“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, June 12, 2015

TPP will pass - The Two Party Scams Continues as the so-called US Representatives will do as their corporate paymasters wish


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. A history of redundant empty comments that are hoisted with proud and profound repetitive stupidity.

    1. It was the truth.

      Your are losing your readership, along with your contributors.

      Your name is vanity.

      Since your pal rat took off, I've noticed WiO has gone too.

      I'm going to Europe soon.

      That's probably the end of it for me too.

      It isn't worth it.

      You'll end up talking to General R.

    2. I chose the road less travelled. Blogging is not my business. Enjoy Europe. You may learn something.

  3. WikiLeaks has published another portion of the text of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. The text reveals that the TPP would give major pharmaceutical companies more power over public access to medicine, weaken public health care programs and prevent Congress from passing reforms to lower drug costs.

  4. WikiLeaks has released a draft of an annex of a secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which would likely enable pharmaceutical companies to fight the ability of participating governments to control the rise of drug prices. It would empower companies to mount challenges to Medicare in the United States.

    For a number of years, the US and eleven other countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam—have been negotiating proposals for the TPP. Drafts previously released by WikiLeaks have shown that the US has been the most extreme negotiator in the process.

    “This leak reveals that the Obama administration, acting at the behest of pharmaceutical companies, has subjected Medicare to a series of procedural rules, negotiated in secret, that would limit Congress’ ability to enact policy reforms that would reduce prescription drug costs for Americans – and might even open to challenge aspects of our health care system today,” according to Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program.

    Public Citizen is a watchdog group that has been at the forefront of challenging the TPP in the US.

    The annex, which is dated December 17, 2014, expressly names the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as being covered by the trade agreement.

    The watchdog group contends that the language could affect the ability of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to pursue pharmaceutical reform and “negotiate the price of prescription drugs on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.”

    “Vital to this reform would be the establishment of a national formulary, which would provide the government with substantial leverage to obtain discounts,” Public Citizen suggests. Yet, if the TPP is adopted, this “formulary” would be subject to the agreement’s requirements, which would “pose significant administrative costs, enshrine greater pharmaceutical company influence in government reimbursement decision-making and reduce the capability of the government to negotiate lower prices.”

    The Senate already approved “fast track” legislation that would give President Obama “trade promotion authority” to send the TPP to Congress for a vote. The House of Representatives will vote on “fast track” this week (as early as June 11).

    The Obama administration has been highly secretive, requiring senators and their staffers to have security clearances to read the drafted TPP.

    Senator Barbara Boxer was confronted by a guard who told her she could not “take notes” on the trade agreement. The guard insisted the notes would be kept in a file, which made Boxer even more outraged. (What would stop the Obama administration from using such notes to maneuver around the objections of members of Congress?)

    1. A growing bloc of representatives in the House have solidified their opposition to the TPP and demand the agreement be made public before a “fast track” vote.

      In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the new details suggest the country’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) would be undermined and increase the cost of medicines for the public.

      The drafted text “tightly specifies the operation of countries’ schemes for subsidizing pharmaceuticals and medical devices with the aim of providing greater disclosure, more avenues for pharmaceutical industry influence and greater opportunities for industry contestation of pharmaceutical decision making,” according to Dr. Deborah Gleeson, an expert in Australia on international trade and public health policy who analyzed the leaked document [PDF].

      Although, as Gleeson notes, this draft seems to be watered down from previous language, which would have made it possible for companies to “target” the pricing of pharmaceuticals.

      This section would have significant implications for New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical Management Agency (Pharmac), which Professor Jane Kelsey of Auckland University says has been a prime target of US pharmaceutical companies in TPP negotiations.

      “This leaked text shows the TPPA will severely erode Pharmac’s ability to continue todeliver affordable medicines and medical devices as it has for the past two decades,” Kelsey states. “That will mean fewer medicines are subsidized, or people will pay more as co-payments, or more of the health budget will go to pay for medicines instead of other activities, or the health budget will have to expand beyond the cap. Whatever theoutcome, the big global pharmaceutical companies will win, and the poorest and most vulnerable New Zealanders will lose.”

      According to WikiLeaks, few in the governments of negotiating countries have access to the “full text of the agreement and the public, who it will affect most,” have no access at all. “Hundreds of large corporations, however, have been given access to portions of the text, generating a powerful lobby to effect changes on behalf of these groups.

      “WikiLeaks has launched a campaign to crowd-source a $100,000 reward for the rest of the TPP, which at time of press [has] raised $62,000,” the media organization states.

      Previously, an intellectual property chapter, an updated intellectual property chapter, environmental proposals, a report on the section dealing with the environment and other agreement documents dealing with country’s positions on the trade agreement were published.

      WikiLeaks also released a draft of another secretive trade agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). It actually involves more countries than the TPP and, if adopted, would likely increase the ability of corporations to protect business from government regulations in the public interest.

      The information has contributed significantly to the public’s understanding of the process that has been unfolding behind closed doors. Without WikiLeaks’ efforts, the TPP negotiations would be even more secretive, which is to say that it would be even harder to reasonably speculate about what pharmaceutical companies and other corporations were seeking to gain through this shadowy trade agreement.

  5. From a letter from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders:

    "Despite an explosion in technology and a huge increase in productivity, the middle class continues to disappear, most Americans work longer hours for lower wages and 45 million live in poverty."

    "Major corporations that earn billions in profits stash their money in tax havens and pay nothing in federal income taxes, while billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower effective tax rate than nurses or teachers."

    "As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, the billionaire class is spending huge amounts of money to buy candidates and elections. We are now witnessing the undermining of American democracy and the rapid movement toward oligarchy where a handful of very wealthy families and their Super PACs will control government."

  6. The Argument for The TTP

    Why Americans Are Turning Against Free Trade

    When the proceeds of growth are not widely shared, the consensus in favor of pro-growth measures cracks.

    DAVID FRUM JUN 12, 2015

    A decade and a half ago, I filled my days writing speeches urging Congress to grant President George W. Bush fast-track trade authority. If memory serves, I wrote more speeches on that one subject than on any other. Obviously, I didn’t earn my pay: Despite Republican majorities in both Houses, Congress balked.

    This past year, President Obama has worked as hard for fast-track authority as President Bush ever did. It now seems that his efforts will prove as unavailing. This time, if anything, the loss is even more heartbreaking, because the prize in reach is bigger than anything on offer in 2001-2002: a Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade.

