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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
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That is quite likely. It may well be that Democrats generally support engagement with the world -

building bridges as it were - while republicans are more often suspicious of such engagement - building walls to keep the world away.

I suppose one could make the same observation about inadequate knowledge with polls conducted on the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear agreement and a host of other complicated agreements. If I were polled on the Paris agreement my response would probably be based on my attitude towards international cooperation to deal with climate change rather than on the specific chapters of the agreement. My guess if that is what happens when the public is polled regarding the TPP.

I have never seen any poll which showed the republican base was not more opposed to any international agreement - trade, climate, arms exports, disability rights and on and on - than were Democrats. Perhaps this is a legacy of FDR and his array of international organizations created after WWII. Perhaps it more fundamental than that and lies in how liberals view the world compared to the conservative worldview.

The poll I posted does not 'prove' anything other than that the statement I was responding to - "... the majority of Americans (Dems/Repubs) are against the TPP" - is unproven without more evidence.

"It's so fun to watch that it's easy to lose sight of how terrifying it really is."

Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he's a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he's also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it's hard to know if he even realizes he's lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.

He rose to prominence in the Republican Party as a leader of the birther movement. He climbed to the top of the polls in this election by calling Mexicans rapists and killers. He defended a poor debate performance by accusing Megyn Kelly of being on her period. He responded to rival Ted Cruz's surge by calling for a travel ban on Muslims. When two of his supporters attacked a homeless man and said they did it because "Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported," he brushed off complaints that he's inspiring violence by saying his supporters are "very passionate."

Behind Trump's success is an unerring instinct for harnessing anger, resentment, and fear. His view of the economy is entirely zero-sum — for Americans to win, others must lose. "We're going to make America great again," he said in his New Hampshire victory speech, "but we're going to do it the old-fashioned way. We're going to beat China, Japan, beat Mexico at trade. We're going to beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us on a daily basis. It's not going to happen anymore."

Trump answers America's rage with more rage. As the journalist Molly Ball observed, "All the other candidates say 'Americans are angry, and I understand.' Trump says, 'I’M angry.'" Trump doesn't offer solutions so much as he offers villains. His message isn't so much that he'll help you as he'll hurt them.

It's a great article. Thanks for posting it, KamaAina.

Americans are smarter than Europeans. We KNOW those are impossible. They

have not figured that out yet.

Neither have Europeans figured out that high/progressive taxes impoverish a society; lots of trade dooms the middle class and unions; strong safety nets cause people to be unwilling to work, preferring to sit home on 'welfare'; and being able to travel, live and work in neighboring countries means your own country is not really a country at all and there's a race to the bottom.

That's my 'American exceptionalism' justification anyway for why Europeans just don't comprehend things that we American know to be true.

The Psychology of Germany's refugee response: From Auschwitz directly to Munich's main station

Will she jump?
All across Europe Merkel's refugee policy is considered by many to be crazy. But it’s not all that simple. The Chancellor is following a strategy. And a very high risk one at that.

A sudden outbreak of sympathy built up over time. And then in response to the question as to why the country initially gave in to this insanity, there is a psychoanalytical answer: the German people, weighed down by their traumatic past, wanted to free themselves from their stigma and consequently ended up with a completely irrational Willkommenskultur (the positive message of welcoming migrants). From Auschwitz directly to Munich's main station as it were.

Ultimately it all started very sensibly. From Merkel’s point of view the situation presented itself as follows: the Middle East is in absolute chaos, a large number of people will, for the foreseeable future, be fleeing towards Europe. Germany is the strongest country in Europe with the biggest demographic problem; a closed-borders policy would be hugely damaging - economically given Germany’s position as the world’s leading exporter and morally because any policy towards the refugees which could be seen as hard-hearted would be held against the German people much more than anyone else. Besides, integrating Turkish Muslims has, on balance, been a good experience. And last but not least, the previous few years have shown us that the majority of people are truly willing to help. So why not have a go at introducing a modern refugee policy to Europe, shouldering the biggest burden yourself in order to then distribute them fairly?

Therein lies the problem which political scientists call the "tragedy of the commons." Applied to Europe and refugee policy it means that the best situation for everyone would naturally be for the refugees to be more or less fairly distributed and the strain on each individual country would then be less significant. As long as, however, at least one country accepts limitless numbers of refugees, for the rest it’s rational and very simple at that to either wave them through or turn them away. This is how this fatal dynamic emerged: those who turn away the refugees quickly find themselves in a better situation than those who accept them and find themselves in a worse and worse situation, which in turn vindicates those wanting to close the borders and angers those accepting refugees.

And something else has also been added to the mix, something epochal. The pressure on the refugee policy is, therefore, so immense because people are gradually starting to realise that globalisation has reached a point at which a few old debts are now due to be repaid. Initially, a debt between the developed and developing world and consequently, now between the rich and the poor in the developed world. This sounds abstract and yet has thrown the US election race out of joint. Donald Trump has made an attractive racist offer to the electorate: the debt won’t be repaid because we will keep out all these criminals, rapists, freeloaders and terrorists (no Hispanic and Muslim people) and live as we have done up until now. The Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, currently putting pressure on Hillary Clinton, has made his own attractive (and more respectable offer). He says: yes, we have to share what we have with the migrants but for that we have to get tough on the rich.


