Hillary Clinton and Trade Deals: That “Giant Sucking Sound”

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Naked Capitalism has the article Hillary Clinton and Trade Deals: That “Giant Sucking Sound”.

Oopsie. I guess “the little time-out” was over when the Korea deal rolled around. And Clinton at State must have “evaluated” the “proposed agreement” and exercised her “judgment” and given the deal the big thumbs up, or it would not have have passed. And guess what! We — and by “we,” I mean American workers, not the political class — “learned the hard way” again, as 40,000 jobs were lost. Granted, the Korean dealmakers aren’t in NAFTA’s league, where almost 700,000 jobs were lost, but they’re in there punching all the same. Kudos..
NOTE I know Warren says a lot, and good for her, but leftish Democrats have an unfortunate tendency to think that performative utterances are a large subset of speech acts, when in fact they are an extremely small one. “I do” is a performative utterance; it changes a real social relation. A speech on the rubber chicken circuit, or on YouTube, or even at Netroots Nation, no matter how fervent, is not. I am seeing speeches from Warren. I’m not seeing hearings. I’m not seeing investigations. I’m not seeing bills. I’m not seeing things done that legislators do.

The article quotes from Clinton’s new book:

It’s safe to say that the TPP won’t be perfect — no deal negotiated among a dozen countries ever will be — but its higher standards, if implemented and enforced, should benefit American businesses and workers.

This stance sound reasonable until you realize that there is no proof that these secret negotiations include “higher standards” that relate to improving working conditions.  I have only heard about the secret parts that would undermine individual national attempts to improve working conditions.  Is Clinton mouthing platitudes that have no basis in fact?

This is why I think Hillary Clinton is the problem and Elizabeth Warren may be the solution. Note the emphasis on “may”.  I’ll have to follow Elizabeth Warren’s activities in this arena before I can be more sure.

When trade between nations becomes problematic, nations get together to make treaties.  Well, workers’ issues are now problematic, we need to see nations getting together on treaties to solve these problems.

One of the above links is to the article Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton, which lays out the case even more starkly.

Massachusetts Chooses a Governor: Implications for Us All

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The Huffington Post has the interview with Don Berwick Massachusetts Chooses a Governor: Implications for Us All by David Katz, M.D., Director, Yale Prevention Research Center.

Dr. Berwick has himself been a beacon for those of us involved in efforts to reduce the toll of chronic disease. He is credited with developing models of chronic disease care that also save lives and dollars, blending the best of evidence, pragmatism, and humanism. Dr. Berwick’s prominence took him to the helm of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where his efforts, short-lived though they proved to be, garnered widespread admiration among health care professionals.
Question 5: What kind of impact will single-payer have on the economy?

In my travels across Massachusetts, business owners generally don’t talk about taxes or regulations as barriers — instead, they tell me how spiraling health care costs are ruining their competitive edge. Workers, likewise, have seen wages remain stagnant over the past decade as health care eats up larger and larger slices of paychecks. Medicare for all will save both employers and individuals money by replacing the rising and unpredictable costs of private health plans with a small payroll tax to finance health care. The savings come from decreasing the complexity of the payment system, and from a stronger voice for patients and families. Businesses will no longer have to manage the complexity of arranging for health care coverage for their employees; and employers and employees will no longer waste long hours and dollars navigating complex benefit structures to determine what a specific plan will cover and what it will not.

Lower costs will free up resources for businesses to innovate and pay their workers well. Firms will also benefit from the certainty of knowing what they will pay for health care in advance. The result in Massachusetts will be a more attractive climate for businesses to locate in and grow.

Having Don Berwick as Massachusetts Governor may be our  chance to do something really innovative.  Of course, there is no telling from this vantage point if he can be successful, but he has ideas that no leading politician is talking about.

Employer funded health care is just an accident of inflation control policies of World War II.  It makes no sense for the employer nor the employee.  Here is a good chance to fix this historical accident.

New Senate Bill Fails To Address Root Causes of Central American Migration

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The Real News Network has the interview New Senate Bill Fails To Address Root Causes of Central American Migration of David Bacon.

DESVARIEUX: But, David, if you do agree with that premise that you propose, you know, people deserve a decent life, what should we as Americans be focusing our attention on if we really want to deal with this influx of children from Central America? What specific policy should we be pushing our lawmakers to be fighting for?

BACON: Well, I think that we need to stop, for instance, negotiating trade treaties which basically deepen the poverty that exists in Mexico, Central America, and other countries. You know, this administration has negotiated and put into effect three trade treaties. We could go all the way back to the North American Free Trade Agreement that was negotiated by the first president Bush and then signed by Clinton, as a result of which 8 million people came from Mexico to the United States because people really had no alternative if they needed to survive. So that’s one thing that we could do is we could have a much fairer trade regime that existed for the benefit of ordinary people, little people on the ground, rather than for large U.S. corporations.

