José Can You See? Bush's Trojan Taco
Psst! George Bush has a secret.
While you Democrats are pounding each other to a pulp in
You're not supposed to know that – for two reasons:
First, the summit planned for the N.O. two years back was meant to showcase the rebuilt Big Easy, a monument to can-do Bush-o-nomics. Well, it is a monument to Bush's leadership: The city still looks like
The second reason Bush has kept this major summit a virtual secret is its real agenda. More important, the agenda-makers, the guys who called the meeting, must remain as far out of camera range as possible: The North American Competitiveness Council.
Never heard of The Council? Well, maybe you've heard of the counselors: the chief executives of Wal-Mart, Chevron Oil, Lockheed-Martin and 27 other multinational masters of the corporate universe.
And why did the landlords of our continent order our presidents to a three-nation pajama party? Their term is "harmonization."
Harmonization has nothing to do with singing in fifths like Simon and Garfunkel. Harmonization means making rules and regulations the same in all three countries. Or, more specifically, watering down rules – on health, safety, labor rights, oil drilling, polluting and so on - in other words, any regulations that get between The Council members and their profits.
Take for example, pesticides. Wal-Mart and agri-business don't want to reduce the legal amount of poison allowed in what you eat. Solution: "harmonize" US and Canadian pesticide standards to
Can they do that? Can Bush just say, "Eat your peas – even if they're radioactive?" Under NAFTA, at least the way George Bush reads it (or has it read to him), he can. At any rate, he does.
The three chiefs of state will meet privately with the thirty corporate chiefs where they are also expected to legally erase more of our borders, to expand the "NAFTA highway." Technically, the NAFTA highway is a set of legal rules governing transcontinental shipment. Some fear NAFTA highway expansion will allow a new flood of cheap Mexican products into the
As trade expert Maud Barlow explained to me, the new "NAFTA highway" will allow Chinese stuff dumped into
Barlow is Chairwoman of the Council of Canadians. She is known as the "Ralph Nader of
I caught up with this courageous Canadian (I've seen her face down corporate bullying we can't imagine in the
Bush himself is pushing his Canadian and Mexican counterparts to adopt US-style "Homeland Security" measures so that, says Barlow, "we'll all be zip-locked together in one security bag."
There will be other anti-SSP protesters in
They're wrong, of course. The U.S. of A. has been long eliminated, at least economically. The Competitiveness Council is a multinational crew, with one shared set of country clubs, beach homes, art collections, union busters and lobbyists knowing no borders.
The populist radio hosts railing against the coming North American Union don't realize that these CEOs won't take away their flags or Fourth of July or Star-Spangled Banner. The rags and flags will always be kept around to con the schmucks along the Yahoo Belt into donating their children to the Iraq Occupation or other misadventures. A billionaire like Carlos Slim, the richest man on the planet (sorry, Mr. Gates), didn't buy the Mexican government to "protect" his nation from Gringos but to protect his media monopoly.
So there is no
Barlow said that the
Is Bush just a reluctant participant in this "harmonizing" of our economic fate? The meetings are secret, so I can't say for sure. But I note that, at the opening ceremony, if you read his lips, you can see our president singing the national anthem as, "José, can you see?"
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse: Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.