Saturday, July 13, 2019

Dotard tRump's Position On Trade (In Part) Won Him The Presidency. Why Sanders Or Warren Must Be The Democratic potus Nominee

For decades, the leaders of both parties preached the gospel that free trade was a rising tide that would lift all boats. Great rhetoric — except that the trade deals they negotiated mainly lifted the yachts — and threw millions of working Americans overboard to drown ~ Elizabeth Warren (Elizabeth Warren Goes After Free Trade Agreements in First Speech as 2020 Contender. 11/29/2018).

The following is excerpted from a 7/12/2019 conversation on the Thom Hartmann Program (a Progressive Political talk radio program that airs on Free Speech TV). Thom and Lori Wallach (the Executive Director Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch) discuss Trump's renegotiation of NAFTA (The USMCA) and where Congressional Democrats and the Democratic presidential candidates stand on the issue - the USMCA and the corporate benefiting "free trade" policies bought into by New Democrats Clinton and Obama.

Thom Hartmann: You and I agree that the neoliberal trade policies that really came in with the Reagan Administration in a big way - they negotiated NAFTA - George Herbert Walker Bush's Administration finalized those negotiations - this has always been republican trade policy. There has always been large chunks of the Democratic Party that have opposed this. In the modern era, it's the Sherrod Brown's... and yet, the guy who has successfully pushed back against it is Donald Trump.

It helped get him elected. Running on a Democratic position. Which is - yes, we need tariffs. Yes, we need protectionist policies. And yes, these so-called trade agreements actually suck. They're destroying American jobs. So, it puts us in this very awkward position of saying, thank God Trump is having a conversation about this. Because we've had two Democratic presidents (Clinton & Obama) who have been unwilling to. And a lot of Democratic members of Congress won't. Although some of them are out there screaming into the wind. From Bernie Sanders to Sherod Brown.

But, on the other hand, Trump is doing it completely wrong. He's demagoging this issue. So... how is the whole trade thing going? ... where are the Democrats on all this?

Lori Wallach: Obviously NAFTA has to be replaced. Almost a million jobs have been certified to the government to be lost to NAFTA. It's probably [more like] 4-5 million... Trump repeated what Democrats have said for a long time. Democrats in Congress tried to stop NAFTA. However, the deal Trump signed to replace NAFTA wouldn't stop the job outsourcing. Because the labor and environmental improvements and their enforcements are not strong enough. But he let Pharma put protections in there. So it [the USMCA] would raise medicine prices. It won't fix the existing problem, and it would lock in high prices here.

In that regard it's worse than the status quo. On the other hand he got rid of the outrageous corporate tribunals that have taken hundreds of millions of tax dollars, attacking environmental laws, etc. So, where are the Democrats? Miraculously, the Democrats are 100 percent united. Pelosi is being tough in saying to Trump - either you renegotiate your renegotiated agreement - fix the labor and environmental standards so it means something. To stop the outsourcing and to raise wages in Mexico so the draw of jobs [away from the US] is stopped. And you have to take out that Pharma garbage. Or no vote. And she's holding firm. Now the showdown is - what will the administration do?

[skip]

Thom Hartmann: When Bill Clinton first embraced NAFTA in 1992, he was in the minority among Democrats. He was loudly attacked by a lot of Democrats. Many Democratic voters - apparently half of Ross Perot voters were actually Democrats - but, over time, the Democratic Party moved in that Direction. At least, much of it. ... These so-called free trade deals - managed trade deals for the benefit of corporations - have always been deeply embraced by Republicans [before and during the Trump administration - explaining why his only option is to go it alone and apply tariffs by executive fiat]. Where is the Democratic party as a whole - at the Federal level on this now? How does this break down in the House and Senate.

Lori Wallach: Right now, in respect to this NAFTA deal, the House Democrats are remarkably unified with the Speaker. Even the corporate Democrats - the New Democrats - the ones who have been for TPP - they say the environmental and labor standards need better enforcement and the Pharma crap has to come out. They sent a letter to the president that said - don't make the mistake of putting in this agreement... Congressional Democrats have always been better than the presidential wing [Clinton, Obama and many currently running to unseat Trump].

The candidates running for president have all signed a pledge that they would oppose any NAFTA renegotiation that included the Pharma goodies and didn't have strong labor and environmental standards in it. Including Beto O'Rourke and Joe Biden. But the truth is Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris - those guys are basically in the same place that Clinton and Obama were on trade. They're not good on trade.

