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Future of the Democratic Party


Off-Topic Discussions

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PaulH wrote:

Hi from the other side of the pond

Seems we both have political disasters now, You with your election result, us with the devisive Brexit vote.

I'm one of our Lib Dem Party, (when I'm not playing PFS)! But the hatred I got on the web for voting 'Remain' was terrible. Put my blood pressure through the roof and I suffered a stroke on Jan 3rd. Still haven't recovered yet. So I know a bit how politics cab be devisive.

What's this about blaming GCHQ for spying on your election? We don't do things like that over here. Opinion over here is that an ex TV Personality is stroking his ego again. No facts, just innuendo.

His view that millions of illegal voters voted Democratic because he lost the popular vote is astonishing.

My condolences on the vote. I hope you get a more moderate centrist government next time, whichever party wins. Meantime we have 2 years of Brexit hell, plus a chance of Scotland breaking away from the Union after 300 years. (Like California breaking from USA).

Thanks for the chat
Paul H
(Typed with left hand since the right one don't work)

Best wishes for your speedy recovery Paul!

Unfortunately, our government has run wild spying on it's own citizens. Our National Security Agency eavesdroped on Obama over 1000 times, so it is 100% likely that they were also listening to Trump, as well as you and me. Here is an excellent article on the subject. It is a serious problem over here, however most democrats and republicans are putting their heads in the sand, and pretending it is only the other side doing it. Just remember that Big Uncle Sam is listening.


Fergie wrote:
Unfortunately, our government has run wild spying on it's own citizens. Our National Security Agency eavesdroped on Obama over 1000 times, so it is 100% likely that they were also listening to Trump, as well as you and me. Here is an excellent article on the subject. It is a serious problem over here, however most democrats and republicans are putting their heads in the sand and pretending it is only the other side doing it. Just remember that Big Uncle Sam is listening.

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't that just how phone tap warrants work? And kind of have to work.

You get a warrant to tap X's phone and then you listen to the conversations X has with anyone. You don't turn off the tap when X is calling someone you don't have a warrant for. This applies whether they're regular internal warrants or FISA court foreign warrants.

Now, if they were actually targeting Trump by deliberately getting warrants for his known foreign contacts, that's one thing, but that hasn't been demonstrated. If they just picked up some Trump conversations because he talked to people they had surveillance on for other reasons, that's to be expected.

How do you think wiretaps should be used? Only if there's a warrant for both sides?


"As [congressman] Lieu says, the 2008 FISA law explicitly allows NSA — without a warrant — to listen to Americans’ calls or read their emails with foreign nationals as long as their “intent” is to target the foreigner, not the American. [Former NSA lawyer] Hennessey’s defense is true only in the narrowest and emptiest theoretical sense: that the statute bars the practice of “reverse targeting,” where the real intent of targeting a foreign national is to monitor what Americans are saying. But the law was designed, and is now routinely used, for exactly that outcome."

I was under the impression that foreigners could be targeted without a warrant, or with a much lower standard than a US citizen protected by Fourth Amendment "rights". I think the idea is that rather then get a warrant for someone, they just monitor every foreign conversation they have, then use the evidence. As the article says: "The warrantless gathering and searching of vast amounts of communications data essentially becomes a dossier that can be used even against domestic opponents. This is what Snowden meant in his much-maligned but absolutely true statement in his first interview with us back in 2013 that “I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”"

This seems to be a case where the law is specifically designed for something, while officials claim the opposite. Like Trumps Muslim ban not being a Muslim ban, even though it is a Muslim ban.

To answer your questions, I think the government should be required to follow the Constitution when it comes to searches:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
I believe that the government, unless they have a specific warrant, should not be allowed ANY access to anything. Right now, both parties are trampling all over those "rights" and I don't see any major opposition from either Party.

Sovereign Court

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It's the oracle of Kevin Bacon, everyone is connected to what the US government considers a terrorist with enough degrees of separation.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
That you had to reach back as far as Vietnam, much less the World Wars suggests something.

It is also just plain false. Vietnam was a Republican war.

Truman sent a few military advisers to French Indochina (before 'Vietnam' even existed). No US soldiers died there while he was president... because they weren't fighting anyone. That's not a war or even a 'conflict'.

