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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 20,286

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The EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

The EU is the most open to developing countries. The EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries. By comparison the US is the top trading partner for a little over 20 countries.

The EU benefits from being one of the most open economies in the world and remains committed to free trade. The average applied tariff for goods imported into the EU is very low, less than 1%. More than 70% of imports enter the EU at zero or reduced tariffs.

The EU’s services markets are highly open and we have arguably the most open investment regime in the world.

In fact the EU has retained its capacity to conclude and implement trade agreements. The recent Free Trade Agreements with South Korea and with Singapore are examples of this and the EU has an ambitious agenda of trade agreements in the pipeline.


All this and the best income equality figures in the world. FDR would not have been surprised.

Poor GOP - Latest Pew Poll: Broad Public Support for Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants

About half (51%) say immigrants today strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents, while 41% say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care. The share saying that immigrants strengthen the country has declined six percentage points since last year.

A majority of Republicans (56%) support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. At the same time, far more Republicans say immigrants are a burden on the country (63%) than say they strengthen the country (27%).

Among Democrats and independents – majorities of whom also support a path to legal status for people in the U.S. illegally – most say immigrants strengthen the country (62% of Democrats, 57% of independents).

Among Republicans, 42% think legal immigration into the U.S. should be decreased, compared with 34% who think it should be kept at its present level and just 21% say it should be increased. Fewer Democrats (27%) and independents (28%) think legal immigration should be decreased, with pluralities of both groups saying it should be kept at present levels.

..... .....


43% of republicans still oppose any legal status for undocumented immigrants. Apparently, Mitt's 'self-deportation' ideas still lives in conservative circles.

56% of republicans support a path to legal status for them. 86% of liberal Democrats support legal status with 58% of them supporting a path to citizenship.

Also, as many expected, republicans are moving from their concentration on opposing "illegal immigration" to opposing all immigration viewing legal immigrants as a burden rather than a strength by a 63%-27% margin. Democrats and independents view immigrants as strengths by almost exactly the same margins.

Favor fast track? Democrats: Yes-63%, No-32%. republicans: No-72%, Yes-27%.

The problem with republicans is that the solutions to inequality require government action, e.g. progressive taxes, support for strong unions, an effective safety net. They oppose all of them.

Head of Liberals and Democrats in EU Parliament on how to help liberals in Russia

As Vladimir Putin tightens his stranglehold on the Russian people, it’s more important than ever for us to speak out and defend progressive, liberal values, while standing by those fighting for fundamental rights in Russia.

In Putin’s Russia, members of the LGBT community and other minorities have good reason to fear for their lives, as they are forced to hide from mobs who hunt them down in the streets of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Putin must be the world’s only head of state who is an honorary member of a motorcycle gang, the Night Wolves. Its leader, Alexander Zaldostanov, is a personal friend of Putin and a fierce defender of Stalin’s political heritage. He is the driving force behind the anti-Maidan movement, who has previously declared “death to faggots.” Putin regularly shows up at Night Wolves events, giving implied support to this kind of hate speech.

The EU and Russia are in a stand-off, launching measures and counter-measures. Europe must not back down. This is the time to stay united and strong. Bullies like Putin do not respect weakness. All too often, the European Council has been slow to react to Russian provocations, resulting in sanctions that are agreed on too late or too hesitantly. Regrettably, the extension of sanctions linked to the continued Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine is still pending. The EU must be more proactive and should develop a clearer strategy. There is little hope that Putin will change his behavior.

We must never forget that the true victims of the regime are the Russian people themselves. ...The Russian regime is suppressing the country’s talented people, as if they were under communist rule. If Putin does not value the potential of his own people, we should.

The European Commission should come forward with a proposal to set up a vast program of scholarships for Russian artists, scientists, and students. The EU should also do more to support civil society in Russia, by actively participating in peaceful human rights protests. Loudly and with conviction, we must reject Putin’s narrow authoritarianism and boldly offer the people of Russian an alternative liberal vision of a global society based on freedom, democratic values, equality and opportunity.

