Tag Archives: free trade

A referendum on democracy itself is on the ballot

Let’s be perfectly clear: if a Democratic president had done what Donald Trump is currently doing in foreign policy, that president would be the subject of an impeachment proceeding right now as we speak. Republicans would have drafted an article of impeachment for treason, without doubt. But as always, IOKIYAR.

David Leonhardt of the New York Times sums it up nicely. Trump Tries to Destroy the West:

President Trump is trying to destroy [the Western] alliance.

Is that how he thinks about it? Who knows. It’s impossible to get inside his head and divine his strategic goals, if he even has long-term goals. But put it this way: If a president of the United States were to sketch out a secret, detailed plan to break up the Atlantic alliance, that plan would bear a striking resemblance to Trump’s behavior.

It would involve outward hostility to the leaders of Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Japan. Specifically, it would involve picking fights over artificial issues — not to win big concessions for the United States, but to create conflict for the sake of it.

A secret plan to break up the West would also have the United States looking for new allies to replace the discarded ones. The most obvious would be Russia, the biggest rival within Europe to Germany, France and Britain. And just as Russia does, a United States intent on wrecking the Atlantic alliance would meddle in the domestic politics of other countries to install new governments that also rejected the old alliance.

Check. Check. Check. Check. Trump is doing every one of these things.

He chose not to attend the full G-7 meeting, in Quebec, this past weekend. While he was there, he picked fights. By now, you’ve probably seen the photograph released by the German government — of Trump sitting down, with eyebrows raised and crossed arms, while Germany’s Angela Merkel and other leaders stand around him, imploring. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, wears a look of defeat.

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Putin’s puppet pays off big at the ‘G6 Plus One’ Summit

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is laughing today at his unimaginable success in undermining America’s role as the leader of the post-war economic order of the liberal western democracies, and undermining the European Union and the Western alliance (and NATO). Putin’s puppet, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is doing his bidding for him.

What was the G8 Summit until Russia was kicked out after its annexation of Crimea, became the G7 Summit. With Putin’s puppet Donald Trump doing his bidding, it has now become the “G6 plus one” Summit: Allies’ frustration with U.S. mounts ahead of G7 summit:

President Trump is expecting tough talks with U.S. allies Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Japan at the G7 summit Friday. Relations are tense after the president put new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada. Those nations are threatening new tariffs of their own on U.S. goods. President Trump tweeted Friday morning: “Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!”

Mr. Trump’s “America first” mantra has led to policy decisions that have angered U.S. allies. G7 finance ministers met ahead of the summit and described the group as “G6 plus one,” with the U.S. in the rare role of an outlier.

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March jobs report well below expectations, trade war trouble on the horizon

Economic forecasters expected another strong jobs report today. That didn’t happen. Steve Benen has the March jobs report. Following February’s highs, job growth slowed down in March:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the economy added 103,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% for the sixth consecutive month. In both cases, forecasts projected better progress, making today’s report disappointing.

Making matters slightly worse, the revisions for the two previous months – January and February – point to a combined loss of 50,000 jobs as compared to previous BLS reports.

MarchJobs
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‘Trump’s Trade War’ rattles world markets, will cost American consumers more money

President Trump on Thursday directed the US trade representative to level tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. Why Trump’s tariffs on China are a big deal:

In the next 15 days, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will publish a list of products that his team intends to hit with tariffs. It’s not clear how high the individual tariffs will be.

The United States also plans to impose new investment restrictions and take action against China at the World Trade Organization.

The trade conflict between China and the U.S. escalated, with Beijing announcing its first retaliation against metals levies hours after President Donald Trump outlined fresh tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports and pledged there’s more on the way. China Hits Back on Trump Tariffs as Europe Off Hook for Now:

On Friday, China unveiled tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. imports in response to steel and aluminum duties ordered by Trump earlier this month. The White House then declared a temporary exemption for the European Union and other nations on those levies, making the focus on China clear. Though Beijing’s actions so far are seen by analysts as measured, there may be more to come.

“Trump’s Trade War” has caused a decline in world markets:

Equity indexes from Tokyo to Frankfurt tumbled with European equities falling to the lowest in more than a year. U.S. stock futures dropped, signaling a further retreat for the S&P 500 Index after it fell 2.5 percent, on risks a further escalation in trade tensions will undermine an unusual phase of synchronized global economic growth.

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Trump throws a temper tantrum and starts a trade war – with our allies

The headline in the Sunday Washington Post blares ‘Pure madness’: Dark days inside the White House as Trump shocks and rages:

Trump’s friends are increasingly concerned about his well-being, worried that the president’s obsession with cable commentary and perceived slights is taking a toll on the 71-year-old. “Pure madness,” lamented one exasperated ally.

NBC News reported last week that Trump was angry and ‘unglued’ when he started a trade war, officials say:

Trump’s policy maneuver, which may ultimately harm U.S. companies and American consumers, was announced without any internal review by government lawyers or his own staff, according to a review of an internal White House document.

According to two officials, Trump’s decision to launch a potential trade war was born out of anger at other simmering issues and the result of a broken internal process that has failed to deliver him consensus views that represent the best advice of his team.

On Wednesday evening, the president became “unglued,” in the words of one official familiar with the president’s state of mind.

* * *

Trump, the two officials said, was angry and gunning for a fight, and he chose a trade war, spurred on by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, the White House director for trade — and against longstanding advice from his economic chair Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

* * *

No one at the State Department, the Treasury Department or the Defense Department had been told that a new policy was about to be announced or given an opportunity to weigh in in advance.

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#TPP Is ‘Worse Than We Thought’: Text Finally Public

pillsYesterday the text of the multi-national “free trade” agreement– the long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — was released to the public. This start the 90-day review period before President Barack Obama can seek approval from Congress. (Note that the review period overlaps the holiday season and the presidential primaries– plenty of distraction for the American voters.)

Ant-TPP activists and humanitarians wasted no time pushing out their stories and opinions; analyses are being posted on blogs, videos, and social media, particularly Twitter (#FlushTheTPP, #TPPWorseThanWeThought). Labeling the TPP a “corporate power grab nightmare,” Common Dreams posted a comprehensive write-up detailing low points such as climate denial, food safety, and net neutrality. Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interviewed Public Citizen/Global Trade Watch’s  Lori Wallach and Doctors Without Borders Michael Forman. Focusing on big pharma’s power grabDoctors Without Borders came out quickly and strongly calling the TPP “the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries”. The TPP extends drug patents and increases big pharma’s ability to set high prices. High prices will limit availability and limit access to care, particularly in poor countries. This will result in increased premature death among those who live in poverty. [So, why are we doing this? Oh, yeah, it’s “business friendly.” Too bad about the whole premature death thing.]

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