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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,157

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The Left imagines a "more democratic EU". So do I. The far-right imagines no EU at all.

... building bridges across Europe, bringing democrats together across borders and political parties, is what Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss.

... though we tried, we could not convince to people of Britain to stay.”

I could not agree more. And I am heartened that the Left campaigned for Remain. I agree with them on that, too.

The question is whether the victory for Brexit brings a "democratic EU" closer or whether it brings the far-right vision of no EU and a xenophobic hyper-nationalism 1930's-like closer. The fact that the Left campaigned for Remain answers that question but does not change the victory for the far-right. We need to deal with that.

A more democratic EU would lead to an open, liberal continent governed together in the long run. The far-right would hate that and will work for their own "Brexit" referendums in the near future. The momentum is now on their side.

What Trump and Brexit have in common.

How Donald Trump Explains ‘Brexit’

Let’s start with immigration. Among Republicans, Trump has tapped into a deep vein of anti-immigrant, pro-nativist sentiment, promising to seal the country’s borders and threatening to deport millions of people. ... Similarly, those voting for Brexit tend to worry about immigration making England less English, and about immigrants taking Britons’ jobs. “Citizens of regions where immigration is perceived as damaging are much more likely to vote for Brexit,” one study found.

Immigration is certainly fair game for a policy debate, but beyond the legitimate questions there’s a dark underbelly to the anti-immigrant sentiment driving both the Donald’s astonishing rise in the United States and Brexit’s surprising success. Trump is openly xenophobic and racist, intentionally riling up his supporters in the worst ways and encouraging them to embrace and express their own bigotries. That's a dangerous road for any nation to start down. Some leaders of Brexit are openly xenophobic and racist and are using the same tactics. It makes fair-minded observers wonder what the real point is here: modest changes in immigration policy, or the rejection of the values that allow for a pluralistic society?

Then there is the issue of antipathy toward elites. Trump is a rich and connected New Yorker, a Wharton grad, and the coddled inheritor of a real-estate fortune, sure. Nevertheless, with his middle finger raised to the Republican Establishment and to common standards of propriety, he has ridden a wave of distaste for the more buttoned-up masters of the universe. ... Similarly, the leave campaign has painted the remain campaign as urbane, out of touch, and beholden to a bunch of inept pencil pushers in Brussels, and has argued against trusting experts, elites, the powerful. “People in this country have had enough of experts,” said Michael Gove, the justice secretary and a leader of the leave movement.

Now, they might have a point on some of that. But in both cases, this anti-elite sentiment seems to have morphed into a blithe anti-empiricism. (Numbers are only for technocrats these days, it seems.) ... Trump’s policy proposals are the most banana-pants, math-challenged economic fantasy imaginable: He promises to pay off the national debt while also cutting taxes, insists a crippling trade war would help the economy, and so on. His supporters seem not to care. Be wary of political causes that are unfazed by facts that would seem to undercut their core assertions.


Facts and science have a liberal bias. Neither conservatives in the US nor 'Brexit' supporters in the UK base their cases on facts.

Interview with white nationalist Trump supporter (ex-delegate)

The white supremacist who became a Donald Trump delegate has some surprising thoughts on women

The epic battle from here on out is not the battle between progressives and conservatives, which has occupied the media and the politicians for the last 40 years. From here on out, the battle is between the globalists and the nationalists.

Donald Trump promotes a nationalist platform, and the rest of the mainstream—whether it’s the Mitt Romney Republicans, or the Hillary Clinton Democrats—they promote the globalist platform. That’s the epic battle everyone’s dealing with, and Donald Trump—Donald Trump is the herald, the leader, the founder of the resurgence of the nationalist platform.

Globalists promote multiculturalism and diversity, and that is killing the white race. Nationalism promotes a homogenous population. Globalism is empire-building by corporations. We’re past the colonial stage of empire building by governments, so we need to get past the empire building by big business.

And also, one big issue is that nationalism supports a strong, male leader. You want to have strong men in charge. And globalism promotes the touchy-feely, feminist approach we’ve had for so long. That’s why you have Angela Merkel, and Hillary Clinton. The issue of globalism supports feminism, and nationalism supports patriarchy ...


This guy has some weird ideas about Trump, nationalism and patriarchy. Not that he is not correct that Trump is a patriarchal nationalist. But that nationalism necessarily promotes patriarchy and a 'homogenous population'. One example would be Marine Le Pen in France. She is the leader of the right wing National Front. I doubt she is patriarchal.

"... if Trump accomplished his most notable policies ... he would quickly send the economy spiraling

into another recession." Or worse!

Most economists agree that if Trump accomplished his most notable policies — mass deportations, getting into aggressive trade wars, slashing taxes for the wealthiest — he would quickly send the economy spiraling into another recession.

For a populist candidate who has sold himself as a common man fighting for Joe Average, preying on vulnerable, average Americans is certainly not a good look — which is why Donald is so furious that Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered the public release of company records. This fiasco affirms what many people already knew: Trump is a snake-oil peddling charlatan for the 21st century; the lovechild of P.T. Barnum and George Wallace.

One of his most vocal advocates, Breitbart writer (and full-time troll) Milo Yiannopoulos, provided an insight on Twitter when he was asked what Trump policies he actually supports, and replied that Trumpists just want to “burn everything down.” In other words, the policies (or lack thereof) don’t matter, they just want to watch the establishment squirm. This may be accurate for his most dedicated (and privileged) supporters, but surely there are voters who believe that he will somehow bring back jobs, deport 11 million people, and so on — they don’t know how, and they don’t really care how, but they have faith (just like the students at Trump University).

