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Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 03:37 PM
Number of posts: 27,232
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**Posting in response to some of the misinformation I see referenced on NAFTA as
well as the letter posted that was written by Caroline Kennedy..which pretty much
blew my mind. Fair Trade seems to be lost in the equation.
The North American Free Trade Agreement took effect on January 1, 1994.
NAFTA opponents – including labor, environmental, consumer and religious groups – argued that NAFTA would launch a race-to-the-bottom in wages, destroy hundreds of thousands of good U.S. jobs, undermine democratic control of domestic policy-making and threaten health, environmental and food safety standards.
NAFTA promoters – including many of the world's largest corporations – promised it would create hundreds of thousands of new high-wage U.S. jobs, raise living standards in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, improve environmental conditions and transform Mexico from a poor developing country into a booming new market for U.S. exports.
Why such divergent views? NAFTA was a radical experiment – never before had a merger of three nations with such radically different levels of development been attempted. Plus, until NAFTA, "trade" agreements only dealt with cutting tariffs and lifting quotas to set the terms of trade in goods between countries. But NAFTA contained 900 pages of one-size-fits-all rules to which each nation was required to conform all of its domestic laws – regardless of whether voters and their democratically-elected representatives had previously rejected the very same policies in Congress, state legislatures or city councils.
NAFTA requires limits on the safety and inspection of meat sold in our grocery stores; new patent rules that raised medicine prices; constraints on your local government's ability to zone against sprawl or toxic industries; and elimination of preferences for spending your tax dollars on U.S.-made products or locally-grown food. In fact, calling NAFTA a "trade" agreement is misleading, NAFTA is really an investment agreement. Its core provisions grant foreign investors a remarkable set of new rights and privileges that promote relocation abroad of factories and jobs and the privatization and deregulation of essential services, such as water, energy and health care.
Remarkably, many of NAFTA's most passionate boosters in Congress and among economists never read the agreement. They made their pie-in-the-sky promises of NAFTA benefits based on trade theory and ideological prejudice for anything with the term "free trade" attached to it.
Now, twenty years later, the time for conjecture and promises is over: the data are in and they clearly show the damage NAFTA has wrought for millions of people in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Thankfully, the failed NAFTA model – a watered down version of which is also contained in the World Trade Organization (WTO) – is merely one among many options.
Throughout the world, people suffering with the consequences of this disastrous experiment are organizing to demand the better world we know is possible – but we face a race against time. The same interests who got us into NAFTA are pushing to expand it to include 31 more countries in Central and South America through the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) Peru was added in 2007; and there are NAFTA expansions with Panama and Colombia as well. The largest NAFTA expansion to date, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently under negotiation.
Chart: See all corporate investor-state cases launched under NAFTA and other U.S. 'free trade' agreements
Infographic: NAFTA Terms Replicated in TPP
Read the new report from Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch: NAFTA at 20 – One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health Laws.
in full: http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=531
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sat Jun 13, 2015, 09:38 AM (12 replies)
June 5, 2015
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Hi, everybody. I'm Paul Jay from The Real News Network.
The world has heard the name of Freddie Gray, who was brutally murdered by Baltimore police. Here's another name everybody should know: Rodney Todd. Mr. Todd lived in Princess Anne, about 130 miles southeast of Baltimore. Rodney was described by family and friends as a devoted parent and a hard, disciplined worker. Rodney couldn't afford to pay an electric bill, and had been cut off by the Delmarva power company. He bought an electric generator to give some light and give his children warmth. Why he ran the generator inside the house isn't clear. People speculate it was because it was noisy and would have kept his neighbors awake at night.
Rodney Todd and his five young girls and two young boys died of carbon monoxide poisoning. They were last seen alive on March 28th of this year.
The media reports focused on whether the power company had illegally shut off his power. In Maryland during winter months, non-payment of a bill is not supposed to be legal cause for cutting the cord. The power company said it was a safety issue because of the type of meter that was being used. They also said Rodney had never tried to set up an account. And while it's criminal, or at least it should be criminal to shut off power to a family under any circumstances, it's even more criminal that a working father can't afford to pay an electric bill. Rodney Todd, an African-American worker, was paid $8 an hour for a full-time job. That's Maryland's current minimum wage. He was supporting seven kids on $8 an hour.
