HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » pampango » Journal
Page: 1


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

Journal Archives

People protesting the reversal of a major foreign/economic policy. That must be a CIA plot.

Yanukovych had campaigned for president in 2010 on a platform of integration with Europe. Throughout 2013 his government steps to achieve that goal by November 29 when the Association Agreement with the EU was to be signed at a conference in Lithuania. As the date approached Yanukovych started to back pedal (although he also issued statements of a continued commitment to integration with Europe) under pressure from Russia.

To coordinate preparation of Ukraine for European integration, the Government of Ukraine adopted a Plan on Priority Measures for European Integration of Ukraine for 2013. Successful implementation of the plan was assumed to be one of the conditions necessary for signing of the Association Agreement, planned for 29 November 2013 during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.

In March 2013, Stefan Fuele, the EU's Commissioner for Enlargement, informed the European Parliament that while Ukrainian authorities had given their "unequivocal commitment" to address the issues raised by the EU, several "disturbing" recent incidents, including the annulment of Tymoshenko's lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko's mandate in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament), could delay the signing of the agreements. However, the next day the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its optimism that they would still be signed in November.

On 7 April 2013 a decree by President Yanukovych freed Lutsenko from prison and exempted him, and his fellow Minister in the second Tymoshenko Government Heorhiy Filipchuk, from further punishment.

On 3 September 2013, at the opening session of the Verkhovna Rada after the summer recess, President Yanukovych urged his parliament to adopt laws so that Ukraine would meet the EU criteria and be able to sign the Association Agreement in November 2013.

On 18 September the Ukrainian cabinet unanimously approved the draft association agreement.

On 25 September 2013 Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Rybak stated that he was sure that his parliament would pass all the laws needed to fit the EU criteria for the Association Agreement since, except for the Communist Party of Ukraine, "the Verkhovna Rada has united around these bills". ... the EU's Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fuele, stated he expected that the Verkhovna Rada would the next day consider and adopt the remaining bills necessary for the signing of the association agreement, planned for 29 November 2013.

The European Parliament's monitoring mission in Ukraine stated (also on 21 November 2013) that there was still a possibility to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The same day Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych stated "an alternative for reforms in Ukraine and an alternative for European integration do not exist...We are walking along this path and are not changing direction".

In the following days, Euromaidan, the biggest protests since the Orange Revolution, were being held in Kiev by opposition parties. On 26 November 2013 the Ukrainian Government admitted that Russia had asked it to delay signing the EU association agreement and that it "wanted better terms for the EU deal". "As soon as we reach a level that is comfortable for us, when it meets our interests, when we agree on normal terms, then we will be talking about signing," President Yanukovych stated in a televised interview. The same day Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an end to the criticism of the Ukrainian decision to delay the association agreement, and that the EU deal was bad for Russia's security interests. Putin was responding to statements by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, that had stated they "strongly disapproved" of Russia's actions. On 26 November 2013 Prime Minister Azarov stated during a government meeting "I affirm with full authority that the negotiating process over the Association Agreement is continuing, and the work on moving our country closer to European standards is not stopping for a single day". President Yanukovych still attended the 28–29 November EU summit in Vilnius but the Association Agreement was not signed. During this summit the European Union and Ukraine initialed an Air Services Agreement. Also during the summit, President Yanukovych stated that Ukraine still wanted to sign the Association Agreement but that it needed substantial financial aid to compensate it for the threatened response from Russia, and he proposed starting three-way talks between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU.


People caring about a reversal of a major policy the government itself had spend months and years pursuing, is not evidence that the resulting protests must be the work of "outside agitators". (That's the term used against civil rights protesters in the US back in the day.)