One underlying theme of Trump’s presidential campaign has been his hostile, anti-intellectual attitude — he is almost disdainful towards facts and expert opinion. The billionaire seems to pride himself on his ignorance, and has no desire to learn or familiarize himself with the issues — even now that he is the presumptive GOP nominee. In many ways, he is a reflection of much of America. Proud, prejudiced, patriotic, ignorant, materialistic, belligerent.

"Trumpists just want to “burn everything down.”
"... he policies (or lack thereof) don’t matter, they just want to watch the establishment squirm."

That's a great explanation of the attitude of Trump supporters.

The multi-country trade agreement is not 'conservative ideology'. FDR created it, Sweden uses it

more than the US does. Neither FDR nor Sweden were or are unprogressive. I agree with Bernie that we should be more like Sweden.

Prior to FDR, the US trade policy was essentially "Trump-like" - high tariffs, imposed unilaterally with ultimate national sovereignty over the process. We imposed tariffs and other trade penalties whenever we wanted, for whatever reason we wanted and against whomever we wanted.

FDR (a 'phony progressive' perhaps?) did not like that. First he lowered tariffs with dozens of bilateral trade deals. Then he went a step further and introduced the International Trade Organization - a concept (a multi-country trade organization that would govern trade rules rather than national governments doing it) that had not existed before.

You may not like the concept. That is fine. But that does not mean that it is conservative ideology. It means that liberals can disagree about some policies and still be liberals.

"The Frenchman spoke negatively ... on mass immigration, the spread of Islam and globalisation."

His home in north-east France has been searched by police, who - according to media reports - found a T-shirt bearing far-right insignia. The Ukrainians say he was motivated by hatred of immigration and globalisation.

"The Frenchman spoke negatively of the activities of his government on mass migration of foreigners to France, the spread of Islam and globalisation. He also said he wished to stage a number of terrorist attacks in protest," Mr Hrytsak said.

If he is not a Muslim, he does not count as a 'terrorist'. A RW 'ultra-nationalist' who hates immigration, Muslims and globalization cannot be a 'terrorist'. There are too many of them!

"The paper gratifyingly says that both austerity and highly mobile capital increase inequality, and

inequality is a negative for growth. And it firmly says Something Must Be Done:

The evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are. Of course, apart from redistribution, policies could be designed to mitigate some of the impacts in advance—for instance, through increased spending on education and training, which expands equality of opportunity (so-called predistribution policies). And fiscal consolidation strategies—when they are needed—could be designed to minimize the adverse impact on low-income groups. But in some cases, the untoward distributional consequences will have to be remedied after they occur by using taxes and government spending to redistribute income. Fortunately, the fear that such policies will themselves necessarily hurt growth is unfounded.

In some ways, the fact that this article was written at all, and that it is apparently fomenting debate in policy circles is more important than the details of its argument, since it does not break new ground. Instead, it takes some of the findings and analysis of heterodox and forward-thinking development economists and distills them nicely.

The publication of this IMF paper is a sign that the zeitgeist is, years after the crisis, finally shifting. It is becoming too hard to maintain the pretense that the policies that produced the global financial crisis, which are almost entirely still intact, are working. And the elites and their economic alchemists may also recognize that if they don’t change course pretty soon, they risk the loss of not just legitimacy but control. With Trump and Le Pen at the barricades, the IMF wake-up call may be too late.

Weird to see right wingers like Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen showcased as reasons for economic elites to change course on their prevailing policies of austerity and inequality.

It is gratifying to see the IMF itself recognize that hyper capital mobility and austerity aggravate inequality which is bad, even from an elites' perspective, for growth itself. Perhaps Christine Legarde's past experience as an anti-trust and labor lawyer is causing the IMF to take a different view.

"Bernie Sanders to Clinton: people 'are sick of hearing about your damn emails'.


Indeed. Fascists were fascists but they took advantage of conditions that were not

their doing.

Hitler wasn’t Hitler—until he was. At each step of the way, the shock was tempered by acceptance. It depended on conservatives pretending he wasn’t so bad, compared with the Communists, while at the same time the militant left decided that their real enemies were the moderate leftists, who were really indistinguishable from the Nazis. The radical progressives decided that there was no difference between the democratic left and the totalitarian right and that an explosion of institutions was exactly the most thrilling thing imaginable.


" ...the Environment chapter is fully subject to TPP’s dispute settlement process ..."

although some observers have expressed concerns about whether the U.S. government would effectively enforce the chapter’s provisions.

Most observers agree that TPP goes further than any other major trade agreement to address environmental concerns. Other provisions new to the TPP Environment chapter, compared with existing U.S. FTAs, cover transitioning to a low-emissions environment, removing barriers to environmental goods and services, and linking the Environment chapter to the SPS chapter in an effort to combat invasive alien species.

The TPP includes several labor provisions not contained in any previous U.S. trade agreement. These include requirements that all parties maintain laws that govern health and safety at the
workplace, regulate work hours, and provide for a minimum wage. TPP also extends the existing prohibition on weakening worker protections so that it would cover export processing zones and other trade zones, as well as a measure discouraging imports produced using forced labor, among others. In addition, TPP includes three separate bilateral side agreements on labor which require Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam to undertake certain labor reforms before the agreement can take effect between the United States and those countries."


The US already has 'free trade' agreements with 6 of the 11 TPP countries. The new ones would be Japan, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. For now WTO rules govern trade with those 5. The question is whether the TPP improves on the 'free trade' agreements that already exist with Canada, Mexico, Australia, Chile, Peru and Singapore and the WTO rules that currently apply to the other 5.

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