If You Think Europe Has a Refugee Crisis, You’re Not Looking Hard Enough (Sweden is #9)

Europe isn’t the front line of the world’s refugee crisis. Media reports rife with images of people trailing through Hungarian fields and crowding onto rickety Mediterranean fishing boats would have us think that it is. Yet the global reality is starkly different. As the following data show, the overwhelming majority of displaced people are living in countries that don’t really have the resources to host them — a trend that’s unlikely to abate and one that has ominous implications for the future.

Consider Jordan. ... despite its small size and limited coffers, Jordan is being swamped by refugees, bearing the brunt of a double whammy from the Syrian civil war and the continuing conflict in Iraq. It was hosting some 685,000 internationally displaced people by mid-2015, a massive burden for a country with a population of 6.6 million. (Translate that fraction to the United States, and we’d be talking about more than 30 million refugees.) In fact, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that Jordan is ranked second in the world for the number of refugees (90) per 1,000 inhabitants. The top country is Lebanon, with a staggering 209.

None of this is to say that what’s happening farther north, in Europe, isn’t an emergency. Brussels, however, has the capacity to address it. In fact, the challenge posed by refugees could actually serve as a positive impetus for Europe to catch up on some long-neglected homework: bolstering controls on its external borders, deepening political integration, and taking serious moves toward common foreign and security policies. If successfully handled — to the satisfaction of voters — those steps could breathe new life into the European idea and even spur growth; refugees and migrants could help compensate for the graying of European societies and for stalling entrepreneurship.

By contrast, there is relatively little that Jordan, Ethiopia, and other countries hosting most of the world’s displaced can do to stem or prevent crisis. At least, they can’t do what’s needed on their own. The world’s richest countries — including those that, like the United States, Canada, and Japan, are somewhat protected by geography from the full force of migration patterns — must come to terms with the fact that the magnitude of current displacement dictates a need for a truly global approach. That means more fairly divvying up the responsibilities of giving refugees homes, putting money in UNHCR’s woefully underfunded accounts, and working to create and support peace and prosperity in countries that crave it.


There a couple of great bar graphs that I could not get to copy here. They show the number of refugees in the most burdened countries compared to national population and national GDP.

Sweden comes in #9 in terms of refugees per capita of national population. Malta is #10. No other European countries are in the top 15. Not surprisingly, neither is any other Western country. Naturally, where GDP is concerned no Western country, European or other, is in the top 15.

"None of this is to say that what’s happening farther north, in Europe, isn’t an emergency." We all agree that Europe has its problems with the influx of refugees but we should not forget the even greater magnitude of problems in poorer countries. And reports are that conditions in these refugee camps are deteriorating which will motivate more people to move.

Anti-smoking groups come to Obama’s aid on trade deal

Public health groups are pressing Democrats to back a controversial Pacific Rim trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other groups are backing the deal because of language that carves out tobacco companies from using the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s dispute settlement system. The rare carve-out blocks tobacco companies from suing when foreign governments restrict labels on cigarette packaging.

Gregg Haifley, the federal relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said the tobacco provision goes right to the heart of what Democrats have demanded in trade agreements: reducing global tobacco use while protecting the sovereignty of governments from expensive and unwarranted litigation.

Inclusion of the carve-out in the TPP was a big win for anti-smoking groups, but it is costing President Obama some valuable Republican votes in Congress as he seeks to win approval of the deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned the administration not to include the carve-out. McConnell has said that the deal may not get a vote until the lame-duck session, after the November elections. And several Republicans from Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia say they will oppose the TPP because of the language.

While they won’t name any names and can’t point to any lawmaker statements of support, they say that Democrats have told them in conversations on Capitol Hill that the tobacco provision will be a very important consideration in their vote. “Most Democrats are still making up their minds as they weigh the actual impact on their constituents,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in an interview. “But there will be more support for the Pacific deal than people expect,” he said.


I haven't seen any such positive reviews of the TPP from environmental and labor groups.

Great post. A lot of useful information. n/t

Look out Coolidge! Look out Hoover! America's Rich May Soon Blow Past Roaring Twenties Tycoons

Thomas Piketty and Joseph Stiglitz: What’s really causing the startling gap between haves and have-nots? Is it mechanical market forces? Outsourcing? Real estate? As Taylor sees it, economists have gotten the answer wrong. Worker exploitation and outsized business profits are factors, but even more key are the unjustified payments to the wealthy generated by our outsized financial sector. This hasn’t just “happened.” Flawed economic theory and politicians beholden to the rich lead to policies that make it happen. We can fix the problem, but it will take bold steps.

The existing social order does not necessarily guarantee that the rich will get richer (remember Keynes on the essential uncertainty of the future). But even if they do, a stiff tax on capital gains could be used to build up a socially-oriented wealth fund that would help offset that.

Look at Norway’s “oil fund,” which takes a cut of petroleum revenues and invests the money while giving a small annual pay-out from its investment returns. An example closer to home is California’s CalPERS retirement fund. The key point is that such funds can save at a higher rate than wealthy households, amassing market power and potentially using capital income for social purposes.

In the labor market, real wages of employees have lagged productivity growth, which is why the profit share for the boss has gone up. Outsourcing has played some role, but policies and legal interpretations (think of so-called “right to work” legislation and attacks on public sector unions) that reduce labor’s bargaining power have been more important. Recreating that power could reverse the trends and slow the accumulation of wealth. Our studies and others suggest that simply raising taxes on the rich and transferring the proceeds downward in the income distribution will not have a large immediate effect on distribution, but the impacts could cumulate over time.

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