It was Eisenhower who got us involved in direct military action and Nixon who turned it into a war.

Silver Crusade

CBDunkerson wrote:


the jeff wrote:
That you had to reach back as far as Vietnam, much less the World Wars suggests something.

It is also just plain false. Vietnam was a Republican war.

Truman sent a few military advisers to French Indochina (before 'Vietnam' even existed). No US soldiers died there while he was president... because they weren't fighting anyone. That's not a war or even a 'conflict'.
It was Eisenhower who got us involved in direct military action and Nixon who turned it into a war.

Please tell me where you learned history, so I can make sure my grandson never goes there. Or did you read that in a Harry Turtledove novel where Kennedy and Johnson were never elected?

1. Eisenhower (R) sent military *Advisors* to French Indochina during the First Indochina War. After the French defeat, he only provided financial aid to the newly formed South Vietnam.

2. Kennedy (D) is the one who initially sent in the Green Berets to train the forces of South Vietnam. Kennedy tripled American forces in Vietnam in 1961, and tripled them again in 1962.

3. Lyndon Johnson (D) initiated military operations in 1964 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, authorized by a DEMOCRAT controlled Congress, and micromanaged the totally underwhelming military war effort from 1964 until he left office in 1969. Does the Name Robert McNamara mean anything to you? Their the ones who picked bombing targets at the White House instead of letting their military commanders choose targets based on the strategic and tactical effectiveness.

4. Nixon (R) finally let the military run the war starting in 1969, and had the North Vietnamese at the bargaining table within 2 years, a cease-fire negotiated, and began to pull out troops by late 1972.

5. The DEMOCRAT controlled Congress then stepped in and mandated all troops out of South Vietnam by 1975, which, just like Iraq when the Annointed One puled all our troops out, the Peace Accord signed in Paris went up in flames, and Democrats started telling us we lost the war.


Garrett Lightfinger wrote:


4. Nixon (R) finally let the military run the war starting in 1969, and had the North Vietnamese at the bargaining table within 2 years, a cease-fire negotiated, and began to pull out troops by late 1972.

After Nixon interfered with the peace talks before his election to intentionally prolong the war, that is.


So bored with this now trying to get a step up on which party did more warmongering 30-50+ years ago, but you kids have fun.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
So bored with this now trying to get a step up on which party did more warmongering 30-50+ years ago, but you kids have fun.

Well, the point of my post was that whoever you blame Vietnam on, the last of the examples used to prove how much more warlike Democrats are was at least 50 years ago, while the Republican examples were their last two administrations.


eh good point continue


Ah, good times.

I hear Trump wants to collect Cambodia's "debts" from when you Yankees installed Lon Nol.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Garrett Lightfinger wrote:

1. Eisenhower (R) sent military *Advisors* to French Indochina during the First Indochina War. After the French defeat, he only provided financial aid to the newly formed South Vietnam.

2. Kennedy (D) is the one who initially sent in the Green Berets to train the forces of South Vietnam.

Green Berets were first deployed to Vietnam in 1957... and Eisenhower may have called the troops he sent 'advisers', but the fact is that they were fighting and dying there.

Ergo, Eisenhower was the president who "initiated" the conflict for the US.


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thejeff wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
So bored with this now trying to get a step up on which party did more warmongering 30-50+ years ago, but you kids have fun.
Well, the point of my post was that whoever you blame Vietnam on, the last of the examples used to prove how much more warlike Democrats are was at least 50 years ago, while the Republican examples were their last two administrations.

Also, there's some saying about history forgotten and repeated or something. Maybe history is a good thing to know?


Since the "review period" is two of each party's previous administrations - and ignoring Trump as insignificant - that sets the entry point at 1993:


  • Bosnia, 1993 - 1996 and again in '99
  • Haiti, 1994 - 1995
  • Iraqi no-fly zone enforcement continues until 2003
  • Afghanistan and Sudan 1998 'Operation Infinite Reach'
  • Yemen, 2000 as a result of the U.S.S. Cole bomb-boat attack culminating in the 2002 Hellfire assassination of the engineer of the attack.
  • 2001-2014 "war on terror" in Afghanistan
  • 2003-2011 "war on terror" in Iraq
  • 2004-present "war on terror" in NW Pakistan
  • 2010-present "war on terror" in Yemen
  • 2011 Libya
  • 2011 Somalia
  • 2011-present 'advisers' in Uganda, upgraded in size and hardware in 2014
  • 2011/2012-present Syrian Civil War
  • 2013 "war on terror" raids in Somalia and Libya
  • 2014-present "intervention" against Daesh/ISIL/ISIS.
  • 2015-present Cameroon/Nigeria vs. Boko Haram.