Not if the labor and environment standards

follow the guidelines.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

Requirements to adhere to fundamental labor rights as recognized by the International Labor Organization, as well as acceptable conditions of work, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as other obligations in TPP;
Rules that will ensure that TPP countries do not waive or derogate from labor laws in a manner that affects trade or investment, including in free trade zones, and that they take initiatives to discourage trade in goods produced by forced labor;
Formation of a consultative mechanism to develop specific steps to address labor concerns when they arise; and
Establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP country is not meeting its labor commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

Strong and enforceable environment obligations, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as other obligations in TPP;
Commitments to effectively enforce domestic environmental laws, including laws that implement multilateral environmental agreements, and commitments not to waive or derogate from the protections afforded in environmental laws for the purpose of encouraging trade or investment;
New provisions that will address wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal fishing practices; and
Establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP member is not meeting its environment commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.


Obama still comes in #3 after FDR and Clinton in stock gains in his first 2,000 days.


As of right now, Obama ranks third behind top finisher Bill Clinton and runner-up Franklin Roosevelt in terms of stock gains, according to our calculations. After Obama, in order, it’s Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. (Yes, Nixon barely made it into the club; he resigned 2,027 days into his presidency amid the Watergate scandal.)

Another surprise, also sure to rankle the right, is that the average stock-market gain under four post-Depression Democrats through each one’s 2,000th day in office has outpaced the average gain of the four Republicans in the era by a factor of nearly 4 to 1. Democratic gains have averaged 133%, while Republican market advances have had a mean of 33%.


Manufacturing jobs have been declining since the 1960's in the US and since the 1970's in every

other developed country. Since the 1960's the only period of increase in manufacturing employment was during the Clinton administration after NAFTA. They had declined steadily for 30 years before Clinton and for 10 years afterwards, just increasing again starting in 2011. To blame a 50-year decline on NAFTA seems to be searching for a boogeyman.

FDR actually proposed an International Trading Organization (ITO) in 1944 (along with the IMF and World Bank) but by the time negotiations were completed republicans controlled congress and would not ratify US participation in the ITO so it died. Who knows if the ITO would have become a reality if FDR had not died in office.

GATT was what created in the FDR/Truman era to promote multilateral control of trade. It was meant to be temporary until the ITO came into force but became permanent when the ITO was rejected by republicans. FDR did not want to see a return to the high tariffs and limited trade of the republican administrations that preceded him. Truman shared his commitment.

FDR created a strong economy and middle class not by going after foreigners and trading with them, but by going after our own 1%. He raised taxes on them, empowered unions, created and strengthened the safety net and regulated the way that banks and corporations did business. He did not blame other countries for our problems. In fact, he increased trade soon after taking office then set up the beginnings of the international trading system that exists today.

"Since 2003, it's not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led

the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors -- China foremost among them -- Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They're beating us with one hand tied behind their back."

European social democracies -- particularly Germany -- have some lessons and models that might make life a lot more livable. Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. But you've heard the arguments for years about how those wussy Europeans can't compete in a global economy. You've heard that so many times, you might believe it. But like so many things, the media repeats endlessly, it's just not true.

Americans don't know how things actually work in European countries. For many people the fact that Germany is neck and neck with China as the number one exporting country -- give or take the rise and fall of currency - must be mind blowing. Even progressives in America don't look overseas for models that work. I find it almost pathological that our exceptionalism infects even those who assume they don't believe in it.

Many Americans think that we've got a trade deficit because we can't compete with China. We've got a trade deficit because we can't compete with Germany in selling things to China. Until people wake up and look at the kinds of things that the Germans are doing to keep their manufacturing base, we're going to continue to run deficits which leave us in the clutches of foreign creditors and compromise our autonomy as a country.

Even progressive Democrats don't have the sophistication of their counterparts on the left in France and Germany in terms of understanding how important it is not to run up a national debt. Here we march against Mexico and put up tariff walls. They don't do that in Europe, they're not that unsophisticated.


Even progressives in America don't look overseas for models that work ... our exceptionalism infects even those who assume they don't believe in it.

Wages in Germany are comparable to and in some industries exceed those of American workers. Germans of course have much stronger unions and social services.

Germany trades with China much more than the US does. Trade with China is a 50% larger part (4.8%) of the German economy than it is in the US (3.2%).

No referendums, of course, but here is a Pew poll from last month.