But I think also that we have to decriminalize migration, decriminalize the movement of people. Instead of seeing that or instead of thinking that the answer to people crossing borders is to put people in prison or to fire them from their jobs or deport them, we need to treat people as we would ourselves expect to be treated as human beings. So I think both of those things are the real alternatives: the decriminalization of migration, and also taking a look at root causes and at least trying to stop doing–do the things that are causing people to lack any alternatives to leaving home in order to survive.

The previous post Three Questions to Ask During a War (and During Peacetime, Too) is apropos here. I think this is all about asking the right questions.

I just wonder when will we start to ask of proposed free trade treaties what is the cost in increased immigration to this county of refugees from the countries with which we sign these treaties?

Yes, a treaty may improve trade so that corporations (that are not people) will prosper, but what is the impact on people (who seek refuge)?

Three Questions to Ask During a War (and During Peacetime, Too)

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Thanks to Sarah Clark for posting a link to the article Three Questions to Ask During a War (and During Peacetime, Too).

The novelist Ursula LeGuin wrote, “There are no right answers to wrong questions.” Responsible education, responsible leadership, and frankly responsible personhood, begins with taking the time to carefully consider the questions we’re asking.

This is an article worth reading again and again over time.  That is why I prefer to post them on my blog rather than only on Facebook.  On my blog, I can search for a post, whereas on Facebook, they tend to be lost after a short time.

I may not live up to things in the above article, but they are something to which I aspire.

The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts

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The UK Independent has the article The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts.

There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted with approval for saying that it is “time for someone to ask Hamas: what exactly are YOU doing to bring prosperity to your people”. The hypocrisy of this beggars belief: it is the seven-year-old Israeli economic siege that has reduced the Gaza to poverty and misery.

On every occasion, the presentation of events by Israeli spokesmen is geared to giving Americans and Europeans the impression that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians and is prepared to compromise to achieve this, when all the evidence is that it does not. Though it was not intended as such, few more revealing studies have been written about modern Israel in times of war and peace.

Well, it works for Republicans in the US, why not for Israel? I guess what drives some of us to dislike and distrust Benjamin Netanyahu so much is that he acts so much like a US Tea Partier that he drives us around the bend.  We think of him as a “compassionate occupier” just as George Bush was a “compassionate conservative”.

In Gaza-Israel Coverage, The New York Times Purveys Pro-War Propaganda on Page One

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I only saw the Truth Out article In Gaza-Israel Coverage, The New York Times Purveys Pro-War Propaganda on Page One just now though it was published Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:42.

The ITIC July 8, 2014, report, “News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 2 – 8, 2014),” states: “For the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense [November 2012], Hamas participated in and claimed responsibility for rocket fire [on July 7, 2014].”

Thus, Hamas rocket fire only restarted on July 7 after a 19-month cease-fire. As we will see, this was nearly a month after Israeli forces launched massive military operations in the West Bank and Gaza starting on June 12. But those Israeli military operations were not the only provocation.

If I had seen this article earlier today, I could have saved myself the effort of doing the research for my previous blog post Some Recent History On The Israeli Chicken and the Gaza Egg.

Although it is important to understand the feelings and motivations of the protagonists, the exact lies or truths told by either side are not as important as finding a way out of this mess.

In trying to figure out what could motivate Hamas to retaliate against Israel even knowing that they are going to take a pounding for such retaliation, I could only figure that they at least could feel they were doing something rather than just acquiescing to these unjust punishments.  What didn’t dawn on me then was  they might decide that if Israel is going to attack no matter what they do, they might as well make Israel pay  for it.  Of course that just means that we US tax payers are going to pay for it too, since we supply money and arms to Israel.  Our military/industrial complex must love this gift that keeps on giving.

Some Recent History On The Israeli Chicken and the Gaza Egg

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At this point in the conflict figuring out who is responding to whom is like  trying to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg.  (That’s a metaphor.  I don’t want to start a discussion on chickens and eggs.)

What brings this thought to mind is The Real News Network interview Is Israeli Public Opinion Turning after 700 Palestinian Deaths?  The following quote is what struck me:

TARACHANSKY: Well, I have to remind our viewers a little bit of the timeline of this escalation, this little war. Israel has been bombing the Gaza Strip throughout its entire operation “bring back our boys” in the West Bank. So while they were looking for those who kidnapped these three teenagers in the West Bank, they began bombing Gaza intensely for two weeks, long before the war ever started.

By the time Hamas actually decided to respond, two weeks had passed.

I decided to do a little useless research to see if this statement could be corroborated.  I label the research as useless because no matter what I find it won’t change anybody’s attitude about anything.  So the rest of this story is only for people with useless, idle curiosity.

To put a meaning and a date to “bring back our boys”, I found The Jerusalem Post has the June 14, 2014 article ‘Bring Back Our Boys’ campaign inspires hope.

Launched by the University of Haifa Ambassadors Network, the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has gone viral, receiving up to 2,800 tweets per hour according to hashtag.org, a media analytics website.

From the article, I infer the kidnapping occurred Thursday night, June 12, 2014.