History is good to know but saying such and such committed to a war 50+ years ago is not the way to decide your political party.


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The Mad Comrade wrote:

Since the "review period" is two of each party's previous administrations - and ignoring Trump as insignificant - that sets the entry point at 1993:


  • Bosnia, 1993 - 1996 and again in '99
  • Haiti, 1994 - 1995
  • Iraqi no-fly zone enforcement continues until 2003
  • Afghanistan and Sudan 1998 'Operation Infinite Reach'
  • Yemen, 2000 as a result of the U.S.S. Cole bomb-boat attack culminating in the 2002 Hellfire assassination of the engineer of the attack.
  • 2001-2014 "war on terror" in Afghanistan
  • 2003-2011 "war on terror" in Iraq
  • 2004-present "war on terror" in NW Pakistan
  • 2010-present "war on terror" in Yemen
  • 2011 Libya
  • 2011 Somalia
  • 2011-present 'advisers' in Uganda, upgraded in size and hardware in 2014
  • 2011/2012-present Syrian Civil War
  • 2013 "war on terror" raids in Somalia and Libya
  • 2014-present "intervention" against Daesh/ISIL/ISIS.
  • 2015-present Cameroon/Nigeria vs. Boko Haram.

I'm not sure why a "review period" is necessarily "two of each party's previous administrations, but shouldn't it actually two of each party? You've included Clinton and Obama, but only the second Bush. Unless you're counting Trump, even though you said you're ignoring him.

The first Bush puts us back to 1988 and adds the first Gulf War at least. Comparing 8 years to 16 isn't really useful. Really to cover equivalent periods it would be fair to include Reagan's second term as well.

Simply listing the conflicts also masks the scale of each. All of Obama's and Clinton's conflicts were on a far smaller scale than the occupation of Iraq and have had far smaller costs - in both blood and treasure. To us and to the civilians of the area. Even Afghanistan was a much smaller operation. The Iraq war destabilized the entire region and led directly to Daesh and conflict in the whole area. It is the biggest foreign policy disaster of my lifetime.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Since the "review period" is two of each party's previous administrations - and ignoring Trump as insignificant - that sets the entry point at 1993:


  • Bosnia, 1993 - 1996 and again in '99
  • Haiti, 1994 - 1995
  • Iraqi no-fly zone enforcement continues until 2003
  • Afghanistan and Sudan 1998 'Operation Infinite Reach'
  • Yemen, 2000 as a result of the U.S.S. Cole bomb-boat attack culminating in the 2002 Hellfire assassination of the engineer of the attack.
  • 2001-2014 "war on terror" in Afghanistan
  • 2003-2011 "war on terror" in Iraq
  • 2004-present "war on terror" in NW Pakistan
  • 2010-present "war on terror" in Yemen
  • 2011 Libya
  • 2011 Somalia
  • 2011-present 'advisers' in Uganda, upgraded in size and hardware in 2014
  • 2011/2012-present Syrian Civil War
  • 2013 "war on terror" raids in Somalia and Libya
  • 2014-present "intervention" against Daesh/ISIL/ISIS.
  • 2015-present Cameroon/Nigeria vs. Boko Haram.

I'm not sure why a "review period" is necessarily "two of each party's previous administrations, but shouldn't it actually two of each party? You've included Clinton and Obama, but only the second Bush. Unless you're counting Trump, even though you said you're ignoring him.

The first Bush puts us back to 1988 and adds the first Gulf War at least. Comparing 8 years to 16 isn't really useful. Really to cover equivalent periods it would be fair to include Reagan's second term as well.