What the major media didn't ask is, why was Rodney working for $8 an hour? When Baltimore exploded after the death of Freddie Gray, CNN and other such media outlets, when they weren't accusing the protesters of being thugs and criminals, which was most of the time, paid lip service to the fact that the underlying conditions of poverty and the savaging of communities by drugs, and they should have added and they didn't the war on drugs, helped create the anger expressed on the streets of Baltimore. What they didn't address is why poverty in Baltimore and cities across the country is chronic?
in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13973
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Jun 8, 2015, 10:24 AM (1 replies)
By William K. Black
Quito: May 30, 2015
One of common characteristics of the two epicenters of the elite banking fraud epidemics – the City of London and Wall Street – is Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers’ repeated efforts to create a criminogenic environment in both financial centers by cheerleading the regulatory race to the bottom. Murdoch’s papers also act as apologists for the resultant epidemic of elite banksters’ crimes.
One of the bit players that the Wall Street Journal has deployed as part of this apologia is particularly interesting for white-collar criminologists. The setting, as always on the WSJ’s editorial pages, is that the writers are overwhelmingly the most extreme right wing ideologues. The only criminological theory that the right wing loves is “broken windows.” The WSJ presented an op ed by Heather Mac Donald of the hard-right Manhattan Institute. The title gives a good feel of the extreme claim she is making: “The New Nationwide Crime Wave: The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing.”
It turns out that she has no nationwide data supporting the existence of a “new nationwide crime wave,” no basis for establishing the existence of a “Ferguson effect,” and no basis for demonstrating that the purported effect that a notorious police chief invented caused the “nationwide crime wave” that she cannot demonstrate exists. Instead, she quotes mostly figures on one month rates of some crimes in some cities or portions of cities. No social scientist would consider this approach reliable, but then she is not a social scientist but a “non-practicing lawyer.”
It also turns out that the invented “Ferguson effect” is the label of one of the police chiefs most criticized for his force’s cultivation of terrible relationships with the black community and his embrace of militarized policing. Mac Donald complains that blacks complain when white police shoot unarmed blacks:
in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/06/the-murdoch-effect-and-the-continuing-bankster-crime-wave.html#more-9485
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu Jun 4, 2015, 08:58 AM (0 replies)
On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Appy says the Vietnam War killed millions of Vietnamese and tens of thousands of American workers - yet the mythology is America as a whole emerged as the victim June 2, 2015
So let's just pick up where we were. We were about to talk about how the narrative is not only do we have to be the toughest in the world, but we're also a victim, which is why we then have to go be so tough. But everything gets turned into victimhood.
But before we get completely into that, a little bit of a segue--but it's connected to it. If you talk about Vietnam, we've talked about the real victims, who were primarily the Vietnamese people. But also, if you go to America, the real victims were African-Americans who paid with their lives in completely unequal numbers.
CHRISTIAN G. APPY, AUTHOR, AMERICAN RECKONING: Certainly at the beginning of the war. In '65 and '66, more than 20 percent of American fatalities were African-American, which was almost twice their proportion of the population, though over the course of the entire war, that percentage falls to about 12.5 percent, which was still a little bit disproportionate. But I really think the military, in response to civil rights activism and calling out the early disparities, began to try to reduce the number of African-American casualties. But it is clear they were certainly more vulnerable to the draft.
My own view is that the disproportions are primarily class-based. This really was a working-class war, and it was under a draft system that was biased in almost every possible way.
in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13953
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu Jun 4, 2015, 06:35 AM (2 replies)
Posted on June 1, 2015 by William Black
I saw an intriguing squib in the Wall Street Journal about an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “How the Navy SEALS Train for Leadership Excellence.” The article offers an, unintentionally, useful insight into the pathologies of elite business schools, their “leadership” faculty, and our elite C-suites.
The most interesting comment in the article is by Brandon Webb, a former senior SEAL sniper trainer.
