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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 19,135

Journal Archives

In Moscow "Titushky" attack the antiwar rally

In the Moscow metro, "Tretyakov" activists pro-Putin movement (the so-called "Titushky") attacked the antiwar rally "Solidarity" movement. The attackers threw feces at picketers.

Activist "Solidarity" Michael Krieger detained one of the attackers. The police then took away two "titushek" in ATS "Zamoskvorechye". Krieger went there to file a complaint, but he was arrested and charged with "hooliganism". Michael Krieger was fined in the amount of 500 rubles and released, according to the ATS-info .

On the eve of the protests pro-government activists wrote to the prosecutor denouncing protesters from the "Solidarity". They demanded the prosecutor institute criminal proceedings "of insulting a public official." The statement said that if the police did not "take measures to prevent the anti-Russian rally," they "will have to do to take adequate measures."

"Solidarity" pickets against the war in Ukraine are held in Moscow on a weekly basis. Their members are exposed to attacks by pro-Kremlin activists organized.


"Not left vs right" anymore but "established, integrationist politics vs isolationist, nationalists"

Forget left and right: Europe’s divisions lie elsewhere

For those who want a happy ending or an easy moral to the story, the election of a new Greek government last month poses some interesting quandaries. Progressives of various kinds at first hailed what appeared to be a victory for the radical left-wing party Syriza, but they were caught off guard when Syriza instantly struck a coalition deal with the Independent Greeks, a radical right-wing party that Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a legendary European leftist, bluntly described as “ultranationalist” with a “homophobic, anti-Semitic, racist” leader.

Many of those who rooted for Syriza because of its campaign against the budget-cutting “austerity” program imposed on Greece by its creditors were also taken aback when other, more urgent priorities appeared on the new leaders’ agenda. Both parties turn out to have close connections to the authoritarian Russian government, and both have curious links to a notorious Russian fascist ideologue, Alexander Dugin, who among other things has called for a “genocide” of the “race of Ukrainian bastards.” Accordingly, the new Greek government’s first foreign policy act was not a protest against European economic policy but a protest against sanctions on Russia. Only then did it launch negotiations with its European creditors by announcing that it would refuse to negotiate with its European creditors.

The most important division in Europe is not right vs. left. Nor is the main issue even “austerity” vs. “anti-austerity.” Some of the countries hit hardest by the 2009 financial crisis have pursued “austerity” with great success. Ireland has restructured and is once again growing. Latvia found ways to cut government spending without cutting pensions and is growing at one of the fastest rates in Europe.

The real division in Europe is between what I would call established, integrationist politics and isolationist, nationalist politics. It was visible last year in Britain, during the Scottish independence referendum. The Scottish Nationalists were unlike Syriza in many, many ways, but they were using similar language of “national renewal,” and they were calling for a similar reassertion of national control: Control over the economy, over political decisions, over borders. Syriza gets along well with the Greek far right because, in essence, both want to reassert national control. Perhaps the right would prefer a higher emphasis on immigration, but it shares Syriza’s furious hatred of the “troika” that control the bailout fund which has been extended to Greece — the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund.


Between the Charlie Hebdo attack and the ""established, integrationist politics vs isolationist, nationalists", I think things look very good for the National Front in the coming election.

Moscow Times: 5 Heavy Weapons in Ukraine's Rebel War That May Have Come From Russia

This equipment includes modern Russian military hardware that was not held in Ukrainian arsenals, and which the rebels could therefore not have stolen or bought from the Ukrainian military. Some of this Russian hardware is also currently unavailable on the export market.

1) T-72 Main Battle Tank

Russia's most famous battle tank, the T-72, (see picture above) has been constantly upgraded since going into production in the 1970s. Though many military allies of the Soviet Union manufactured the tanks, a video made by eastern Ukrainian separatists appears to show a version with more modern upgrades in use with the Russian army, likely the T-72B3 model.

The T-73B3 only recently started rolling off production lines and into service with the Russian army. This latest model is not known to have been exported outside of Russia yet.

2) BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Australia's ARES has identified the BMP-2AM, a post-Soviet variant produced in Russia, as being in use among the separatists. While Ukraine does possess a variety of BMPs, Russia never sold the updated BMP-2AM model to Kiev.

3) SA-11 Buk Air Defense System

4) BM-21 Grad Missile Launcher

5) 259 Nona Self-Propelled Artillery


GATT talks started in December 1945 and it was agreed to in 1947. Who do you think was president

then? It was approved by a Democratic congress.

In early December 1945, the United States invited its war-time allies to enter into negotiations to conclude a multilateral agreement for the reciprocal reduction of tariffs on trade in goods.