    TPP matters both to the American economy and to American security. China’s admission to the World Trade Organization in 2001 was necessary and unavoidable. How can you sustain a multilateral-trade regime without including the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer? But the price of China’s inclusion in the WTO was the paralysis of the multilateral trade regime that had evolved since the 1940s: Trade-liberalization negotiations that included China just became too difficult.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership tries to work around China’s obstructionism by limiting the next round of trade liberalization to 11 highly congenial countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Not all are liberal democracies, but all are committed to a more open global-trading regime. Even more than the U.S.-Canada trade agreement of 1988, which was widened to include Mexico in 1994, TPP is intended to be an “open architecture” agreement, to which other countries can adhere in future if they so wish. In other words, while the door is open to China, the house is being built to non-Chinese specifications and without China’s veto. Since the TPP states together represent not only 40 percent of the world economy, but also many of China’s largest trade partners, the agreement will constrain China’s future trade behavior. TPP thus asserts Western and American will and power against an often-recalcitrant China.


    1. {...}
      TPP also will accelerate economic growth among the member nations. The importance of trade to the U.S. economy can be oversold—in my speech writing days, I was surely guilty of this to some degree—but by any definition, it’s significant and becoming more so. The slowdown in developed world growth since the late 1990s has many causes beyond the stall in trade liberalization. But the stall in trade liberalization has not helped.

      The natural tendency of democratic societies is gradually to accumulate barriers to international trade. The Bush administration itself exemplified this: At the same time as it pleaded for fast-trade authority, it imposed restrictions on foreign steel. Relentless international action on trade liberalization offsets equally relentless domestic pressure for trade protection.

      Freer trade is always a tough vote. As long ago as the 1960s, Barry Goldwater tried to make a campaign issue out of John F. Kennedy’s allegedly excessive trade liberalization. Yet from the 1940s through the 1990s, freer trade benefited from the almost unanimous elite consensus in its favor—and the strong public instinct to defer to elites when unanimous.

      That deference has eroded. A recent Pew Research poll found that although 58 percent of Americans felt that free trade benefits the national economy, just 43 percent thought such deals benefited their own families finances. And pluralities of Americans believe that free trade slows economic growth, lowers wages, and leads to job losses.

      These are responses that cause economists to roll their eyes. But most of us aren’t economists. We know what we experience—and what most Americans have experienced are many more foreign products on their shelves, a half-decade of weak job growth for Americans, and stagnating or declining living standards for all but the wealthiest.


    2. Economic and political leaders can argue that the nation’s economic troubles are not traceable to free trade—that Americans would have been even worse off if they reverted to protectionism. The trouble is that Americans no longer trust their leaders. If polls can be relied upon, trust in leaders and institutions has plunged to the lowest levels ever recorded, lower even than during the dismal days of the mid-1970s.

      The belief that the economic system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and that ordinary people can no longer get ahead run is especially intense. Americans increasingly perceive the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer. Their view of business corporations has turned especially hostile, very nearly as hostile as their view of government.

      Trade is a pro-growth policy. But when the proceeds of growth are not widely shared, and not perceived as widely shared, it becomes difficult to sustain the consensus in favor of pro-growth measures—especially when those measures seem to impose costs on American workers. That’s the warning in today’s congressional action.

  7. .

    You are probably right in suggesting that TPP will pass. This is a big deal. Were it to pass, well...well that is how mediocre presidents eventually become billionaires.

    TPP may pass. But not today.

    Obama's 'fast-track' authority may pass. But not today. And the longer that can be held off the better. The 'fast track' authority would affect not only TPP but also TTIP (the US/EU trade agreement) and every other trade agreement negotiated over the next 6 years. Without 'fast track' there is a good chance TPP will be amended and die a death of a thousand cuts. The same could happen with TTIP, an agreement which seems to suffer from some of the same failings as TPP.

    There is still a chance, a slim one, that TPP won't pass. However, the more likely scenario would be that come Monday morning after having had the weekend to reflect on their sins, the representatives in the House will realize that they have really pissed off their main constituency, Big Business, and think better of their presumptuous vote on Friday. If somehow they forget, Obama will be there to remind them.

    NAFTA has been a disaster for the US and much more so for Mexico. Not sure about Canada but I suspect the same would apply. We were told NAFTA would help workers here. With the increased trade, we would have more and better jobs, wages would rise. However, as soon as the ink was dry, the first sound we heard was that great sucking sound predicted by Ross Perot. We didn't see the increased jobs. We didn't see the increased wages. And while we blame Mexico, they have suffered more than we have.

    Candidate Obama promised if he became president he would seek to renegotiate NAFTA to achieve better results. TPP is NAFTA on steroids. I doubt anyone listening to Obama back in those heady times conceived that he was talking about anything like TPP when he spoke.

    Today's vote was a step in the right direction on TPP. TTIP suffered a similar rebuff yesterday when the vote was put off by the European parliament because of a couple million people signing a petition against it. We seem to learn more and more about these agreements every day. The longer this process can be stretched out the better.


    1. NAFTA was doomed by the ultimate idiocy of our trade capitulation to China. I believe it could have worked, but not against a mercantilist authoritarian state controlling a billion peasants. After that, NAFTA never had a chance and the US became distracted by the trillions being made by those that shifted manufacturing to China and the trillions being borrowed and lost in the Neocon Crusades in the Middle East.

    2. Having owned several businesses in Latin America, it was obvious a win-win to the US and the rest of the Americas to deal with each other. The cultural differences were minimal and shared values and interests undeniable, but that was never good enough for the Washington plutocrats and the Neocon interlopers. China and the obsession with the ME were always losers for the US.

      Free trade from Tierra del Fuego to the Aleutians would have worked and still can:

      How China crashed the Nafta party

      The negotiators of the ambitious and contentious 1994 free-trade deal failed to anticipate the rise in cheap imports from Asia

      According to western tradition, the gift for the 20th anniversary of a union is china. But, two decades on from the trade nuptials enshrined in the the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), China is the uninvited guest that has walked away with many of the gifts.

      In 1993, pro-Nafta Washington thinktanks, such as the Peterson Institute for International Economics, went so far as to say that the agreement would lead to a trade surplus with Mexico for the US, while also providing huge benefits for the Mexican economy. The US had a trade surplus with Mexico in 1994, but since 1995 the US has had an annual trade deficit with Mexico. On the Mexican side, GNI per capita economic growth is now barely one percentage point higher than when Nafta came into force. What has happened since then?