“For training to work it has to be effective and incentives have to be in place (financial, personal growth, promotion, etc.) for training to be effective in the work place and in order to get employee ‘buy in,’” Webb notes. “I’m a big fan of economist Milton Frdman… it’s as simple as creating alignment through incentives and that’s what we did by creating an instructor/student mentor program. The instructors had accountability (they would be evaluated on their student’s performance) which created the right incentive for them to pass.
The author of the article, Michael Schrage (a research fellow at MIT’s Sloan School of Business) and Webb miss the key implications of Webb’s observation for B schools, their students, and the CEOs whose interests they typically represent. The behavior the CEO will produce in “his” firm is created by the incentives that the CEO crafts. The employees will overwhelmingly “align” their behavior with the incentives crafted by the CEO. It is, therefore, “simple” for CEOs to create “accountability” by shaping the incentives to produce the behavior that the CEO desires.
in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/06/seals-ceos-milton-friedman-and-fraudulent-incentives.html
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon Jun 1, 2015, 06:14 AM (14 replies)
Friday 29 May 2015
Photo: Protesters chant slogans at a demonstration in Cairo (AFP)
The 2003 Iraq war will go down as one of the biggest scandals and most odious crimes of the early 21st century. It not only caused untold human suffering, destruction and mayhem (up to a million deaths according to some estimates, more than five million refugees and internally displaced, disastrous health effects including birth defects and cancers due to the use of chemical weapons, poverty, sectarian violence, etc.), but it did so on the basis of shameful cynicism and murderous lies.
Following the al-Qaeda attacks on 11 September 2001, the United States felt the need to react in order to safeguard its reputation as a superpower with its self-appointed role of managing world affairs. It invaded Afghanistan in 2001, but as if that was not enough to quench its thirst for more violence and domination, it fabricated lies about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in order to invade Iraq, a country much weakened by bombing campaigns and merciless sanctions enforced by the West for more than a decade. There were no WMDs and the purpose was not to fight terrorism and install democracy but to force a regime change and plunder more resources.
But this tragic state of affairs did not go unchallenged. There was overwhelming international opposition to the US-led war in 2003 that culminated in the historic global protest on 15 February 2003. Around 30 million people marched in over 800 towns and cities around the world against the impending Western attacks on Iraq saying: "Not in our name!"
The story of the biggest protest in global history and the run-up to these massive events is the subject of a new gripping documentary by London-based filmmaker Amir Amirani. The film, We Are Many, is an indictment of those people who waged an illegal and criminal war, and succeeds in conveying the anti-war spirit of 2003 by documenting and charting a crucial moment in the left's efforts to organise in order to stop the war.
- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/reviews/review-we-are-many-1825216469#sthash.rYoqBgRo.dpuf
Posted by Jefferson23 | Fri May 29, 2015, 09:42 AM (0 replies)
43 million people are carrying $1.3 trillion in student debt. Josh Hoxie & Mayra Guizar examine the options on the table for dealing with this crisis. - May 18, 2015
Mayra Guizar is a senior at Western Washington University. She serves on the US Student Association Board of Directors as the Pacific Northwest Regional Chair. Mayra is also vice president of Western Votes! and the elections coordinator for the Western Washington University Associated Students.
Josh Hoxie joined the Institute for Policy Studies in August 2014 heading up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation. Josh's main focus is on addressing wealth inequality through the estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Josh grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attained a BA in Political Science and Economics from St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. Josh worked previously as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest serving independent in Congressional history, both in his office in Washington, DC and on his successful 2012 re-election campaign.
snip*Americans owe $1.3 trillion in student loans, with 43 million people, young, old, and everyone in between burdened with student debt. This debt has shaken the fundamental values of the nation's higher education system. Now the Republicans are proposing to cut $150 billion from student aid in the recently passed budget bill, including freezing the Pell program that helps needy students acquire higher education.