Americans overall are lukewarm about the two major trade deals under negotiation – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade agreement between the European Union and the U.S., and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade deal between the U.S., Canada and 10 Asian-Pacific countries. About half (53%) of Americans see TTIP as a good thing and 55% say the same about TPP. Democratic support for both treaties is stronger than that of Republicans: 60% of Democrats see TTIP as a good thing compared with 44% of Republicans, while 59% of Democrats look favorably on TPP compared with 49% of Republicans.


While a number of Tea Party Republicans voted in favor of the three Obama-promoted free-trade agreements in 2011, they are viewing the TPP differently because of its magnitude and due to pressure from the Republican base. “Because of its massive size, the TPP has captured a lot more attention from the Right than the Korea pact ever did,” Stamoulis says. “With Republicans’ base much more engaged on the TPP—the Tea Party Nation and others opposing it—I expect to see a lot more Republican opposition this time around, and indeed, we already are seeing that.” The visceral dislike of Obama by many on the Right may add fuel to rightist opposition to the TPP and the fast-track procedure, Stamoulis concedes, but he points out that opposition to corporate-style globalization has been mounting among Republican voters for some time. “Polls showed that Republican voters’ opposition to free-trade agreements existed back during the Bush administration as well,” he notes.


Not really. Suspicion of foreigners - immigration, trade, foreign aid, "us vs them" - might

be part of it. It probably revolves around nationalism/patriotism, at least on a shallow flag-waving kind of level. America = good, foreigners = bad.

It's hard to argue that conservatives don't like 'free trade' agreements due to a perception of the hardship it causes American workers. They don't show such perception with regard to tax policy, fiscal policy, labor policy, safety net policy, corporate regulation policy, etc. Perhaps an economic setback happened to them personally or to someone close to them. They seem to respond to those more than to what happens to 'others'.

If they lose a job or don't get a promotion, it is easier for them to blame a foreigner than it is to figure how American law and culture has weakened unions and labor law and empowered corporations and the wealthy. It is much easier to blame a Mexican or Chinese for their economic hardship than it is to understand how Taft-Hartley and other legislation has weakened unions to an extent not present in any other developed country; or how tax policy has encouraged outsourcing and rewarded rich 'job-creators' while penalizing workers.

It is harder for them to believe that their hardship is the fault of "good ol' American" corporations and "good ol' American" 1% that get richer and richer while they struggle. It must be the poor Chinese worker or the Mexican down the street. FDR was able to explain the connection the power of the American elite and the struggles of the middle class. He did not blame foreigners for our problems and went about taming our own elite. Our current political leadership is not able to do this.

Of course, the talk radio that conservatives listen to plays up these fears and never points the finger at corporations or the 1%.

Of course, he campaigned against and negotiated away most of the high tariffs he inherited

from Hoover and Coolidge.

I think your quote is a fair assessment of his thoughts on tariffs in 1933. After campaigning against high tariffs in 1932 he introduced the RTAA in 1934 which he used to lower tariffs. The quote may have been an expression of his opinion of how limited they should be - compared to the high tariff levels republicans had enacted - since, in the next, year he started to lower them.

And one could argue that his view of tariffs and trade in general evolved over the course of time. As WWII progressed and he envisioned the post-war world, he seemed committed to multilateral organizations that would play a large role in international affairs. The United Nations was the first, proposed in 1942. Then in 1944 his Bretton Woods conference came up with the IMF, the World Bank and the International Trade Organization ("an international institution for the regulation of trade").

I think his later commitment to multilateral governance of international issues was partly a fear that conservatives would regain power in the US and elsewhere and bring about a return to the same high tariffs and isolationism that Coolidge and Hoover had promoted.

