot be overruled through a judicial procedure. It cannot be expunged by executive order. In other words, the three branches of government established by the framers and codified by the Constitution have been neutered by a treaty that really isn't a treaty but has the force of treaty but we agree not to call it a treaty. Get it? Wink/wink ... nod/nod.



Ambassador Myles Frechette -- the Warren Christopher rep I mentioned up there in the first paragraph -- was a very nice man. He was confident, charming and armed with a sheet of "talking points" to explain NAFTA to my radio audience and me. Others have suggested that he brought a paper knife to a gunfight. He had a tough day that afternoon. He tried to spin the "advantages" of NAFTA only to have me counter with questions quoting specific pages, paragraphs and sections. He would riposte with a broad brush and I would lunge with a specific quote from the "agreement" and its inevitable consequences. He was a skilled, credentialed diplomat, and I was a nobody at a small Sacramento radio station (who was more prepared than the expert that day). I ate his lunch. However, he left, NAFTA became law, and beyond a snotty quip to a legislative aide during a D.C. cocktail party, my questions evaporated into the ether of insignificance.

Notwithstanding the implementation of NAFTA, eight years later, I'm still right. And notwithstanding the Ambassador's protestations to the contrary, the negative consequences of NAFTA and GATT continue to invade reality.

The Vancouver Methanex Corporation has filed a $970 million NAFTA lawsuit against California. Why? Because California finally got around to banning the gasoline additive MTBE that has been poisoning groundwater. A similar lawsuit last year that was filed by a U.S. company compelled Canada to overturn its ban on a similar additive. This should not be a surprise; it was an anticipated consequence of NAFTA and GATT. It happened with Argentine gasoline and dolphin-safe tuna.

Even California Democrat George Miller acknowledged, "Local legislation can be nullified because a secret trade tribunal says so. ... It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative or liberal." And he is right!

In 1992, '93, and '94, I was called all the usual names including the classic "right-wing wacko" (although my criticisms were mirrored by Ralph Nader, Jerry Brown and Jesse Jackson).

I have always maintained, "It's not WHO is right or wrong, but WHAT is right or wrong." NAFTA and GATT were, are, and will always be wrong. For example, Daniel Seligman, director of trade policy for the Sierra Club (yeah, the Sierra Club), observed, "Trade has become a kind of de facto global government serving only one constituent -- transnational corporations. ... You end up with corporate property rights that go well beyond what is provided by 200 years of Supreme Court rulings.''

I could write more, but hey, when Geoff Metcalf quotes the Sierra Club, and they are right -- it's time to close.