Then I tried to pinpoint Israel’s first attack on Gaza in this latest series.  I found the July 1, 2014 Reuters article  Israel bombs Gaza sites hours after bodies of Israeli teens found.

What is the connection between the Gaza bombing and the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys in the West Bank?  Here is one interpretation.

New York Magazine has the article  It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All [Updated]

Israeli police Mickey Rosenfeld tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership. Seems to contradict the line from Netanyahu government.
Israeli police spokes Mickey Rosenfeld also said if kidnapping had been ordered by Hamas leadership, they’d have known about it in advance.

The Daily Star in Lebanon has the article Hamas not complicit in teens’ kidnap: Israeli police July 26.

BEIRUT: The Israeli Police Foreign Press Spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, appears to have falsified the Israeli government’s claim that Hamas was responsible for the killing of three Israeli settler teens in June, by saying responsibility lies with a lone cell that operated without the complicity of Hamas’ leadership.
At the time Israeli authorities placed the blame squarely on Hamas, with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu saying “They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals in human form. Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay.”Friday however, there appeared to be break in the official line when BBC journalist Jon Donnison tweeted a series of statements he attributed to the Israeli Police Foreign Press Spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld.

Jon Donnison is the source of the quote in The New York Magazine quote above.  So the blame on Gaza seems to have come from the mouth of Benyamin Netantahu.  The first retaliation on Gaza for the act that they did not commit came no later than July 1, 2014.

When did the rocket attacks from Gaza start?  The history of rocket attacks is documented on a blog site idfblog, in the article Rocket Attacks on Israel From the Gaza Strip. Whether or not this site is an authoritative site from the Israeli Defense Force or not, I have not researched.

Wikipedia has List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2014. Since there are rockets from Gaza off and on almost daily, you have to interpret the data to decide when the retaliation might have started.  I’d say the escalation began around July 7 with 80 attacks.  The source for the number 80 is a retweet from “IDFSpokesperson”. I think the 80 actually happened on July 6 according to the retweet.

If you believe any of this, then it seems that the Gaza rocket attack starting on July 6 is a retaliation for an Israeli bombing of Gaza no later than July 1.  So, if you believe this, does it make any difference to you?  No, I thought not.

DOJ Trains AUSAs to Chase Mice While Lions Roam the Campsite

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New Economic Perspectives has the article DOJ Trains AUSAs to Chase Mice While Lions Roam the Campsite by William K. Black.

According to the article, Attorney general Eric Holder appointed Benjamin Wagner as the Department Of Justice’s leader on mortgage fraud.

Black cites a quote from Wagner.

“Benjamin Wagner, a U.S. Attorney who is actively prosecuting mortgage fraud cases in Sacramento, Calif., points out that banks lose money when a loan turns out to be fraudulent. ‘It doesn’t make any sense to me that they would be deliberately defrauding themselves,’ Wagner said.”

If you don’t understand why this statement makes Wagner a totally inept leader on mortgage fraud, then you need to read the article.

Wagner makes the Supreme Court mistake.  Corporations are not  people.  People commit fraud to line their own pockets, not necessarily the pockets of the corporation for which they work.  If a top criminal attorney can understand the crime of  embezzlement, then he ought to be able to understand that “control fraud” is one way to commit that crime.  If it makes no sense to him, you have to wonder if he was sleeping during that lecture in law school.

Does this ignorance of how crime is committed go all the way up the chain of command through Eric Holder and on to President Obama?  That is what makes no sense to me.  I am still mystified as to how these smart people are willing to let themselves appear so dumb.

Maybe these politicians aren’t so dumb after all.  The majority of voters don’t seem to have figured out the magnitude of the crimes these people are allowing to go unpunished.

Cover-up in the Air – What Would Reagan Do?

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The Daily Show has the video segment “Cover-up in the Air – What Would Reagan Do?”

The Daily Kos article has, Jon Stewart exposes GOP lies about Reagan’s response to downed airliner, this excerpt from the video.

Yes, Reagan was in deep mourning for losing the final 12% of his vacation. In fact, in 1988, when the U.S. accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner, also under Reagan’s watch, Reagan refused to end that vacation early.

And by the way, America was so torn up about shooting down that plane, that the commander of the ship who did it later received a medal for his service. I believe it was called the silver….

I used to hate it when Tim Russert had a standard operating procedure of carrying out interviews based on gotcha clips and quotes from the interviewee’s past. In this case, the gotcha seemed worthwhile for refreshing people’s memories.

Ironically, Chris Wallace is the one with the memory. He actually seems to care that he once had pretense of being a reporter. I wonder if the Faux Hoise panel will even remember what Chris Wallace had to say.

Watch: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Emotional Speech on Child Migrants

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Mother Jones has the article Watch: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Emotional Speech on Child Migrants.

“My faith teaches,” he said, fighting back tears, “that if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him but rather love him as yourself.”

in the Mother Jones article, the video they include starts at about the 5 minute mark of the YouTube video below.

There is nothing I could say that would be better than what is said in this video.