You have Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Tim Ryan have been real champions on trade. ... If you have another Democrat, like Biden, who Trump can run against in Wisconsin and Michigan the way he did Clinton - "oh, you're for having more jobs outsourced. You're so sad TPP didn't pass"... We're going to lose again in those states. We have to have someone to the Left of him on trade. We have to have Sanders or Warren.

[End Thom Hartmann Program 7/12/2019 Excerpt]

Prior to New Democrats Clinton and Obama opposing free trade was the Democratic position. And on the side of the corporations (and against the workers) were the Republicans. That changed with Clinton. Then President Obama pushed the TPP and Hillary Clinton called it the "gold standard". Although she later (under pressure from Sanders) backtracked and vowed that, if elected, she would not sign the TPP. But many voters did not believe her. One reason was that her VP choice, Tim Kaine, also supported (then renounced) the TPP.

This (in part) explains tRump's win. Blue collar Democrats who voted for Obama decided to vote for tRump because of his views on trade. Many of them were for Bernie Sanders because of his opposition to job-killing free trade agreements. When Sanders didn't become the nominee they switched to Trump. A mistake because Trump does not know WTF he's doing. The United States needs a Trade Policy and NOT a president imposing tariffs by presidential fiat.

Me, I'd rather Bernie Sanders had been the nominee in 2016. It is my belief that he could have beat tRump. Because Blue collar Democrats who were swayed by the con man tRump would have voted for Bernie Sanders. And Bernie Sanders would have had the Progressive caucus on his side and thus been able (or better positioned to) change US trade policy through Congress. tRump can't do this because Congressional republicans oppose protectionism and protecting American jobs from outsourcing.

This is why we must not nominate a Democrat with the wrong position on trade. The nominee must be either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Either of these two candidates would have the best chance of beating tRump in 2020. If the nominee isn't Sanders or Warren - tRump will quite likely "win" a second term (with, as before, help from Putin). Even though tRump's tariffs have not succeeded in their goal of bringing back American jobs. And his attempts to renegotiate our crappy trade deals have been a failure (and driven many soy bean farmers into bankruptcy).

Yet, despite going bankrupt, these farmers continue to support tRump (for some reason). I guess they think that some pain must be endured before tRump is eventually victorious. But that won't happen. Their Chinese customers have gone elsewhere to buy their soybeans, etc. These farmer are screwed. They just don't realize how screwed they are yet.

In any case, before the New Democrat movement, it was the Democratic Party that represented Blue Collar workers and opposed the so-called "free trade" deals that outsourced their jobs. Clinton and Obama betrayed them, costing the Democratic party (and the entire nation) dearly. Their betrayal allowed a con-man like Dotard tRump the opportunity to take up the anti-globalism, pro-American worker mantle (even though he lied and is actually 100 percent for the plutocrats).

Democrats need to reclaim by nominating Sanders (my first choice) or Warren. Either Sanders or Warren could get the job done and fix our broken trade policies, IMO. Unlike tRump, who lies, does a bad job, and failed to do what he promised. The only thing the Orange Turd has "achomlished" is to make things worse.

BTW, I'm starting to think Warren might be a better choice than Sanders. Due to the bad rap "socialism" has among low information voters. And, even though Warren's positions are very similar (where they are not identical) to those of Sanders, he calls himself a "socialist" while she does not. A fact that could make the difference. Given the fact that demonizing "socialism" is going to be a bigly tactic of the Orange Turd campaign in 2020.

Video: Lori Wallach Exposes How Trump Got Trade Wrong. Published 7/12/2019. 9:10.

SWTD #415

Thursday, July 04, 2019

tRump Administration Holding Kids In Concentration Camps Is Child Abuse!

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or a caregiver. Child abuse may include any act or failure to act by a parent or a caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child... (Wikipedia).

The following is an excerpt from the 7/3/2019 airing of the Thom Hartmann Program. Thom and former Republican congressman Bob Ney (in his capacity as a correspondent for Talk Media News) discuss the tRump administration concentration camps that are holding (and abusing) Christian refugees from South of the border.

Thom Hartmann: Let's check in with Talk Media News ... on the line with us is Bob Ney, the author of Sideswiped, former congressman from Ohio. Bob, what's going on in the world?