      Nafta has had at least two phases. In the first (1994-2000) it increased trade, investments, productivity and overall integration, with positive effects in employment and production in several export-oriented sectors in Mexico. In the second phase since 2000, however, Nafta turned sour. Its negotiators in the early 1990s did not anticipate the rise of Asia and particularly of China.

      Looking back, our research shows that China has significantly penetrated many of the new markets opened by Nafta. In a paper published by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, we document the extent to which Chinese products have taken away market share in the US, and how China has begun to take Mexican markets from the US as well.

      From 1994 to 2001, Mexico had a honeymoon with the US. No other country enjoyed the same proximity and trade preferences. Although trade increased significantly between the two countries, it failed to translate into per capita income growth and rising employment and wages in Mexico.

      The honeymoon ended in 2001 when China entered the World Trade Organisation and began to enjoy similar access to the US market. We find that by 2009, 84% of Mexico's manufacturing exports to the US were under threat from China. By threat we mean sectors where China is gaining market share and Mexico is losing it. We also find that 96% of US exports to Mexico are under threat from China.



    3. {...}

      In 2000, the US supplied Mexico with 60.8% of its office machine and computer imports and 70% of the peripheral parts for those machines. Ten years later, the US held only 10% of the Mexican import market in each sector. By contrast, China held 13% of the office machine import market and 5% of the parts market in Mexico in 2000, and, nine years later, it had 48% and 58% of those markets respectively.

      Simple economics would lead one to think this would be a benefit for Mexico – as the inputs for its electronic industry decreased because imports from China are cheaper than from the US. This should lead to productivity gains and more exports to the States. China and Mexico supplied the US about 5% of the US computer market in 2000; by 2009 China had more than half that market and Mexico did not budge.

      We performed in-depth case studies alongside this statistical work that further confirm our findings. The yarn-textile-garment chain – similar to furniture, toys and most of Mexico's manufacturing sector – is symbolic in losing more than 50% of its employment since 2000. The US has become an additional loser, since it is the major supplier of Mexican exports.

      The automobile parts and assembly chain is a big exception in the competition with China, in the US market and in Mexico. Since the beginning of Nafta, Mexico's exports in the US have strengthened, with levels above 30%, while China's share has remained relatively low, mainly for domestic reasons: China's consumption in the auto sector has been dynamic and above its production, in other words the potential for exports has been low. This, however, will change as China's auto companies follow the lead set by other Chinese global multinationals.

      This is the hangover that will be felt long after the 20th anniversary party. The only remedy will be couples' therapy. From Mexico's vantage point the "Asia pivot" is seen as cheating on a partner. The region needs to revitalise its relationship: it is time to start a conversation about collective financing mechanisms, exchange-rate co-ordination, and strategic sectors for the Nafta region so it can negotiate and see itself as a larger block. That would give us something to celebrate.

      Kevin Gallagher is professor of international relations at Boston University where he co-directs the Global Economic Governance Initiative. Enrique Dussel is professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico where he directs the Center for China-Mexico Studies

  8. .

    In Europe, creating a post-gender world one small rule at a time

    Some German and Austrian university professors are demanding that students embrace new gender-neutral vocabulary in essays and thesis papers. In Austria, a special language committee recommended last year that gender-neutral language be made standard in official life — a proposal that so divided politicians and society that ultimately the board was dissolved.

    “Language reflects power structures,” said Anne Wizorek, a self-described feminist author based in Berlin. “If we want an inclusive society, we need to reflect that in our language.”

    Traffic lights in Germany have long flashed images of green- or red-lit men — some wearing cute hats — to tell pedestrians when to walk or stop at intersections. But gradually that is changing, with cities like Bremen and Cologne among those that have replaced many of the male figures with those of women.

    Last month in Vienna, city officials went further, replacing traffic-sign figures of solitary men with heterosexual and same-sex couples. That came three years after Austria officially changed its national anthem, which once spoke only of its “great sons.” The new language heralds women first, celebrating “great daughters” and “sons.”

    Taking a lead from gender­neutral Swedish retailing, the 2015 catalogue for the German toy store BR-Spielwaren features a girl playing with a toy gun and boy in an apron playing in a toy kitchen...


    1. The gay rights movement really took off back in the 50's and 60's and their tactics evolved. First they played the victim card demanding hate crime laws and extra protection by the police and the courts. They created neologisms like homophobe defined as someone who even if he was willing to live and let live refused to accept the gay lifestyle as normal. Then they demanded rights under civil unions. Then they declared that was not enough and demanded 'gay marriage'. As the process continued, gay right became gay and lesbian rights then added transgender and bisexual rights. And let's face it, now with LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, flexual, asexual, gender-fuck, polyamorous, bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism" they have kind of jumped the shark. IMO, of course.

      The tactics are clear, in a predominately heterosexual society try to normalize what can only (at present) be described as alternate lifestyles. You do it through laws, by exaggerating your numbers, by assuming the trappings of normalcy (i.e. marriage), and changing attitudes by changing the language. Eliminate gender designations in what we see and hear and you are half way there. Here they have a willing and powerful partner in the feminist movement. Instead of the traditional male and female roles they want it to be gender neutral. However, as we have already seen this too will be insufficient. Given gender neutrality, they will demand more.

      A few days ago, I posted an article about two school districts here in the US that will be launching courses for grades 5 thru 12 on (I forget the title but it was based on a spectrum) gender or the lack of it. The premise of the course is that there are no males and females as everyone has aspects of both sexes within themselves. Therefore, you can be free to describe yourself anyway you want, male, female, any kind of mix you like, or no sex at all. This is the ultimate. If you eliminate the concept of gender altogether there is no way anyone can be defined as 'different', there is no alternative lifestyle, we are all one merely choosing were on the spectrum we fall.

      All too much for me. Too much like the dystopia we find in 1984 or A Brave New World. Perhaps the Millennials will be more receptive to this slow steady march towards 1984. Soon you will be prosecuted for hate crimes for saying that you are male. A strange brew. A strange new world we live in. Hopefully, it is moving slowly enough that I won't be around to see it come to fruition. However, it seems to be moving faster these days.


  9. Japan, the European Union and other countries have been waiting years for a clear signal that President Barack Obama had the political muscle to get trade deals through Congress.