Simply listing the conflicts also masks the scale of each. All of Obama's and Clinton's conflicts were on a far smaller scale than the occupation of Iraq and have had far smaller costs - in both blood and treasure. To us and to the civilians of the area. Even Afghanistan was a much smaller operation. The Iraq war destabilized the entire region and led directly to Daesh and conflict in the whole area. It is the biggest foreign policy disaster of my lifetime.

Give the current administration time. I'm sure they can top that, bigly.


Paul Watson wrote:
I'm sure they can top that, bigly.

Yooj-ly, even!


Paul Watson wrote:
I'm sure they can top that, bigly.

The only saving grace is that, since he's so closely tied to Putin, we're unlikely to go to war Russia.

There are of course other horrific possibilities.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
I'm sure they can top that, bigly.
The only saving grace is that, since he's so closely tied to Putin, we're unlikely to go to war Russia.

No sinecure there. Putin will discard Trump like yesterday's facial tissues just as soon as he ceases to be useful.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
I'm sure they can top that, bigly.

The only saving grace is that, since he's so closely tied to Putin, we're unlikely to go to war Russia.

I'm worried the planet isn't big enough for two ego's that big.

And when a bromance like that goes bad, it goes BAD.


We also won't go to war with China, the Kushner's are making way too much money for helping kill the TPP.

Scarab Sages

Irontruth wrote:
We also won't go to war with China, the Kushner's are making way too much money for helping kill the TPP.

I am always reminded of Damian Kastner from The Blakros Matrimony when I see the name Jared Kushner.

Not only do Kastner and Kushner sound similar, but both men are married to more famous women (at least in-universe). I'm surprised that Jared didn't have to take the name Trump and give the family a demon-infested mansion to marry Ivanka.


thejeff wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Since the "review period" is two of each party's previous administrations - and ignoring Trump as insignificant - that sets the entry point at 1993:


  • Bosnia, 1993 - 1996 and again in '99
  • Haiti, 1994 - 1995
  • Iraqi no-fly zone enforcement continues until 2003
  • Afghanistan and Sudan 1998 'Operation Infinite Reach'
  • Yemen, 2000 as a result of the U.S.S. Cole bomb-boat attack culminating in the 2002 Hellfire assassination of the engineer of the attack.
  • 2001-2014 "war on terror" in Afghanistan
  • 2003-2011 "war on terror" in Iraq
  • 2004-present "war on terror" in NW Pakistan
  • 2010-present "war on terror" in Yemen
  • 2011 Libya
  • 2011 Somalia
  • 2011-present 'advisers' in Uganda, upgraded in size and hardware in 2014
  • 2011/2012-present Syrian Civil War
  • 2013 "war on terror" raids in Somalia and Libya
  • 2014-present "intervention" against Daesh/ISIL/ISIS.
  • 2015-present Cameroon/Nigeria vs. Boko Haram.

I'm not sure why a "review period" is necessarily "two of each party's previous administrations, but shouldn't it actually two of each party? You've included Clinton and Obama, but only the second Bush. Unless you're counting Trump, even though you said you're ignoring him.

The first Bush puts us back to 1988 and adds the first Gulf War at least. Comparing 8 years to 16 isn't really useful. Really to cover equivalent periods it would be fair to include Reagan's second term as well.

Simply listing the conflicts also masks the scale of each. All of Obama's and Clinton's conflicts were on a far smaller scale than the occupation of Iraq and have had far smaller costs - in both blood and treasure. To us and to the civilians of the area. Even Afghanistan was a much smaller operation. The Iraq war destabilized the entire region and led directly to Daesh and conflict in the whole area. It is the biggest foreign policy disaster of my lifetime.

I was going off of this ...

thejeff wrote:


Well ... the Republican examples were their last two administrations.

... to make the list, which I then proceeded to botch my check for. D'oh! :)

The intent was to generate a starting point to discussing 'recently' initiated "authorized uses of military force" without requiring the Senate to get its paws dirty.

I was deliberately leaving commentary to others. o7


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Irontruth wrote:
We also won't go to war with China, the Kushner's are making way too much money for helping kill the TPP.

Given the severe sovereignty and IP clauses I understood to be contained in the TPP agreement, killing it was a good thing.


The Mad Comrade wrote:

I was going off of this ...

thejeff wrote:


Well ... the Republican examples were their last two administrations.