Bob Ney: Good afternoon Thom. Well, we're looking at the federal judge who has blocked the Trump Administration policy denying bond hearings. That's the federal judge in Seattle.

Thom Hartmann: This is bond hearings for refugees on the southern border.

Bob Ney: Yes, sir. For the refugees on the southern border. He [the judge] blocked the policy. This came up because Attorney General William Barr, in April, issued that order, which would prevent immigration judges from granting bail to asylum seakers. And that was the vow by president Trump to end "catch and release". In the sense that they'd be released [into the United States] and later come back for their hearing.

Thom Hartmann: Right. And over 96 or 97 percent of these folks come back for their hearings. Which Trump and the Republicans were lying through their teeth about. Saying these people would just go away and never come back. And that's absolutely not true. They want to have their hearing. They believe they have a case.

Bob Ney: Yes. They do come back. Attorney General Barr (in April) issued this order because - you know how word gets back through communities - and, if people thought they'd have to sit in a detention camp for a year or two - then the Trump Administration hoped they wouldn't come in the first place.

That was the objective. The judge said this is unconstitutional. This will, most likely, continue to the Supreme Court.

Thom Hartmann: Does that mean that, in the meantime, refugees who are in these facilities can have bail posted for them and they can get out?

Bob Ney: They should be able to. Except the Trump Administration may file an emergency appeal. That I don't know. You asked the right question. The Attorney General can, however, make another rule. Not the same rule, but some other rule that they could devise to legally to [keep refugees in detention].

Thom Hartmann: In the meantime we're continuing to pay $750 prt child per day to private companies to keep child [and adult] refugees in, essentially, dog kennels.

Bob Ney: Exactly. Just because the Administration has lost temporarily doesn't mean it's over with. New rules can be put on immediately.

Thom Hartmann: And, if they deny them bail, then these for-profit corporations continue to get their $750 per person per day fee. So they've got to be lobbying the Trump Administration to say, don't give them bail. You guys keep paying us.

It's an abomination. This should not be happening in the United States of America.

Bob Ney: It is.

[End Thom Hartmann Program 7/3/2019 Excerpt]

So, here we have a former republican congressperson AGREEING that holding refugees (and their children) in concentration camps in deplorable conditions is "an abomination". An assessment that we should all agree with. All of us except hate-filled trumpers, of course. That the tRump administration is abusing children in an effort curtail illegal immigration should be a prosecutable crime, IMO.

For the record, I do not believe in "open borders". But these are people fleeing poverty, oppressive governments, crime and drought. They should be treated with compassion and not cruelty. But cruelty is the point. The administration thinks that by CREATING a crisis on the border they can blackmail the Democratically-controlled House into funding the Orange Turd's idiotic wall. It's despicable, but it's (at least partially) working.

I refer to the funding bill recently passed by the House. Money that the tRump administration most assuredly will NOT use to improve conditions in it's concentration camps. Because (like I said) cruelty is the point. And really, $750 per person per day isn't enough? Yikes! Yet trumpers defend this obvious corruption. As they defend ALL the tRump administration corruption. How ridiculous.

What follows is a 2nd excerpt from the 7/3/2019 airing of the THP in which Thom shares his thoughts on the tRump administration's treatment of refugee children.

Thom Hartmann: The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Doctor Sarah Goza - and what she had to say is just devastating. Quote, "when they opened the door, the first thing that hit us was a smell. It was the smell of sweat, urine and feces. And I heard crinkling to my left, and I looked over there and there was a sea of silver. There were young children in there. Unaccompanied boys. And they had no expressions on their faces. It was a room full of silent children. There was no laughing, there was no joking. There was no talking. All I could hear was the rustling of the silver Mylar blankets. ... the silence was hard to watch. Hard to see".

We have broken these children. The way you break a prisoner of war. Kids who don't laugh? Kids who don't talk?

Footnote
Poltifact reports that "a 2000 U.S. government-commissioned study that found an 83 percent rate of compliance with court proceedings among asylum seekers who were found to have a credible fear in the expedited removal process. It also showed an 84 percent compliance rate among asylees under minimal supervision, and 78 percent among those who were unsupervised". A program under the Obama Administration program [ended by tRump], the Family Case Management Program, had 630 enrolled families and a "100 percent attendance record at court hearings".

SWTD #414