    They got the opposite on Friday, when Obama trekked up to Capitol Hill to plead for his trade agenda and got smacked down by fellow Democrats. That spells trouble for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive pact covering about 40 percent of world economic output. The failure of the trade bill also casts doubt on the sprawling European trade negotiations, and will make other nations less likely to trust the Obama administration’s ability to negotiate everything from auto tariffs to currency rules around the world.

    Unless Obama gets the “fast track” trade promotion authority bill, there’s no end in sight for the Asia-Pacific talks between the United States, Japan, Vietnam and nine other countries, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman acknowledged earlier this week.

    Read more:

  10. As the Legionnaire Q mentioned ...

    Not Today

    June 12, 2015 President Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to personally plead House Democrats not to sink his trade agenda.

    He failed. And it wasn't close.

    In a dramatic early-afternoon vote, the House rejected the Trade Adjustment Assistance package, 126-302. At least 140 Democrats voted against Obama.

    And it was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who cast the final blow. Speaking just before the vote for 15 minutes, Pelosi, who had kept silent on the issue, said she would oppose the president.
    Pelosi said, objecting to the inability of the House to offer amendments.

    "Why are we fast-tracking trade and slow-walking the highway bill?"

    Pelosi said she was prepared to vote against TAA in order to delay Trade Promotion Authority, or "fast track" legislation.

  11. I'm going to guess that, once you factor out the price of oil, our trade is pretty close to balanced with our "free trade partners."

    China and oil are our biggest problems, and this agreement wouldn't affect either of those, one way or the other.

    Japan is the big deal, here, and I seriously doubt that this agreement could make our Japan situation "worse."

    I'm pretty ambiguous about this deal, although, if the chips were down, I would probably give Obama the benefit of the doubt. I would not, however, want to get into a fist-fight over it. :)

  12. I'm puzzled by the contention that NAFTA enabled China. How does a free trade pact between Canada, Mexico and the US fail because China still manufactures cheaper?

    1. The investments that were foreseen to be made in Mexico went o China, instead ...

      I believe that is the crux of the point.
      The the strategic importance of Mexico, the dangers an unstable Mexico pose for the US, were ignored ...
      ... when the US allowed China the ever famous "Most Favored Nation" status, back in 1994.

      Clinton Grants China MFN, Reversing Campaign Pledge
      Friday, May 27, 1994

      President Clinton Thursday reversed course on China and renewed its trade privileges despite what he said was Beijing's lack of significant progress on human rights.

      Echoing the case made by George Bush when he was president, Clinton said he was convinced the Chinese would take more steps to improve human rights if the issue were separated from the threat of trade sanctions.

      "This decision offers us the best opportunity to lay the basis for long-term sustainable progress on human rights and for the advancement of our other interests with China,"


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    SODA has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $5.8 million.

    SODA has traded 158,629 shares today.

    SODA is trading at 7.05 times the normal volume for the stock at this time of day.

    SODA is trading at a new high 5.05% above yesterday's close.

    The "new high"

    Sodastream International Ltd
    NASDAQ: SODA - Jun 12 4:21 PM EDT

    Still not near the 19July 2014 price of $29.11, back when one of our fellow contributors told us it was undervalued.
    $6.90 to go to, to being even ... just needs a 30% increase to reach the starting line.

    Can't wait to figure the annual rate of return, in thirty-six days

  14. I would also like to point out that the purpose of free trade pacts is to limit Governments tendency to interfere in markets i.e. Frances heavy protection of its food industry and other examples of Government laws and tarifs shielding their favorites.

    1. The Constitution was designed to further the interests of the People, Ash

      Not the markets.
      The two are related, but not conflated

    2. Maybe if you smoke another joint that comment will make sense even to you.

    3. Ash, the US government is, by design, mean to advance and protect the interests of the People of the United States.

      Of course the government can will regulate trade, that was decided in 1865.
      By force of arms.

    4. That is why it is prudent for any party to a trade agreement with the US to insist on a neutral third party to arbitrate disputes.

    5. .

      Not when that 'neutral' party, the way I understand it, consists of 3 members who are representatives of one side in the conflict, in this case the business elite.

      Ten to twenty years ago, I bought all the arguments and was 100% for free trade perhaps similar to you. Since then, reality has intruded. We have seen the results.


  15. The media seem to be getting better about referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a "free-trade" agreement. Many articles now refer to it more neutrally as a "trade pact." The Washington Post sort of split the difference today in describing it as a "a sweeping free-trade and regulatory pact," but this still requires some further push back.

    We know that the TPP will increase patent and copyright protections. These protections cover a large portion of the economy, most importantly prescription drugs, but also a wide variety of chemicals, tech products, and recorded movies, music, and video games.

    We don't know how much trade barriers will be reduced by the TPP. (The deal is secret.) Since the United States already has trade deals with most of the countries in the TPP, it is unlikely that it will lead to a further reduction in the barriers with these countries. This means the TPP will likely only reduce the barriers with the remaining five countries which include Japan, with whom the barriers are already relatively low, and four countries with whom the U.S. has relatively little trade.

    There is no basis for assuming that the reduction in barriers with this group of countries will have greater economic significant than the increase in patent and copyright protection. Therefore, the reporters who call the TPP a "free-trade" agreement are simply editorializing, expressing their support for the pact. They do not have any evidence to support this characterization.

    Dean Baker

  16. .



    NAFTA was sold on the proposition that a rising tide raises all boats. There might have been some basis for thinking that here in the US even up through the 80's. However, in a world opened up to an infinite supply of labor, rising productivity, technology advancements, the rise of one huge mercantile behemoth that at the time represented a quarter of the world's population and maintained a controlled economy based on exports (not to mention Japan, South Korea, et. al.), as well as, what I perceive was a massive change in attitude on the part of business here as the labor supply expanded drastically as more women entered the workforce, it soon became a zero sum game where even if trade agreements did increase overall trade, for the most part it was a I win you lose proposition.



  17. Damn, China Has Too Few People Again

    Published: 13 June 2015

    Regular readers of the NYT opinion pages must really be wondering what is going on in China. Just a few days ago the paper ran a piece giving us the terrible news that robots are taking all the jobs. According to a column by Martin Ford, China is rapidly bringing robots into its factories, leading to massive displacement of manufacturing workers. Ford tells readers:

    "Chinese factory jobs may thus be poised to evaporate at an even faster pace than has been the case in the United States and other developed countries."