... to make the list, which I then proceeded to botch my check for. D'oh! :)

The intent was to generate a starting point to discussing 'recently' initiated "authorized uses of military force" without requiring the Senate to get its paws dirty.

I was deliberately leaving commentary to others. o7

Whereas I wasn't deliberately picking a period, just pointing out that the examples given to show that Democrats were more warlike were badly skewed.


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The Mad Comrade wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
We also won't go to war with China, the Kushner's are making way too much money for helping kill the TPP.
Given the severe sovereignty and IP clauses I understood to be contained in the TPP agreement, killing it was a good thing.

It's one of those complicated things. There's a lot not to be liked in the TPP. Backing off it entirely and letting China establish its own form of a Pacific trade deal instead isn't a good alternative.


I disagree.


Students for Bernie Find Their Home in Growing Socialist Movements

Comrade Mosgrove decamped from our party to go join the DSA. Which wasn't a surprise; years ago he was telling comrades he was voting for Marty Walsh. He's also the one that I posted about years ago who tried to tell me that Django Unchained was racist and then turned around and tried to bureaucratically roll me over when I pointed out at a meeting that their leaflet calling for "fully-funded voluntarily integrated schools" which they handed out in SOUTH BOSTON ON MOTHERF#$*ING ST. PATRICK'S DAY was capitulating to racism.

They later had a discussion on busing in Boston and decided that I was right. Have fun in the Democrats, Ryan!

Comrade Brown was one of the Fight for $15 organizers that we made contact with during the Jeffrey Pendleton demos.


Vo Giap, Ambassador of Bachuan wrote:
I disagree.

You think China developing it's own version of TPP is a good thing?


Who, specifically, do you think would benefit from the US enacting the TPP?
Who, specifically, do you think would benefit from the China enacting their own version of the TPP?


If you had to choose, which would you prefer? China version of TPP or American version?


Irontruth wrote:
If you had to choose, which would you prefer? China version of TPP or American version?

Chinese version. That way, foreign governments/corporations would not be able to override US laws.


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As the All-Purpose Asian Stalinist Avatar of Comrade Anklebiter, I'm going to have to say that I exult in the growth of the People's Republic of China and can only hope with bated breath that Donald Trump further hastens the fall of Yankee imperialism.


Vo Giap, Ambassador of Bachuan wrote:
As the All-Purpose Asian Stalinist Avatar of Comrade Anklebiter, I'm going to have to say that I exult in the growth of the People's Republic of China and can only hope with bated breath that Donald Trump further hastens the fall of Yankee imperialism.

I was wondering about the origin of Bachuan, so I typed "nation of Bachuan" into ye olde search engine... The results were deeply disturbing!

There is also this


Fergie wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
If you had to choose, which would you prefer? China version of TPP or American version?
Chinese version. That way, foreign governments/corporations would not be able to override US laws.

So you think workers in these poorer nations will be better served with companies like FoxConn having greater influence. Interesting.


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Irontruth wrote:
Fergie wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
If you had to choose, which would you prefer? China version of TPP or American version?
Chinese version. That way, foreign governments/corporations would not be able to override US laws.
So you think workers in these poorer nations will be better served with companies like FoxConn having greater influence. Interesting.

Are you implying that workers in these poorer countries would be treated any differently by the US version of TPP?

The ENTIRE POINT of these free trade agreements is to exploit the poorest for the maximum benefit of the wealthiest. For example, a wealthy company like Apple, hires FoxConn to make themselves yet more money by exploiting some of the poorest people in the world. Do you think there is any difference between the way Apple would run some new sweatshop in Vietnam, compared to the way FoxConn would run the same factory? Either way, the poor get f%+&ed, and the rich get to pad some Swiss bank account. I don't care who's secret account gets the extra money. In fact, since the ultra wealthy in the US use their money to subvert the poor and working class, I would rather China gets it. It might be selfish, but I feel US corporations are already doing too much damage. Let the Chinese government deal with the bribery and corruption that money will bring.

EDIT: We should be pushing FAIR trade not FREE trade!


thejeff wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

I was going off of this ...

thejeff wrote:


Well ... the Republican examples were their last two administrations.