At the proposal of the United States, the United Nations Economic and Social Committee adopted a resolution, in February 1946, calling for a conference to draft a charter for an International Trade Organization (ITO).

At the same time the negotiations on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva advanced well and by October 1947 an agreement was reached: on October 30, 1947 eight of the twenty-three countries that had negotiated the GATT signed the "Protocol of Provisional Application of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade". Those eight countries were the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.


The ITO was the product of FDR's conference in Bretton Woods in July 1944. It would have been more powerful than GATT in that it would have had a dispute resolution system like the WTO has now. That was FDR's idea.

The Conference also proposed the creation of an International Trade Organization (ITO) to establish rules and regulations for international trade. The ITO would have complemented the other two Bretton Woods proposed international bodies: the IMF and the World Bank. The ITO charter was agreed on at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Employment (held in Havana, Cuba, in March 1948), but the charter was not ratified by the U.S. Senate.


In response, the Republican-dominated Congress opposed its ratification. So even though the US had gone to Havana and signed the Draft Treaty, by 1950, what had seemed a certainty only months earlier, ended in failure.


A republican congress rejected the International Trade Organization that had been proposed by FDR and negotiated by Truman.

Krugman on Putin: defending a kleptocracy, not the downtrodden masses

Putin’s thrashing, his evident decision to reject advice from economists who tell him anything he doesn’t want to hear, feel very familiar to me and I’m sure many others who’ve followed Latin America over the decades. Basically, it sounds a lot like good old-fashioned economic populism.

There is, however, one interesting difference.
The stories Dornbusch and Edwards analyzed, the issues of Latin America today, involved governments that really were trying to help the poor and workers with low wages. That is, they really were populist regimes, even if they didn’t end up serving the interests of their constituency. But nobody would call the Putin regime populist; he’s rejecting economics as we know it to defend a kleptocracy, not the downtrodden masses.

Have there been comparable examples? I’m sure there must have been, but I can’t think of them. Malaysia’s imposition of capital controls in 1998 was in part about rescuing its version of oligarchs, but it was actually a reasonable policy given the circumstances, and worked OK. And otherwise I’m coming up blank.

So Putin seems to have brought something new, or at least formerly rare, into the world of economic policy: economic cronyism, an effort to suspend the laws on economics on behalf, not of the broad populace, but a tiny group of well connected malefactors of great wealth. Innovation!


The Guardian view of Europe’s populists: left or right, they are united by a worrying xenophobia

In Europe’s north, insurgent populist parties blame socialism; in the south they blame capitalism. But they all blame foreigners, and that must be wrong and dangerous

With Syriza in power in Athens, and Podemos showing its strength on the streets of Madrid, there is a growing sense that a southern coalition of anti-austerity parties in Europe will overturn the existing dogma of economic discipline, largely upheld by Brussels and the north. There is cause to rejoice in the fact that stringent belt-tightening is now being questioned as the best way to pull Europe out of its doldrums. But the rise of these radical political forces tends also to fragment still further an already fragmented continent.

In northern Europe, they attack the establishment from the right; in the south, from the left. The May 2014 European parliamentary elections were the first sign of a European Union-wide drive towards a populism which is now taking root in domestic politics across the member states, and 2015 will be a year of many general elections in the EU.

Unlike the far-rightwing parties that are flourishing in northern Europe, Syriza and Podemos have steered clear of any anti-immigrant sentiment, and they have seriously toned down any anti-EU language (even if they criticise its policies). It is therefore much healthier for Europe to see such movements capture a general mood of discontent rather than the likes of Ukip or Marine Le Pen or the Sweden Democrats. Syriza and Podemos prefer to channel popular anger against the ruling class, the “casta” in Spanish, which includes centrist parties, left or right, all lumped together in popular opprobrium.

But it would be dangerous and short-sighted not to point out the existing overlap between many anti-establishment movements. Insurgent parties of both left and right draw their conflicting passions from a well of nationalism, and this appears in the way that they apportion blame for the economic catastrophe.

Ideological extremes can meet in cold-blooded ways when it suits their interests. Such was the case when Syriza chose to form a coalition with the extreme-rightwing, nationalistic, anti-immigration and antisemitic Independent Greeks party. It is hard to see how the ideas upheld by such a partner can in any way fit with Syriza’s calls for democratic revival. Parliamentary arithmetic and the need for a broad anti-austerity front may be pleaded in mitigation, but it remains baffling how little criticism for this choice Syriza has received from leftist admirers elsewhere. They should also be disturbed by the support that Marine Le Pen had expressed for Syriza when she attacked “the totalitarianism of the EU and financial markets”.


All politicians seem to use the 'rally around the flag' sentiment to build support for policies. "Us vs Them" based on nationality is acceptable on both the left and right, though the right plays that card more frequently and to better effect. Europe's history naturally makes many cautious about playing the nationalism card.