    This left us all wondering what China would do with all these workers displaced by robots. But today we discover that China is relaxing its one-child policy, not out of human rights considerations but because it doesn't have enough people:

    "Something had to be done. China’s population has stabilized at around 1.4 billion, but people over 60 now make up more than 13 percent of the population, and the percentage of people 14 years of age and under shrunk at least 6 percent between 2000 and 2010, reaching a new low of 16.4 percent in 2013. The rapid decline of China’s fertility rate — which has plunged to 1.6 percent, way below the 2.1 percent replacement rate — could stunt the country’s future economic growth. The declining working-age population will no longer be able to support the increasingly older Chinese population."

    Let's contemplate that last sentence for a moment, a declining working-age population won't be able to support a growing population of retirees. This is the sort of tripe that gets repeated endlessly by the folks who want to cut Social Security. Remember the robots? We don't need as many workers to support retirees today as we did 20 or 30 years ago because of productivity growth. That has always been true. The robots and other improvements in technology allow each worker to be more productive.

    In fact, productivity growth has occurred at an incredibly rapid pace in China over the last three decades so there is no reason that retirees can't maintain the standard of living they had during their working years while still allowing future generations of workers to experience rapid increases in living standards. The . . . . . .


    1. .

      The people who can't understand this fact need to do some more homework in economics before they start writing oped columns on the topic.

      Rather pompous I would say.

      Perhaps, the gentlemen should drink in a taste of reality before casting aspersions on others. Like many economist he offers us a vision of an utopian future where productivity and technology solve all of our problems and we all, young and old alike, share in the benefits. He ignores the growing social divide between rich and poor. The future he foresees assumes an equitable distribution of the benefits of that productivity and technology. It ain't happening right now.


  18. .

    As for TPP and TTIP, as has been noted above overall trade barriers at present, tarriffs, etc. are relatively small. In the countries that are part of TPP, and in the EU with TTIP where a country tries to seek an advantage relative to its trading partners it can usually be worked out using the current protocol.

    Neither pact is a trade agreement as much as a competitive response to the nascent but growing trade alliances being set up by China and Russia as counterweight to the West, a national security concern that is real. However, the terms of the secret agreement, what we think we know through various leaks, appears to be a huge sellout to corporations especially the multinationals. It would appear that rather than increase competition it would in fact decrease it. It would cede the powers of nationhood to corporate entities. It would negate current governmental powers to regulate.

    IMO the zero some game I talked about above would shift significantly to the benefit of the 1% and to the detriment of the 99%.

    But we don't know. It is secret.

    I for one find it hard any longer to blithely agree when any administration, especially this one, says "Trust me."

    My main concern is with the 'fast-track' legislation and the secrecy. I know from experience that I am going to get screwed but I would at least prefer to brace myself before it happens.


  19. The "mercantile" world was established by design, the US did not have to 'open' China with MFN status.

    Instead of solidify the Americas economic health and well-being, establishing a strong North American economic base, incorporating the relatively low cost of a Mexican economy that would have been moving towards parity with the US and Canada. Sound long-term strategic thinking, I do believe, calls for the closer integration of the people of North America. That die is already cast.

    Granting China MFN derailed NAFTA, well, at least was contributing factor.

  20. OK, I didn’t see that coming: even though I have come out as a lukewarm opponent of TPP, I assumed that it would happen anyway — the way trade deals (or in this case, dispute settlement and intellectual property deals that pretend to be about trade) always do. But no, or not so far.

    A brief aside: I don’t think it’s right to call this a case of Washington “dysfunction”. Dysfunction is when we get outcomes nobody wants, or fail to do things everyone wants done, because there doesn’t seem to be any way to package the politics. In this case, however, people who oppose TPP voted down key enabling measures — that is, they got what they wanted. Calling this “dysfunction” presumes that this deal is a good idea — and that kind of presumption is precisely what got successfully challenged yesterday.

    Or to put it another way, one way to see this is as the last stand of the Davos Democrats.

    If you talk to administration officials — or at least if I talk to them (they may be telling me what they think I want to hear) — they offer a fairly sophisticated defense of this deal. It’s about geopolitics, they say — America has to be in the game here lest others (obviously including China) supplant our influence; meanwhile, they argue that the troubling aspects of the deal aren’t as troubling as they sound (they make a decent case on dispute settlement, less so on intellectual property). And they argue that the deal would actually improve labor protections in poor countries.

    I’m not fully convinced, but this is a reasonable discussion.

    But the overall selling of TPP, to some extent by the administration and much more so by its business allies, has been nothing like this. Instead, it has been all lectures from Those Who Know How the Global Economy Works — the kind of people who go to Davos and participate in earnest panels on the skills gap and the case for putting Alan Simpson in charge of everything — to the ignorant hippies who don’t. You know, ignorant hippies like Joseph Stiglitz and Elizabeth Warren.

    This kind of thing worked in the 1990s, when Davos Man actually did seem to know how the world works. But now Davos Democrats are known as the people who told us to trust unregulated finance and fear invisible bond vigilantes. They just don’t have the credibility to pull off arguments from authority any more. And it doesn’t say much for their perspicacity that they apparently had no idea that the world has changed.

    TPP’s Democratic supporters thought they could dictate to their party like it’s 1999. They can’t.


  21. If the TPP is as inconsequential as merely
    ... dispute settlement and intellectual property deals that pretend to be about trade ...

    Then what we may be witnessing is the DC Base of the Democratic Party putting distance between themselves and Mr Obama, on a publicized but unimportant agreement, starting the positioning of their Party for 2016?

    1. I would say it is the early stages of a shift to a more general bout of trade protectionism.

  22. Ah, God. It couldn't last.

    Well, it means WiO will be back, the only guy here that actually knows something about the mid east.

    Trade with China has been a good thing, not a bad thing, as it has increased their prosperity and they are less likely to put that at risk by going foreign adventuring.

    At home there have been winners and losers. We're all consumers, so we've all gained to some extent.

    The rest is a mixed bag, depending.

    If your desire is to really help our economy, end the capital gains tax.


    1. If your desire is to really help our economy, end the capital gains tax.

      Right, let’s all help flash traders really ramp up their game.

      China used the trade surplus to develop their military and develop a worldwide infrastructure that enhances China. They are building island infrastructure in international waters as we savor their high quality goods.

