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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

Journal Archives

Reich: A leader brings out the best in his followers. A demagogue brings out the worst.

A leader brings out the best in his followers. A demagogue brings out the worst. Leaders inspire tolerance. Demagogues incite hate.

Leaders empower the powerless; they give them voice and respect. Demagogues scapegoat the powerless; they use scapegoating as a means to fortify their power. Leaders calm peoples’ irrational fears. Demagogues exploit them.

Back to the current crop of Presidential candidates: Who are the leaders, and who are the demagogues? The leaders have sought to build bridges with those holding different views.

Rand Paul spoke at Berkeley, for example, seeking common ground with the university’s mostly-progressive students. Bernie Sanders traveled to Liberty University where most students and faculty disagree with his positions on gay marriage and abortion.


Almost needless to say, Reich goes on to explain how Trump and Carson fall into the demagogue category. He could have listed practically every republican candidate if he had wanted to.

Reich: The 4 Big Lies About Immigrants - and The Truth (Trump is wrong)

MYTH: Immigrants take away American jobs.

Wrong. Immigrants add to economic demand, and thereby push firms to create more jobs.

MYTH: We don’t need any more immigrants.

Baloney. The U.S. population is aging. Twenty-five years ago, each retiree in America was matched by 5 workers. Now for each retiree there are only 3 workers. Without more immigration, in 15 years the ratio will fall to 2 workers for every retiree, not nearly enough to sustain our retiree population.

MYTH: Immigrants are a drain on public budgets.

Bull. Immigrants pay taxes! The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a report this year showing undocumented immigrants paid $11.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2012 and their combined nationwide state and local tax contributions would increase by $2.2 billion under comprehensive immigration reform.

MYTH: Legal and illegal immigration is increasing.

Wrong again. The net rate of illegal immigration into the U.S. is less than zero. The number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. has declined from 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.3 million now, according to Pew Research Center.


Reich's advice is not to let demagogues blame the problems of the middle class on immigrants (legal and illegal) when the real problem is that the game is rigged by the 1% who love having the blame shifted onto poor people.

From Japan: TPP sets limit on corporate suits

The Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact limits the period for foreign companies to file damages lawsuits against host states over sudden regulatory changes to 3½ years, Jiji Press learned Wednesday.

The limit, included in a TPP provision on investor-state dispute settlement, is designed to prevent abuse of litigation by multinational businesses. ISDS gives the legal basis for foreign businesses to challenge sudden changes in host country regulations.

Japan and the United States had pushed for the introduction of ISDS in an effort to help their companies go overseas. They successfully persuaded Australia and other reluctant countries by proposing the limit.

The ISDS provision allows member governments to introduce regulations about medical care and the environment at their own discretion. The provision also states that member governments will not be forced to change regulations even if they lose lawsuits from foreign businesses.


I wonder if Japan has published the full text of the TPP or how does anyone know what the ISDS rules are in the agreement? If - a big IF - "member governments will not be forced to change regulations even if they lose lawsuits from foreign businesses" - that would be a big deal.

New Pew poll: Attitudes of Canadians and Americans on XL pipeline and TPP

What Canada’s new government might mean for U.S. relations

In our most recent survey, Canadians are split: 42% favor building the pipeline, while 48% are against it. Among Liberal supporters, 45% approve of the pipeline, with a nearly identical 46% opposed. Conservative Party backers are much more enthused by the project (72% support it), while backers of the left-leaning, social-democrat New Democratic Party (22%) are least supportive.

In the U.S., there’s more public support for the Keystone pipeline, but it’s largely split along party lines. According to a November 2014 Pew Research survey, 59% of Americans support building the pipeline. But there’s greater support among Republicans (83%) than Democrats (43%).

TPP, a new trade agreement that seeks to reduce tariffs between the U.S., Canada and 10 other Asia-Pacific nations, has garnered public support in both Canada and the U.S. In Canada, six-in-ten Liberal supporters say TPP is a good thing for Canada, and seven-in-ten say this among the country’s Conservatives. Among NDP supporters, however, only 42% think the massive trade deal is a boon for Canada.

In the U.S., 49% support the trade deal. In Canada, those who back the more liberal Democratic Party are more supportive of the pact (51% say it is a good thing for the U.S.) than are those with the more conservative Republican Party (43%).


Treasury: China not manipulating currency


The Treasury Department has ruled this week that China’s currency is not being manipulated for unfair trade advantage despite Beijing’s devaluation of the renminbi in August.
"Since this move, the [renminbi] depreciated 2.3 percent against the dollar through September," Treasury said in the congressionally mandated semi-annual report released late Monday. "The change in the foreign exchange regime, together with the signs of the slowing growth in China, created market expectations that the RMB would depreciate further against the dollar in the short-run."

China said it made the change in its exchange rate to bring the renminbi, also called the yuan, in line with market forces. But the move caught markets by surprise and renewed calls in Congress for the Obama administration to take a tougher line against currency manipulation, both with China and in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Treasury noted that the RMB has appreciated nearly 30 percent since June 2010 but emphasized that "further currency appreciation" is key to China shifting its domestic economy to a greater reliance on household consumption and less on exports and investment to fuel growth.


The whole Treasury report is at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/international/exchange-rate-policies/Documents/2015-10-19%20(FXR)_FINAL.PDF

Krugman has said essentially the same thing:

China 2015 Is Not China 2010

If there is a central policy theme to Donald Trump’s candidacy other than immigration — actually, there isn’t, but there are some particular things he bellows about — it’s China-bashing. The unifying principle is probably xenophobia; but anyway, China’s currency moves are about to become a US political issue. And pretty soon, I expect, people will point out that some liberals also used to complain about Chinese currency manipulation.