The title of the Guardian is a little misleading in that it points out that Syriza and Podemos have "steered clear of any anti-immigrant sentiment, and they have seriously toned down any anti-EU language" and have instead chosen to "channel popular anger against the ruling class".

Do you think that China's growth would have been limited without NAFTA? 90% of China's trade is not

with the US. Trade with China is a bigger part of Germany's economy than it is of the US economy. Germany's unions and middle class are doing just fine. Our problems are internal not the fault of poor people in other countries. We can't blame our regressive taxes, little support for unions and an ineffective safety net on the Chinese or the Mexicans or the Kenyans or the Peruvians. The problem is much closer to home.

Obama promised to work to revise NAFTA to protect Worker's Rights and he hasn't ...

Assuming Obama really means to 'protect worker rights' covering them in TPP which includes Canada and Mexico would be one way to do it.

NAFTA to protect Worker's Rights and he hasn't because the cow was out of the barn and had run over the cliff since that opened the door to shipping our manufacturing overseas to China ...

NAFTA had nothing to do with China. Do you really think that China's growth would have been limited if the US and Canada had avoided a trade agreement with Mexico?

... and anywhere else where workers could be abused with substandard working conditions and wages that kept them in poverty.

"Trade agreements can be written and negotiated to raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet ..."

... the rest we won't know about because it is secret and Fast Track means none of us will know until it's signed.

No. 'Fast track' affects the ratification/rejection process, not the negotiating process.

"Fast Track means none of us will know until it's signed." Do you believe that denying 'fast track' means that we WILL know what's in it before it is signed? The negotiations have been going on in secret for years without 'fast track'. Why would the continuing lack of 'fast track' suddenly open up the negotiating process?

With 'fast track' the negotiations can be secret or they can be public. In the absence of 'fast track' the negotiations can be secret or they can be public.

IF we ever get a trade agreement that would "raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet ...", do you think it is likely that republican majorities in the House and Senate will not cut out precisely those provisions that "raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet ..." and leave in the stuff that corporations and the 1% like, if they are allowed to do so?

"Trade agreements can be written and negotiated to raise living standards for workers and to enforce

environmental protections vital to survival of the planet."

I agree with that assessment. Indeed that is the only argument that the TPP is at all defensible. None of us has seen the chapters on labor rights and environmental protection because they have not been leaked. If those chapters are nonexistent, weak or unenforceable then TPP deserves to go down in flames.

I have often read that Obama believes that a trade policy that respects enforceable labor rights and environmental protections not only is a good thing on its merits but gives the US a competitive advantage with low-wage, environmentally lax countries that we do not have today. The low-wage countries now have that advantage.

Obama has these rights and protections included in his TPP objectives. Obviously, none of us know to what extent they will be reflected in the final agreement - assuming there ever is one. Those who don't trust him - be they tea partiers or some DUers - will of course 'know' that he will sell us out in the end. Indeed he might. But who will we ever trust to negotiate a trade agreement to be "written and negotiated to raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet"? If the answer is, "No one." then we really don't believe that government has a role to play in this.

BTW, the excerpt you posted did not allege that 'fast track' means that the "Senate does the vote without even seeing what's in the Trade Agreement and they have no ability to discuss or revise the agreement because it gives the President total authority."

On most issues she qualifies but not to the same extent as other candidates.

Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 89% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 96% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 35% by the US COC, indicating a mixed business voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 82% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 89% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence. (Dec 2006)
Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 8% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 85% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 21% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 80% by the CTJ, indicating support of progressive taxation. (Dec 2006)

Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
Voted NO on extending free trade to Andean nations. (May 2002)


No, your source was for #13 was citizen.org which used statistics allegedly from a government

source - the US International Trade Commission. But the numbers they used at the link you provided to reach their conclusions were not the numbers actually from the USITC.

They cite the US International Trade Commission as the source for their statistics but a cursory glance at that site shows shows that, at the very least, the figures for our 2013 trade deficit with Canada and Mexico are not accurately represented on the citizen.org table in the article. Here is the link to the ITC and the actual trade deficit figures for 2013: http://dataweb.usitc.gov/scripts/cy_m3_run.asp Here is the link to the Census showing trade with Mexico: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c2010.html And here is the Census date for trade with Canada: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c1220.html

... this is a strange conversation to have with a fellow Democrat.

Seeking to base a discussion of trade policy on facts is "unDemocratic"? Quite the contrary, I think that discussing issues without facts is republicans are quite good at.

You're talking in circles, and it seems like you're just making up figures.

If you check the US International Trade Commission and the Census Department, you will see that I am not the one "making up figures".

You have a good one, too.
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