Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Keeps on Ticking

Online counters that are designed to be posted on blogs and other websites are used for a number of political purposes from tracking the national deficit to tallying fatalities in Iraq. This online ticker that tracks Colombian tariffs and publicizes the country's unwillingness to participate in free trade agreements is actually posted on a government website for the US Department of Agriculture, a site that also presents this PowerPoint slideshow about the subject that was apparently intended somehow to appear on paper bags. The page also has a jab at the Democratic congress from the executive branch, since it includes a tag line that argues that "foreign policy" is too important to be left to "politicians." As the press release that accompanies the ticker explains, it is intended to spur legislation and attack the administration's opponents as partisan operatives:

Today, the Bush Administration launched a tool for Americans to see just how much money is being paid to Colombia in tariffs for our products going into their country, while the Colombian products arrive on our shores duty free!

President Bush sent Congress legislation to implement the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. (FTA) The House changed the rules in the middle of the game, delaying a vote to implement the agreement. This important agreement would provide a level playing field for America's farmers, ranchers and businesses. Instead, the House is continuing to work against the best interests of the American people.

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