Wednesday, August 15, 2007
SPP and the American left
I've just spent the better part of several exasperating days arguing with American "progressives" about SPP.
Shorter US Progs : If the John Birch Society et al say the sky is blue, then we say it isn't.
I thought we were all pretty well agreed on both sides of the border that while Glen Beck, Jerome Corsi, Lou Dobbs and the John Birch Society have their own bizarre agenda to use the SPP to promote their New World Order paranoia, the rest of us should get on with the actual facts at hand. Right?
Nuh-uh-uh, say the American progressives.
Orcinus quotes: "Most people familiar with the SPP understand that it is a benign and slow-moving attempt to coordinate trade and security policies in a bid to improve the lives of citizens in all three countries."
Chris Hayes at The Nation : "There's also a federal initiative called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), which they portray as a Trojan horse packed with globalists scheming to form a European Union-style governing body to manage the entire continent. The reactions of those in SPP to this characterization seem to range from bemusement to alarm.
"There is no NAFTA Superhighway," Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance David Bohigian told me emphatically over the phone. Initiated in 2005, the SPP is a relatively mundane formal bureaucratic dialogue, he says. Working groups, staffed by midlevel officials from all three countries, figure out how to better synchronize customs enforcement, security protocols and regulatory frameworks among the countries.
"Simple stuff like, for instance, in the US we sell baby food in several different sizes; in Canada, it's just two different sizes."
Digby [Digby!] : "As it turns out, there is a foreign owned toll road being planned in Texas that has nothing to do with NAFTA and that's causing quite a stir. People seem to have mashed the whole thing up in their lizard brains and come up with some one-world plot by Spain and the Council on Foreign Relations. Or something.
I'm with Justice Stephen Breyer who recently said:
...the true division of importance in the world is not between different countries. The important division is between those who are committed to reason, to working out things, to understanding other people, to peaceful resolution of their differences ... and those who don't think that."
If that makes me an elitist, one-worlder, so be it. I can see this election's going to have a nutzoid quality to it that we haven't seen in some time. Just what we need."
Enough with the fucking highway already. Who gives a crap what it's called?
From the US Dept of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration :
"The proposed system will be a network of transportation corridors (routes) incorporating separate lanes for passenger vehicles and trucks, rail lines for high-speed passenger and freight rail, and a dedicated utility zone. Components in the system may incorporate existing and new highways, railways, and utility rights-of-way where practical. Up to 366 meters (1,200 feet) wide in some places, the corridor is designed to move people and freight faster and more safely through Texas, from Mexico to the Oklahoma border.
I-69 is a 2,570-kilometer (1,600-mile) national highway that, once completed, will connect Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Other States involved in the I-69 project include Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The planned location for I-69, designated by the U.S. Congress in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), was chosen because of the economic opportunities that could be created along the north-south corridor, specifically those related to increased trade resulting from NAFTA."
OK, got that? It might even be a good idea and if it isn't, there are still formidable obstacles to overcome in implementing it, but you don't seem to be one of them. You could start by admitting that your own government websites exist.
Anything else you'd like to discuss about SPP? Corporate globalization maybe? NAFTA?
Because there's a lot more at stake here than a friggin road and your need to distance yourselves from even mentioning any issue that the JBS has ever laid claim to on your national airwaves. The civil rights movement would have had a rougher go of it if American progs of the 60's left the field to the KKK just because they'd claimed it as their issue already.
American Progs : A little louder, please.
See also : Chet at Vanity Press
UPDATE : Christopher Hayes leaves a link to a response on his blog in the comments below, ending with
"Even if SPP is scheming to do all sorts of awful things (and there’s some evidence it is), it’s not masterminding a non-existent highway."
UPDATE 2 : Melissa at Shakespeare's Sister asks Chet to do a post on SPP for her US readers and Chet responds brilliantly.
With thanks to the various US message boards linking here today.
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