      Loss to the US timber industry is over $5 billion per year and rising due to invasive pests introduced in Chinese pallets made of untreated wood.

      All in all, a wonderful outcome.

  23. Too good to last, but misdirected.

  24. Hillary Clinton just gave a pretty good speech. She's coming at it as one from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. If she can't pull it off it won't be for lack of trying.

    Barring a recession (or, $4.00 gasoline) between now, and next Nov., I don't think the Republicans can beat her.

  25. GOP Likuds Force - Unhappy with the Pope

    Leading figures on the American right are launching a series of pre-emptive attacks on the pope before this week’s encyclical, hoping to prevent a mass conversion of the climate change deniers who have powered the corps of the conservative movement for more than a decade.

    The prospect that the pope, from his perch at the pinnacle of the Catholic church, will exhort humanity to act on climate change as a moral imperative is a direct threat to a core belief of US conservatives. And conservatives – anxious to hang on to their flock – are lashing out.

    “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours,” James Inhofe, the granddaddy of climate change deniers in the US Congress and chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee, said last week, after picking up an award at a climate sceptics’ conference.

    Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic and a long-shot contender for the Republican nomination, told a Philadelphia radio station: “The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re good at, which is theology and morality.”

    A majority of Republicans in Congress deny the existence of climate change and oppose regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Among the ultra-conservative Tea Party set, climate change scepticism reaches epidemic proportions, about 80% of those on the far right, according to the Pew research centre. Only one of the nearly 20 Republicans running for president will acknowledge the danger of climate change, another long-shot contender, Lindsey Graham.

    The fossil fuel industry, including the American Petroleum Institute lobby group and Peabody Coal, has cast fossil fuels as a route out of poverty in the developing world. Ultra-conservative and climate change denial thinktanks, such as the Heartland Institute, which has been funded by the oil industry, have argued that climate change was the cure for drought and famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s.

    “In the US for the past 10 years we have allowed climate change to become an ideological political issue instead of being the moral issue that it is,” said the Rev Mitchell Hescox, leader of the Evangelical Environmental Network. “The idea that climate change is a liberal issue has just permeated the thought of those in the conservative movement, and those in the denier campaign have taken advantage of that to continue to drive home the message that climate change is not a moral issue,” added Hescox, who identifies himself as a conservative.

    But it gets much harder to dismiss climate change as a fringe concern of liberals such as Al Gore, and environmental regulations as a sneaky first step to sweeping regulations and a government takeover of private lives, once the pope becomes involved.

    “If I were a Catholic climate denier, I would be worried about the pope,” said Patrick Regan, who teaches the politics of climate change at Notre Dame University. “And if I had a vested interest in not changing climate policy, the pope would be a threat to my political stance.”

    In the case of climate change, conservatives face multiple threats to the world view.

    1. The Pope has a Masters Degree in Chemistry.

    2. :) It gets even better:
      “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours,” James Inhofe, the granddaddy of climate change deniers in the US Congress and chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee, said last week, after picking up an award at a climate sceptics’ conference.

      On his official federal Web site, Inhofe, 72, claims he "graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in economics" and on his account the controversial senator, who argues global warming is a hoax, also says he has a college degree. The Wikipedia entry on Inhofe claims Inhofe graduated with a B.A. in 1973 at the age of 38.

      The debate over whether or when Inhofe actually graduated from college surfaced in his 1994 campaign against Dave McCurdy and this debate still persists today. Some people in Oklahoma believe Inhofe has been lying about the issue for years and years.

      Inhofe was caught lying about the dates of his supposed college degree during his 1994 Senate campaign. Inhofe had listed his graduation year at 1959 and 1961 on various documents. These were lies. When discovered, Inhofe changed the year to 1973. But some Oklahomans remain unsure if he ever really graduated.

      I think it is time to challenge Inhofe on the issue. I call on people to access Inhofe’s myspace account, and leave comments asking him about this particular issue. If Inhofe can prove he has a degree, then fine, we can put the matter to rest. But if he has been lying about this issue through the years, voters need to know. Inhofe has been caught in lies and distortions in the past.

      It’s simple. Jim, did you graduate or not?

    3. .

      The Pope wouldn't be the first I would turn to in developing my views on climate change. That being said, listening to some of the climate change deniers in D.C. is a little amusing.

      James (Snowball) Inhofe, the biggest oil-whore in the Senate seemed a little upset with the idea that the Pope would be talking on the subject.

      “Everyone is going to ride the pope now. Isn’t that wonderful,” he said. “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours.”

      A little while later he said, “I am not going to talk about the pope. Let him run his shop, and we’ll run ours.”

      The amusing part comes shortly after that when Inhofe having basically told the Pope to stick to religion and stay out of American politics then tells the folks at the Heartland Institute to fan out and fight EPA rules limiting carbon pollution saying, “If we do it as a team you will be doing the lord’s work, and he will eventually bless you for it. Amen.”

      You can't make this stuff up.

    4. He is a big supporter of the God given state of Israel.

  26. Question for Quirk:

    Quirk, you've said that American Thinker is a racist rag.

    My question is:

    What is the Dean of American Black Writers, Thomas Sowell, doing writing for a racist rag like American Thinker ?

    Is Thomas Sowell a racist, an Uncle Tom ?

    I was delighted to see that Mr. Sowell's analysis of what has occurred in Iraq is exactly like mine!

    The truth is American Thinker is no more racist than, say, Quirk himself.

    It is just a conservative web site, with a delightful variety of writers, many of them black, all of them conservative.

    Had great day here.

    Went south and, voila!, the alfalfa had been cut !

    Whooeeee !

    Early, meaning some more rains in June and July we get a second cutting.

    Wish the price were better though.

    1. Mr. Sowell early on, like seven years ago, described Mr. Obama, in a wonderfully concise and true phrase, as a smart alec.


  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Did anyone notice but me ?

    There was a massive protest in Paris, France yesterday demanding that the West make no deal with the Iranians over nukes.

    For the first time in my life, I am proud of the French part of my heritage.

    1. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson has now embraced his inner "Surrender Monkey", he has abandoned the GOP's "Freedom Fires".

      Republican Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Bob Ney, renamed the menu item in three Congressional cafeterias in response to France's opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq.

      The "Draft Dodger" knows where his bread is buttered, he has no "Core Values", he has no friends, only interests.