College costs have increased 1000 percent since the '70s. Students are graduating with an average of $25,000 to over $100,000 in debt, and often with an education that will not secure them a good-paying job.
in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13861
Posted by Jefferson23 | Mon May 18, 2015, 03:42 PM (0 replies)
May 13, 2015
Tuesday, when labor and environmental advocates who oppose the fast track Trade Promotion Authority breathed a sigh of relief as the Senate blocked the controversial trade legislation for now, advocates for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine joined them.
In late April, Congressional committees in the House and Senate passed a pair of little-noticed amendments to the controversial Trade Promotion Authority ‘Fast-Track’ legislation that would legislate support for Israel’s illegal settlements and would impede efforts to apply non-violent pressure on Israel to change its discriminatory policies towards Palestinians.
Congressional Democrats voted Tuesday to block the controversial ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Promotion Authority that would strip Congress of the power to amend trade deals. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated by the White House are opposed by labor and environmental groups because of the detrimental effect that they are likely to have on U.S. workers and environmental regulations. With the addition of the amendments relating to Israel, not only would damaging trade deals be negotiated in near secrecy without Congressional oversight, but U.S. trade policy would in future include combating Palestinian human rights advocacy and protecting Israel’s illegal settlements.
The proposed legislation would erase the distinction between Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies, effectively upending longstanding U.S. policy in the region. As J.J. Goldberg, writing for the Jewish Daily Forward, noted, “This week’s congressional committee measures appear to be the first-ever formal step toward U.S. government recognition of the settlements’ legitimacy. None of the Capitol Hill sources contacted appeared to be aware of the explosive significance of the ‘territories under the control of Israel’ clause.”
in full: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/241850-anti-palestinian-amendments-went-down-with-tpa
Posted by Jefferson23 | Sat May 16, 2015, 09:15 AM (11 replies)
May 14, 2015
In response to PayPal's decision to block donations to produce print copies of an investigative report on Russian military involvement in Ukraine, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“One of the Russian government’s most effective tactics for stifling criticism of President Putin and the government’s human rights abuses is to accuse critics of conducting ‘political activities’ and claiming them to be improper or illegal,” said Susan Corke, director of Eurasia Programs. “It is disturbing, to say the least, that PayPal has supported those tactics by denying individuals the right to help pay for publishing ‘Putin. War,’ the work of murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. PayPal should immediately lift this ban, to help, rather than hinder, press freedom in Russia.”
The “Putin. War” report was published online on May 12, 2015. The bulk of the research and writing was done by Nemtsov, who was murdered in February 2015. His colleagues, including journalists, economists, and activists, completed the independent report in his stead. On May 14, 2015, PayPal blocked incoming donations for print publication, asserting, “PayPal does not allow its system to be used to collect donations for the activities of political parties or for political goals in Russia.”
Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014, and received a democracy score of 6.29 on a scale of 1-7, with 7 being the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2014.
Posted by Jefferson23 | Thu May 14, 2015, 01:46 PM (5 replies)
Whatever your politicYou don't know me. I'm just a guy from California who once fell in love with Israel, and stayed. But if you're a person who advocates for Israel in California or anywhere else outside of here, I have a message for you
It's the same message whether you belong to StandWithUs or J Street, the Republican Jewish Coalition or the New Israel Fund, AIPAC or Americans for Peace Now, the ZOA or Ameinu: Before you advocate for Israel one more day, you owe it to yourself and to Israel to do this: Download and open a report called "This is How We Fought in Gaza: Soldiers' testimonies and photographs from Operation 'Protective Edge' (2014)."
Read it until you can't go on. Then read it some more. Don't go back to advocating for Israel until you've read it to the end. It's not that long. Length is not the problem. Nor is language. It's just people talking.
Honesty is the problem. The calmly shocking honesty of scores of brave and deeply scarred soldiers who served in that war last summer. It won't be easy to read this, nor should it be.s, you should know this: These soldiers and the people of Breaking the Silence are Israeli patriots. They are advocating for Israel.
This is How We Fought in Gaza׳
testimonies and photographs from
Operation „Protective Edge ̋ (2014)
Posted by Jefferson23 | Tue May 5, 2015, 10:19 PM (7 replies)