Guy Verhofstadt, European parliamentary group leader for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), was prime minister of Belgium from 1999-2008.


Nice to see a representative of the European left take a stand for public, but peaceful, measures to stand up for liberals in Russia. One cannot expect the far-right parties in Europe to do the same since they largely defend Putin and his policies of 'family values' and nationalist authoritarianism and want it for their own countries.

Only in the sense that the EU Charter and the US Constitution were 'free trade agreements'.

They both introduced 'free trade' between states/colonies/countries which previously did not have it. Of course, both involved much, much more than just 'free trade' so the trade aspect was fairly minor compared to everything else. The backers of the Articles of Confederation were concerned with state sovereignty over trade and other matters, so we tried that before we adopted the Constitution with its 'free trade'. We don't think twice now about 'free trade' between Pennsylvania and Virginia but before the Constitution, it was a contentious issue.

One catch with the 'partnership agreements' like the EU and US is the enforcement mechanism for interstate/international disputes that goes with it. Some on the right are still fighting our own federal government when it enforces national legislation that some - usually conservative - states don't like. That was an even stronger argument in the early days of our country which is why we tried the Articles of Confederation first. The 'state sovereignty' was strong back in the day and it is an argument that will apparently never go away. Likewise in Europe, it is the right that is still fighting the role of the EU, preferring the good ol' days of supreme state sovereignty.

One question with the TPP is whether you can do today what the US did 225 years ago and what Europe did 50 years ago. Are corporations too strong? Are liberals too weak? Is international cooperation to deal with global problems - climate change, trade, repression, labor rights, human rights, refugees, etc. - a discredited mechanism in the eyes of the left and the right anymore? Maybe the FDR era of international organizations and agreements has waned and we have moved into more of a "You deal with your problems and we'll deal with our problems" frame of mind.

"Partnership agreements" (like the EU) should include high enforceable human rights, labor rights,

environmental standards, business regulation, consumer protections, etc.

We all know that our right would freak out if the US ever thought about joining any "EU-like" partnership with other countries. The "high standards" would freak them out since they are not exactly business-friendly. The "enforceable" part would make them very unhappy too since national sovereignty would take a back seat to "human right, labor rights, etc."

Great graph on confidence level that climate change caused by humans - 110%!

But wait. How could 110 percent of the warming since 1950 be due to human activity? As Schmidt explained way back in 2009, “Over the last 40 or so years, natural drivers would have caused cooling.”

These cooling natural drivers include:

In recent decades, volcanoes have released particles that partially block the sun and cool the planet slightly.
Only recently have we come off “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,” which also cooled the planet slightly.
The underlying long-term trend — driven largely by orbital changes — had been cooling (see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds).

In short, “human factors are most likely responsible for all the warming we’ve seen and then some (110%),” as environmental scientist Dana Nuccitelli put it in the UK Guardian

Moscow Times: "Putin Classifying Troop Losses Proves They're in Ukraine – Analysts"

Legal amendments introduced Thursday that classify as state secrets any losses sustained during peacetime special operations are further confirmation of Russia's direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict, legal and military experts told The Moscow Times.

The amendments, signed by President Vladimir Putin, make "information disclosing the loss of personnel … during special operations in peacetime" a classified state secret.

Military servicemen who are killed, injured or go missing can be considered military losses, meaning their relatives will be forced to keep information about their deaths a secret, lawyers said Thursday.

"Even a death notification sent to parents or other relatives can be considered a secret under this decree," Ivan Pavlov, a leading lawyer in the field of government transparency who has successfully defended treason suspects, told The Moscow Times.


Had never seen this before. Thanks for posting it. n/t

Tariffs on imports from Mexico averaged 4% before NAFTA.

It is doubtful that removing a 4% tariff is what caused Detroit's downfall. Detroit's auto industry employment was at its highest in the mid-1970's with a sustained decline after that along with mini-recoveries in the mid-1980's, mid-1990's and in the past few years. It is doubtful that NAFTA caused the 40 year decline in Detroit's auto employment.

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