  29. No word of the massive protest in French media.
    Roulette Wheel Politics in Israel

    Bibi the Great and the New Enemy: BDS

    Benjamin Netanyahu was racking his brain. His whole career is based on fear mongering. Since Jews have lived in fear for millennia, it is easy to invoke it. They are addicts.

    For years now, Netanyahu has built his career on fear of the Iranian Nuclear Bomb. The Iranians are crazy people. Once they have the Bomb, they will drop it on Israel, even if Israel’s nuclear second strike will certainly annihilate Iran with its thousands of years of civilization.

    But Netanyahu saw with growing anxiety that the Iranian threat was losing its edge. The US, so it seems, is about to reach an agreement with Iran, which will prevent it from achieving the Bomb. Even Sheldon the Great cannot prevent the agreement. What to do?

    Looking around, three letters popped up: BDS. They denote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a worldwide campaign to boycott Israel because of its 48 year-old subjugation of the Palestinian people.

    Ah, here we have a real threat, worse than the Bomb. A second Holocaust is looming. Brave little Israel facing the entire evil, anti-Semitic world.

    True, until now Israel has suffered no real damage. BDS is more about gestures than about real economic weapons. But who is counting? The legions of anti-Semites are on the march.

    Who will save us? Bibi the Great, of course!

    Honest disclosure: my friends and I initiated the first boycott, which was directed at the products of the settlements.

    Our peace movement, Gush Shalom, was deliberating how to stop the spread of the settlements, each of which is a land mine on the road to peace. The main reason for setting up settlements is to prevent the two-state solution – the only peace solution there is.

    Our investigators made a Grand Tour of the settlements and registered the enterprises which were lured by government enticements to set up shop beyond the Green Line. We published the list and encouraged customers to abstain from buying these products.

    A boycott is a democratic instrument of protest. It is non-violent. Every person can exercise it privately, without joining any group or exhibiting himself or herself in public.

    Our main aim was to get the Israeli public to distinguish clearly between Israel proper and the settlements in the occupied territories.

    1. In March 1997 we held a press conference to announce the campaign. It was a unique event. I have held press conference which were overflowing with journalists – for example, after my first meeting with Yasser Arafat in besieged West Beirut. I have held press conferences with sparse attendance. But this one was really special: not a single Israeli journalist turned up.

      Still, the idea spread. I don’t know how many thousand Israelis are boycotting the products of the settlements right now.

      However, we were upset by the attitude of the European Union authorities, which denounced the settlements while in practice subsidizing their products with customs exemptions like real Israeli wares. My colleagues and I went to Brussels to protest, but were told by polite bureaucrats that Germany and others were obstructing any step toward a settlement boycott.

      Eventually, the Europeans moved, albeit slowly. They are now demanding that the products of the settlements be clearly marked.

      The BDS movement has a very different agenda. They want to boycott the State of Israel as such.

      I always considered this a major strategic error. Instead of isolating the settlements and separating them from mainstream Israelis, a general boycott drives all Israelis into the arms of the settlers. It re-awakens age-old Jewish fears. Facing a common danger, Jews unite.

      Netanyahu could not wish for more. He is now riding the wave of Jewish reactions. Every day there are headlines about another success of the boycott movement, and each success is a bonus for Netanyahu.

      It is also a bonus for his adversary, Omar al-Barghouti, the Palestinian organizer of BDS.

      Palestine is well stocked with Barghoutis. It is an extended family prominent in several villages north of Jerusalem.

      The most famous is Marwan al-Barghouti, who has been condemned to several life sentences for leading the Fatah youth organization. He was not indicted for taking part in any “terrorist” acts, but for his role as organizationally responsible. Indeed, he and I were partners in organizing several non-violent protests against the occupation.

      When he was brought to trial, we protested in the court building. One of my colleagues lost a toenail in the ensuing battle with the violent court guards. Marwan is still in prison and many Palestinians consider him a prospective heir of Mahmoud Abbas.

    2. Another Barghouti is Mustafa, the very likable leader of a leftist party, who ran against Abbas for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority. We have met while facing the army in several demonstrations against the Wall.

      Omar Barghouti, the leader of the BDS movement, is a postgraduate student at Tel Aviv University. He demands the free return of all Palestinian refugees, equality for Israel’s Palestinian citizens and, of course, an end to the occupation.

      However, BDS is not a highly organized worldwide organization. It is more of a trade mark. Groups of students, artists and others spring up spontaneously and join the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Here and there, some real anti-Semites try to join. But for Netanyahu, they are all, all anti-Semites.

      As we feared from the beginning, the boycott of Israel – as distinguished from the boycott of the settlements – has united the general Jewish population with the settlers, under the leadership of Netanyahu.

      The fatherland is in danger. National unity is the order of the day. “Opposition Leader” Yitzhak Herzog is rushing forward to support Netanyahu, as are almost all other parties.

      Israel’s Supreme Court, a frightened shadow of its former self, has already decreed that calling for a boycott of Israel is a crime – including calls for boycotting the settlements.

      Almost every day, news about the boycott hits the headlines. The boss of “Orange”, the French communications giant, first joined the boycott, then quickly turned around and is coming to Israel for a pilgrimage of repentance. Student organizations and professional groups in America and Europe adopt the boycott. The EU now vigorously demands the marking of settlement products.

      Netanyahu is happy. He calls upon world Jewry to take up the fight against this anti-Semitic outrage. The owner of Netanyahu, multi-billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has convened a war council of rich Jews in Las Vegas. His counterpart, pro-Labor multi-billionaire Haim Saban has joined him. Even the perpetrators of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion would not believe it.

      As comic relief, another casino owner is competing for the headlines. He is a much, much smaller operator, who cannot be compared to Adelson.

      He is the new Knesset Member Oren Hazan, No 30 on the Likud election list, the last one who got in. A TV exposé has alleged that he was the owner of a casino in Bulgaria, who supplied prostitutes to his clients and used hard drugs. He has already been chosen as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. The Speaker has temporarily suspended him from chairing Knesset plenum sessions.

      So the two casino owners, the big and the small, dominate the news. Rather bizarre in a country where casinos are forbidden, and where clandestine casino goers are routinely arrested.

      Well, life is a roulette game. Even life in Israel.

    3. Never mind transfer your pride to your first love. Make one up, if you can’t find it.


  30. Dad: Rampaging Dallas man was pushed past 'breaking point'

    CARROLLTON, Texas — The unemployed mechanic who was fatally shot after attacking Dallas police headquarters had been pushed past his "breaking point" by police and others, his father says.

