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Saturday, July 30, 2005

the conspiracy to pass cafta

Kent Snyder of the The Liberty Committee explains in this update exactly how CAFTA came to be passed, despite the fact that it was DEFEATED when the official 15 minute period ended, 180 nays to 175 yeas. You should read the whole sickening, sordid story, but here are some excerpts:
...Because President Bush and the House leadership knew the vote would be razor close, the day of the vote began with the president making a rare appearance on Capitol Hill to speak before a closed door, members-only meeting of House Republicans that morning. He even brought Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with him.

And the arm-twisting began.

"The last-minute negotiations for Republican votes resembled the wheeling and dealing on a car lot. Republicans who were opposed or undecided were courted during hurried meetings in Capitol hallways, on the House floor and at the White House. GOP leaders told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask, lawmakers said, and members took advantage of the opportunity by requesting such things as fundraising appearances by Cheney and the restoration of money the White House has tried to cut from agriculture programs. Lawmakers also said many of the favors bestowed in exchange for votes will be tucked away into the huge energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week before leaving for the August recess." -- The Washington Post, July 28, 2005...

...Two hours of debate on CAFTA ended in the U.S. House at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday night. Representative Ray LaHood (R-Illinois), speaker pro tempore, then ordered a 15-minute vote -- at the end of which CAFTA had been defeated! But with the vote kept open for more than one hour after it began, the "final" vote tally was 217 in favor to 215 against, with two not voting. Or was it? We were led to believe that the two members who didn't vote, Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia) and Charles Taylor (R-North Carolina) who were already on record as going to vote "no" and would have
defeated CAFTA, had been persuaded to remain silent. Mr. Taylor's was a key vote from a textile state that everyone was watching.

Republican leaders "spent much of [the] time wrestling with about 10 rebellious but 'undecided' Republicans, pleading and pressuring one after another to vote for the agreement." -- New York times, July 29, 2005. The herd mentality dictates that if you can break key resistance, the rest will follow.

But on Thursday, the day after the vote, I received a telephone call from a talk radio host in Congressman Taylor's district. He told me he had asked Mr. Taylor that morning why he didn't vote against CAFTA as he had pledged. The talk radio host told me "Taylor said he had voted 'no'...but somebody changed it and Mr. Taylor was furious." "'I voted NO,' Mr. Taylor announced in a terse statement on Thursday, saying the House clerk's written log showed his vote...." -- New York Times, July 29, 2005...

Well, I don't know exactly what happened to Mr. Taylor's vote, if it was an error with his voting machine (as some articles have suggested), or whether it was something more sinister. But this little story on how House votes actually occur in the age of presidential imperialism should scare the shit out of people who look to their congressmen for representation.

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