From the Roosevelt Institute: The Next New Deal

The driving force behind this effort was FDR's Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, who considered the passage of Smoot-Hawley an unmitigated disaster. Hull had been arguing in favor of freer trade for decades, both as a Democratic congressman and later senator from Tennessee. Given the long-standing protectionist tendencies of Congress -- which reached their zenith with the passage of Smoot-Hawley, the highest tariff in U.S. history -- Hull faced an uphill struggle to accomplish this task. He also had to overcome FDR's initial reluctance to embrace his ideas, as the president preferred the policies of the "economic nationalists" within his administration during his first year in office. By 1934, however, FDR's attitude began to change, and in March of that year the president threw his support behind Hull's proposed Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act -- a landmark piece of legislation that fundamentally altered the way in which the United States carried out foreign economic policy.

Convinced that the country was not ready for a truly multilateral approach to freer trade, Hull's legislation sought to establish a system of bilateral agreements through which the United States would seek reciprocal reductions in the duties imposed on specific commodities with other interested governments. These reductions would then be generalized by the application of the most-favored-nation principle, with the result that the reduction accorded to a commodity from one country would then be accorded to the same commodity when imported from other countries. Well aware of the lingering resistance to tariff reduction that remained in Congress, Hull insisted that the power to make these agreements must rest with the president alone, without the necessity of submitting them to the Senate for approval. Under the act, the president would be granted the power to decrease or increase existing rates by as much as 50 percent in return for reciprocal trade concessions granted by the other country.

It is also important to note that Hull, like many of his contemporaries, including FDR, regarded protectionism as antithetical to the average worker -- first, because in FDR's view high tariffs shifted the burden of financing the government from the rich to the poor, and secondly, because he believed that high tariffs concentrated wealth in the hands of the industrial elite, who, as a consequence, wielded an undue or even corrupting influence in Washington. As such, both FDR and Hull saw the opening up of the world's economy as a positive measure that would help alleviate global poverty, improve the lives of workers, reduce tensions among nations, and help usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. Indeed, by the time the U.S. entered the war, this conviction had intensified to the point where the two men concluded that the root cause of the war was economic depravity.

The U.S. would also champion the 1944 Bretton Woods Accords, which set up the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and after the war, the RTAA would go on to serve as the model for the negotiation of the 1947 General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), the critical institution upon which the modern global economy stands and the precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO) established in 1995. Hence, it was U.S. reciprocal trade policy -- a policy that had changed little since its inception during the New Deal -- combined with a newfound determination to play a leading role in world affairs, that guided U.S. policymakers in the mid-1940s towards a new post-war international economic order -- an economic order still largely in operation to this day.


This is the first time I read that the RTAA actually gave FDR the power to unilaterally raise or lower tariffs up to 50% without congressional approval.

I agree. republicans have no reason to give Obama 'fast track' authority. Without it they can pick

apart any TPP that is submitted to them and remove any good provisions (perhaps on environmental or labor issues) in it and leave just the pro-corporate provisions and maybe insert some new ones for good measure. Obama could veto the resulting republican version of the TPP. Even assuming the veto was not overridden what would all that have accomplished?

They don't like Obama or trust him. Why would republicans want to give him an authority that would then prevent their own republican-dominated congress from picking apart whatever Obama were to submit?

Obama would be a fool to submit the TPP to a republican congress without 'fast track' and republicans have no reason to give it to him. People may or may not like Obama but he is not fool.

As you said, he would just walk away from it now.

The only polls I've found on fast track back up what you say about conservatives.

While opposition is relatively uniform both geographically and demographically, the survey data reveals a sharp partisan divide on the issue. Republicans overwhelmingly oppose giving fast-track authority to the president (8% in favor, 87% opposed), as do independents (20%-66%), while a narrow majority (52%) of Democrats are in favor (35% opposed).


On the issue of trade agreements, divisions within the Republican Party are again apparent. Staunch Conservatives are strongly opposed to granting the president fast-track authority: 76% oppose, only 22% favor. Moderate Republicans and Populist Republicans also oppose this proposal; however, their opposition is more muted. Among Moderate Republicans, 53% oppose, 43% favor; among Populists, 57% oppose, 35% favor.

Democratic groups are more united on this issue. Roughly 50% of Liberals, Socially Conservative Democrats and Partisan Poor favor fast track. New Democrats are more likely than any other typology group to endorse the idea — 61% favor.

Go to Page: 1