MAI: Free-Trade Issue to Divide Democrats

I am puzzled by the article "Democrats' Values Moving to Suburbs" (Aug. 27). Why didn't your story alert the public to the issue that will really cause dissension in the party - President Clinton's plan to "fast track" the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) through Congress this September?

If successful, this un-democratic agreement will directly affect consumers all over the world. It will give corporations, especially trans-national corporations, the right to put the financial interests of shareholders ahead of consumer rights. MAI will allow them to sue governments directly for perceived infringements of their corporate right to seek the highest return on their investment. MAI has been nicknamed "NAFTA on steroids."

Surely, it's the media's responsibility to advise tax-paying consumers, who will be affected by this legislation before its too late.

Already, the European Commission has seen fit to initiate a suit against the Massachusetts Burma selective purchasing law under the provisions of the WTO agreement on Government Procurement. Under the law, the Commonwelath of Massachusetts has agreed to not purchase items made in Burma.

Isn't this incredible? A group of European bureaucrats using an obscure provision of a WTO treaty to dictate how a state legislature should spend its taxpayers' money! I fear that this kind of unfair and unwarranted attack on our democratic system would be only too common under MAI.

This sort of global greed lubricates a race to the bottom, political unrest, and environmental disaster.

Paul Brailsford

Ipswich, Mass.

Liberal press goes against the tide

The article "News Media Seek Credibility" (Aug. 27), on the continuing decline in American newspaper readership and the shrinking attention the public gives the news media, has a notable statement: It advises journalists to regain their "essential mission [of] giving the public the information it needs to navigate in a democratic society."

A factor in the declines has surely been that too many journalists think it is their mission to further a Democrat (capital D) society. Witness the rise in popularity of conservative talk radio shows. Radio allows citizens to bypass the dominant media that gives a liberal slant to all their reporting. The giants of American media were schooled in liberalism but are being left high and dry by a waning tide. Witness the general decline of leftist governments and the rise of capitalism around the world.

These trends do not mean that the liberal journalists have lost all their power and influence. Witness the little firestorms they were able to create surrounding the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas and the financial disclosures of Newt Gingrich, as well as the media's thus-far successful prevention of flames erupting from the smoke swirling around the numerous ethical lapses of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and the Democrat Party.

Don Boyd

Indianapolis, Ind.

Demonstrating religion at work

With respect to the opinion essay headed "The Right Way to Accomodate Religion at Work" (Aug. 19): It seems obvious the only way is to LIVE it, NOT to preach it nor to display it in the guise of posters, painting, or whatever.

Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 sums it up best: " the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: Against such there is no law." Nor any need for law!

Regina Smaridge

Winter Park, Fla.

Brown uniform is not a brown shirt

Regarding the headline to the story on the UPS strike - "Labor Lauds Return of Brown Shirts" (Aug. 20): Ouch! I am not sure that the UPS folks like being called "brown shirts." My history is weak, but I believe Hitler's SS storm troopers were called brown shirts.

Michael Dodson

Tallahassee, Fla.

Your letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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