... to make the list, which I then proceeded to botch my check for. D'oh! :)

The intent was to generate a starting point to discussing 'recently' initiated "authorized uses of military force" without requiring the Senate to get its paws dirty.

I was deliberately leaving commentary to others. o7

Whereas I wasn't deliberately picking a period, just pointing out that the examples given to show that Democrats were more warlike were badly skewed.

Hadn't thought that was the result, thejeff. I figure those that are interested can look the individual items up and form personal opinions on each one.

Added benefit is it shows future potential flashpoints asides from North Korea, Iran, China and the Russian border from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Let alone Venezuela's ongoing/developing "situation" (read: terrible) or the ongoing nightmare in the Philippines.


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Fergie wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
If you had to choose, which would you prefer? China version of TPP or American version?
Chinese version. That way, foreign governments/corporations would not be able to override US laws.

Originally published in early 2014, the Economix Comix spells out the myriad problems with the TPP that was killed.

Edit: Regarding the imbedded international 'courts' that corporations leverage against entire nations, here is part 1 of a series of articles discussing matters that compromise sovereignty in the pursuit of gobs of money.


Yes. I do think there's a difference. In full* awareness of how bad the US can be, the idea that China can't and won't be worse is laughable.

*Well, probably not full, but I've got a pretty damn low opinion.


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I should point out the irony of using FoxConn as an argument for free trade.

See, back in the day, phones and little gadgets and stuff were made in the US, and while manufacturing was far from glamorous, it provided a middle class lifestlye for many people, and supported related industries that employed a far larger number still.

I've posted this MIT article in the past, but it key to understanding this stuff.
"Clinton had been the subject of heavy lobbying by American business interests and his economic advisers to continue China's trade privileges. With China now the world's fastest growing economy, the United States exports $8 billion a year there, which sustains up to 150,000 American jobs. Many major American businesses see even greater potential in Chinese markets, expecting China to become a massive purchaser over the next decade of the phones, electronic gadgets and thousands of other products made in America."

So we had lots of Americans with good jobs looking forward to new export markets- the promise of "Free Trade". The reality is that those jobs were shipped to China, who had only a few years earlier, shown their commitment to human rights by crushing the Tiananmen Square protests. US companies outsourced all those manufacturing jobs, and then some, to China, who ran companies like FoxConn. FoxConn factories were brutal sweatshops that violated US labor laws and basic human rights. The working conditions in their factories became so awful, workers were committing suicide in protest. Being good capitalists, they did a cost/benefit analysis, and decided to put up nets to catch their workers rather than improving working conditions. <-- THAT is the reality of "free trade" as practiced by American/ Chinese companies, in partnership. I don't understand how you could think either is going to improve things for workers. The entire point of the unholy free trade alliance is based on not caring about labor and the environment. If either side cared, they wouldn't be practicing "free trade".

Rather then race to the slavey bottom of "Free Trade", commit to fair trade, and not only feel good about it, but also win elections with it.


We're back to "Neither is good so they must be equally bad."

You're using the Chinese reaction to Chinese workers committing suicide to show that the Chinese can't possibly be worse than the US. Does that make any sense at all?

I don't think the US TPP would have made things much better, if at all. I think the Chinese version they'll get instead will make them even worse.

Mind you, a new US deal negotiated by the Trump team might not clear even that low bar, but that's hardly an endorsement.

Yes, I'm all for pushing for Fair Trade, but this doesn't somehow create fair trade. Nor am I at all convinced that the magic words "Fair Trade" will win elections. In the long run, the result might.


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I cannot recommend strongly enough reading the series of articles discussing the ISDS arbitration lunacy that is embedded in NAFTA and a gob of other free trade agreements.

For example:

Linked article wrote:


Indonesia is part of a growing list of countries that are trying to renegotiate or nullify treaties containing ISDS. Some Latin American countries, particularly Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia, have taken the hardest line, denouncing the entire system, terminating treaties, or withdrawing membership from the World Bank’s arbitration body.

Other nations have adopted a less drastic approach. After a controversial challenge to a post-apartheid law designed to remedy years of discrimination against black people in business, South Africa terminated its treaties and replaced them with a more limited domestic law protecting foreign businesses. India is seeking to renegotiate its treaties after being hit with controversial cases, some of them related to a notorious corruption scandal, others to the government’s attempts to crack down on tax avoidance.