But that was a while ago — mainly in 2010. And the underlying situation has changed, a lot.

First of all, China has experienced a very large real appreciation since 2011, partly due to higher inflation than in its trading partners, partly because its dollar peg means that it has tagged along with the rising dollar (which was supposed to plunge due to QE, but never mind):

So if The Donald occasionally sounds like me five years ago, bear in mind that stuff has happened over those five years; I’ve noticed, but he probably hasn’t.


I imagine that Trump has 'noticed' the appreciation in China's currency but chooses not to mention it for political reasons.

Orrin Hatch not happy about TPP. May strip out 'fast track' and force renegotiation.

Orrin Hatch holds cards on trade deal
One of Congress' strongest trade boosters is critical of the landmark Asian-Pacific deal — and well-positioned to delay or kill it if he decides to do so.

No one fought harder to give President Barack Obama trade promotion authority to complete a landmark 12-nation deal than Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch. Now, no lawmaker may be more disappointed with the result — or better positioned to torpedo the deal if he chooses to oppose it.

Despite fast-track rules, though, congressional approval of the deal is far from certain. By securing language sought by Democrats — settling for far less than 12 years of monopoly protection for biologics, for instance, and barring tobacco companies from being able to sue countries for financial losses related to antismoking laws — the administration managed to tick off Republicans, among them Hatch, who accounted for the bulk of support for fast track authority.

In the case of TPP, if Hatch decides to oppose it, the White House would probably think twice about submitting it for a vote. But if the administration went forward anyway, Hatch could pursue two options to force it back to the negotiating table by stripping “fast-track” protections from the deal.

Both options are built into the TPA law. One allows both chambers to adopt a "procedural disapproval resolution" within 60 days of each other, asserting the White House did not adequately notify or consult Congress, or that the Asia-Pacific trade deal “fails to make progress in achieving the purposes, policies, priorities, and objectives” of the trade promotion law. The second option would allow either the House or the Senate to strip "fast track" procedures in that chamber only. To begin that process, the Senate Finance Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee would have to send the pact to the floor with a "negative recommendation," urging it be rejected, which would be subject to normal rules.


Several of the TPP countries have said recently they will not renegotiate the recently completed negotiations so Hatch could effectively kill it this way.

A psychological perspective on Trump's appeal to his base.

From a psychological perspective, though, the people backing Trump are perfectly normal. Interviews with psychologists and other experts suggest one explanation for the candidate's success -- and for the collective failure to anticipate it: The political elite hasn't confronted a few fundamental, universal and uncomfortable facts about the human mind.

We like people who talk big.

We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren't.

And we don't like people who don't look like us.

The world can feel like a complicated place. There may be no good answers to the problems we confront individually and as a society. It is hard to know whom or what to believe. Things are changing, and the future might be different in unpredictable ways. For many people, this uncertainty is deeply unpleasant. That desire is especially strong among social conservatives, research shows. They want answers, more so than other people.

In particular, humans tend to assume that if one group is getting more, another group must be getting less. We have a hard time understanding that two groups can both be getting more of something at the same time. Call it a cognitive blindspot, or a psychological illusion. Trump has appealed to people who could be especially averse to the presence of immigrants in their communities. The notion that improving the lives of immigrants would also help people living here already is profoundly counterintuitive, experts say, and that could be one reason that so many people find Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric so persuasive.


WTO meeting to extend poorest countries' exemption from drug patents due to expire on 1/1/16.

The World Trade Organization's intellectual property council begins a meeting today where countries could determine how to renew a waiver that allows the trade group's 34 least-developed countries to be exempt from drug patents. The waiver, which has existed since at least 2002, is due to expire at the start of 2016 and the poorer countries want it brought back with an unlimited length of time — or at least until their incomes rise to an acceptable level. The European Union, a key WTO member, supports that position.

But the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and other countries think the waiver should be limited to a number of years, as it has been in the past.


Surprise. Surprise. The EU takes the liberal position that the poorest countries should be exempt from drug patents indefinitely while the US and others want a limit to the number of years.

Top pharmaceutical industry executives walked out of a meeting at the White House late Thursday


Top pharmaceutical industry executives walked out of a meeting at the White House late Thursday unmoved on their disappointment that the landmark trade pact falls short of their demands for 12 years of monopoly protection for biologic medicines.

Now the compromise threatens to blow up the deal in Congress. “A good compromise usually results in something of greater overall value for all the parties involved,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “And, at least according to the information now available, it is unclear whether this administration achieved that kind of outcome for American innovators.”

Besides expressing frustration with the deal, the drug industry hasn’t yet indicated how it will play its cards. One industry source said pharma wants to see all the details of the deal in writing first, adding its strategy is pretty “formless,” right now.


"... One industry source said pharma wants to see all the details of the deal in writing ..." Wouldn't we all. Something tells me they have seen a lot more of it than most of the rest of us have, at least the parts that pertain to their industry.

"The violence of the Assad regime is the main cause of the refugee crisis."

The removal of Assad (51%) and ISIS (43%) would motivate refugees to return to Syria.

Perhaps most of us are so shocked and morally offended by the actions of ISIS that we forget how long Assad has been terrorizing Syrians. Apparently the refugees have not forgotten.

Thanks for posting this survey, DetlefK. I would never has come across it otherwise.
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