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Alternative Visions – Trump’s Grand Strategy – 02.03.17

Jack Rasmus describes Trump’s grand strategy that is now beginning to take shape–economic, social and foreign elements, noting how the Trump strategy reveals great similarities with Nixon in the 1970s and Reagan in 1980s. Trump is Nixon-Reagan on steroids. Rasmus reviews similarities with Nixon and Reagan in Trump’s current attack on US trading partners in Europe, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Germany, Australia and soon China—comparing them with Nixon’s New Economic Program in 1971-72 and Reagan’s 1985-86 attacks on Japan and Europe with the Plaza and Louvre accords. Trump is not against Free Trade, but for bilateral free trade instead of Clinton-Obama multilateral free trade. Trump’s protectionism is tactical. The goal is to advance US corporate interests vis a vis foreign competitors, just as Nixon and Reagan did. Rasmus describes Trump Grand Strategy to date as: Congress drives deregulation of ACA and Dodd-Frank and then focuses on corporate-investor tax cuts. Trump meantime paves the way with Executive Orders, while using EOs to attack immigrants, domestic and foreign; Trump goes slow on major foreign policy changes involving Russia, middle east and Asia, while aggressively attacking immigrants, law and order, proposing election reform and advancing religious groups’ interests. Strong similarities between Nixon, Reagan, and Trump on policies involving defense spending, social program cuts, deficits, strong dollar, attacking the liberal media, undermining unions, massive deregulation, cutting pensions and social security, promoting police and law and order attacks on protestors, and domestic spying and surveillance. (Next week: France and the Future of Europe)

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David Dayen – How the TPP Special Court Crushes Domestic Laws and Plunders the Public

A secretive super-court system called ISDS is threatening to blow up President Barack Obama’s highest foreign policy priority. Investor-state dispute settlement — an integral part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — allows companies to sue entire countries for costing them money when laws or regulations change. Cases are decided by extrajudicial tribunals composed of three corporate lawyers. Buzzfeed, in …

Opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement protest outside of the White House in Washington February 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Gary Cameron

David Dayen – The Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Super Court That We’re Not Talking About

A secretive super-court system called ISDS is threatening to blow up President Barack Obama’s highest foreign policy priority. Investor-state dispute settlement — an integral part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — allows companies to sue entire countries for costing them money when laws or regulations change. Cases are decided by extrajudicial tribunals composed of three corporate lawyers. Buzzfeed, in …

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John Kozy – Making the World over in America’s Image

The paradigms a person uses (or assumes) while thinking about anything determines the conclusions reached. The choice of  an incorrect paradigm usually renders the thought process invalid. Free trade was practiced long before restricted trade. Restrictions were placed on trade to prevent the damage done to domestic producers by allowing free trade with foreign producers. The elimination of these restrictions …

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Dave Johnson – What’s The Problem With “Free Trade”?

Our country’s “free trade” agreements have followed a framework of trading away our democracy and middle-class prosperity in exchange for letting the biggest corporations dominate. There are those who say any increase in trade is good. But if you close a factory here and lay off the workers, open the factory “there” to make the same things the factory here …

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Sam Sacks and Sam Knight – “Broken Promises”: How Congressional Democrats Are Pushing the TPP to the Brink

Barack Obama might come to regretbranding the Trans-Pacific Partnership as “the most progressive trade deal in history.” A meaningless distinction from inception (the WTO and NAFTA set low benchmarks), Congressional Dems disputed the talking point in 2015 to devastating effect. As a result of their prodding from the left, the TPP looks far more in doubt than it ought to at …

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TPP: A new low

As a dozen nations gather in New Zealand this week to officially sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), working families in the United States are sounding the alarm on a deal that would lower wages and ship even more jobs overseas. The final text of the agreement, released in November, is even worse than we imagined, with loopholes in labor enforcement …

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Colin Todhunter – Fast Food Nations: Selling Out to Junk Food, Illness and Food Insecurity

Western agribusiness, food processing companies and retail concerns are gaining wider entry into India and through various strategic trade deals are looking to gain a more significant footprint within the country. The Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA) and the ongoing India-EU free trade agreement talks have raised serious concerns about the stranglehold that transnational corporations could have on the agriculture …

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David Morris – Yes, trade deals really do overturn democracy

Forget tariffs, forget Obama’s promises. The whole point of modern ‘trade agreements’ is to whack pesky labor, environment and health laws, writes David Morris, and so empower capital and corporate power against regulators, governments and democracy itself. Unconvinced? Just imagine what these deals would look like if they were there to empower people. New trade agreements like the TPP largely …

U.S. Trade Policy Is Pro-Rich, Not Free Trade – Dean Baker

Thomas Edsall had a very good piece on divisions in the Democratic Party over trade policy in the NYT this morning. The piece cites a large body of academic research pointing out that U.S. trade policy has played a large role in destroying manufacturing jobs and redistributing income upwards. It notes that this is the basis of the opposition of unions to …