Developed countries also have joined the backlash. Australia has refused to include ISDS in some of its recent treaties. The European Commission has proposed turning ISDS into an Investment Court System with a panel of potential arbitrators pre-selected by governments and a genuine appeals process. Canada recently agreed to this in a trade deal with the EU states.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was once a big booster of ISDS, even hosting events that amounted to international treaty speed-dating, at which diplomats would meet their counterparts from other countries, go through rounds of negotiations, and emerge from the gathering with multiple new treaties.

In recent years, however, it repeatedly has sounded the alarm. “The continuing trend of investors challenging generally applicable public policies, contradictory decisions issued by tribunals, an increasing number of dissenting opinions, concerns about arbitrators’ potential conflicts of interest all illustrate the problems inherent in the system,” a 2013 report said.

“The question is not about whether to reform,” UNCTAD said in a report this year, “but about the what, how and the extent of such reform.”

When reading these articles, one swiftly notes

ISDS article wrote:

"The three-person arbitration tribunals that decide the cases tend to be made up of corporate lawyers; they may argue for a company in one case and sit in judgment in another. And they are not bound by precedent; they have broad license to interpret the rules however they want. Most of the time, not even transparency serves as a check on their power, because hearings, evidence, and, in some cases, the judgments themselves remain secret. And the field is tilted in yet another way: Only companies can bring an ISDS suit. Countries cannot sue the companies that operate within their borders. They can only try to defend themselves, which typically costs millions of dollars.

"... a dozen senators urged President Obama to remove a controversial element of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the massive trade deal the administration is pushing Congress to ratify in the coming months.

The senators — including Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — highlighted a private legal system contained in the deal that would empower foreign companies to sue the US government before a panel of arbitrators ...

“Recent investigative reporting ... reveals the extent to which ISDS has become an integral part of profit-maximizing strategies for corporations,” they wrote. “ISDS challenges, and even mere threats of ISDS challenges, have been used to secure extractive permits over community objections, to get executives out of criminal convictions, and to exonerate managers connected to a factory’s lead poisoning of children.”

“Such a corporate handout does not belong in our trade agreements,” they concluded.

The senators also disputed the administration’s claims that TPP would bolster national security.

Empowering multinational corporations, who have allegiance to no country, through ISDS will actually weaken the ability of our TPP partners to govern,” the senators wrote. “Meaningful government engagement and relationship-building with our allies will advance U.S. national security interests in the Asia Pacific far more effectively than a trade agreement that promotes the interests of corporations at the expense of citizens.”

And the senators again cited ISDS to undercut the administration’s frequent claim that TPP is “the most progressive trade deal in history.”

“It is simply not accurate to call an agreement progressive if it ... includes a special court for corporations to challenge legitimate, democratically developed public policies,” the senators wrote."

Bold emphasis mine


Yup, I'm not a fan of the ISDS arbitration system either.


Fergie wrote:

There is also this

All hail Grandfather Pei Thought!


Did some googling.

Foxconn is a Taipei-based company (I believe you call it Taiwan, or the Republic of China). Taipei hasn't yet signed on to the RCEP (unclear whether the PRC would allow it) but it was a signatory to the TPP.

EDIT: No, it wasn't. It wanted in, but same pressures from the PRC.

So, unless things change, or have already changed since the articles I read, it looks like Foxconn will have less influence under RCEP than it would have had under the TPP.

EDIT: It wouldn't have any more or less influence than it did before.


I've really been enjoying the Economix Comix, and wish to thank The Mad Comrade for posting it.

I noticed that the folks over at Economix Comix responded to the same Kurt Eichenwald piece that was posted on this thread a little while back.

Interesting and informative.

Thanks again Mad Comrade!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fergie wrote:

I've really been enjoying the Economix Comix, and wish to thank The Mad Comrade for posting it.

I noticed that the folks over at Economix Comix responded to the same Kurt Eichenwald piece that was posted on this thread a little while back.

Interesting and informative.

Thanks again Mad Comrade!

Glad to have done so, Fergie. grin


4 people marked this as a favorite.

In other news:

Senate votes to let ISPs sell your Web browsing history to advertisers

Privacy is good for me, but not for thee.

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