    James Boulware rolled up to the headquarters building in an armored van Saturday, raking the lobby and second floor of the headquarters with automatic weapons fire, shattering glass and sending officers scrambling, police said. Boulware also planted pipe bombs packed with shrapnel at the headquarters, rammed a police car and opened fire again before speeding off.

    A 10-mile chase ended with a brief cellphone negotiation with police. When talks broke down, a police sniper fatally shot Boulware through the van's windshield.

    Boulware's father, Jim, told WFAA-TV that his son visited Friday and even mowed his lawn. But Jim Boulware said his son had a troubled relationship with some family members and resented law enforcement after losing custody of his son.

    "He said, 'I've got nothing left.' an emotional Jim Boulware said. 'I've lost everything I have and I got nothing left. And they've taken my son."

    Not an Islamic Jihadi, not a disaffected Black, no, just another Angry White Man.

    James Boulware was also accused of stockpiling weapons and making threats against schools and churches in Paris, Texas. The charges were dropped, but his father said he lost his job as a mechanic and eventually lost custody of his son, a child now in the sixth grade.

    "And he did blame the police for taking his son," the suspect's father said.

  31. Our Fellow NATO member, Turkey, sees this as a possible 'problem' ...

    Kurdish-led militia fought Islamic State near a Syrian town ( Tal Abyad, near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province) at the Turkish border on Sunday, a monitor and a Kurdish official said, battling to seize it with the help of U.S.-led air strikes in an advance that has worried Turkey.

    Concerned about an expansion of Kurdish sway in Syria, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his assessment that Kurdish groups were taking over areas evacuated by Arabs and Turkmen, saying that might eventually threaten Turkey's borders.

    The YPG, working with the U.S.-led alliance and small Syrian rebel groups, has pushed into Islamic State's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa province, threatening one of its supply lines to the jihadists' de facto capital, Raqqa city.


    1. YPG fighters were battling Islamic State militants at the eastern outskirts of Tel Abyad on Sunday, YPG spokesman Redur Xeili told Reuters. Coordination with the U.S.-led alliance was "excellent" with air strikes conducted according to need.

      "The road connecting Tel Abyad and Raqqa city is in our firing range,"
      he added.

      The "Rat Doctrine", moving slower than I had envisioned, at he start of the campaign, but still making progress against the Islamic State, now nearing their strategic center.

  32. Meanwhile, the nation that ROBERT "Draft Dodger" Peterson constantly advocates should be drafted into NATO, India, coninues to ally itself with Russia and China, working o end the US hegemony in global finance.

    After BRICS Development Bank, the five-nation Grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is planning to set up a BRICS Energy Association that will include a fuel reserve bank and an energy policy institute. The Energy Association will seek to guarantee energy security of member countries and conduct integrated research and analysis of global markets.

    It will also include a fuel reserve bank and an institution for energy policy, a spokesperson of Russias state-owned nuclear body Rosatom here said.

    The move coming at the initiative of Russia, will help create new instruments and institutions to strengthen energy security for all BRICSmember States.

    The energy policy institute will help drive research about the global market for hydrocarbons.

    The alliance will seek greater cooperation among BRICS member-States including in signing nuclear power agreements, and enable them to strengthen their energy security and prepare them for creation of new instruments and new institutes to trade energy resources.

    Rosatom also plans to construct floating nuclear power plants while Russia has moved towards completion of the first of what will be a fleet of small, marine nuclear energy reactors that are placed on barges for civilian power.

  33. Russia and China Move Ahead Toward Deploying Floating Nuclear Plants

    The export branch of Russia's Rosatom nuclear company, Rosatom Overseas, signed a memorandum of understanding with China yesterday, to bring the two nuclear nations closer to the joint development of floating nuclear power plant technology. Serious discussions have been ongoing since the end of 2011, as Russia moved toward completion of the first of what will be a fleet of small, marine nuclear energy reactors that are placed on barges for civilian power.

    1. Nuclear Power in China

      (Updated 18 May 2015)

      Mainland China has 26 nuclear power reactors in operation, 24 under construction, and more about to start construction.
      Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give more than a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020-21, then some 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.

      The impetus for increasing nuclear power share in China is increasingly due to air pollution from coal-fired plants.

      China’s policy is for closed fuel cycle.

      China has become largely self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle, but is making full use of western technology while adapting and improving it.

      China’s policy is to ‘go global’ with exporting nuclear technology including heavy components in the supply chain.

    2. Russian Floating Nuclear Power Plants

      In May 2014 the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) signed an agreement with Rosatom to cooperate in construction of floating nuclear cogeneration plants (FNPP) for China offshore islands.

      These would be built in China but be based on Russian technology, and possibly using Russian KLT-40S reactors – Russia’s TVEL anticipates providing fuel for them. In July 2014 Rusatom Overseas signed a further agreement, this time with CNNC New Energy, for the joint development of FNPPs – both barge-mounted and self-propelled – from 2019.

  34. floating nuclear power plants

    What could possibly go wrong? :)

    1. Floating nuclear power plants made in China?

      Is this the same China that built a car that received "0" Stars?

  35. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton encouraged President Barack Obama on Sunday to listen to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) on trade.

    "The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi," Clinton said while speaking at a rally in Iowa.

    Pelosi took to the House floor Friday to oppose trade legislation Obama had personally lobbied for on Capitol Hill earlier that day.

    “We have an opportunity to slow down,” Pelosi said. “Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for America’s workers.”

    Clinton encouraged lawmakers to work together to "make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible."

    "And if we don’t get it, there should be no deal,"
    she added.

    Clinton said she wants to "find out what's in it and make it as good as it can be," and pushed for more transparency "so the American people can actually see what will be in a finalized deal."

    Huff post

  36. Troop Dreams06.14.1512:01 AM ET

    An Iraqi General’s ‘Plan’ To Retake Mosul Is A Fantasy

    The desire may be there, but the troops are not. Baghdad’s nowhere near ready to liberate ISIS’s de facto capital in the north.

    Make no sudden moves seems to be an imperative of the current administration’s policy toward Iraq. Big announcements, like the one this week that 450 additional troops will be sent to assist the Iraqi army as advisors, turn out to mean less than the initial press release suggests. Only 50 of those soldiers are actually advisors, the remaining 400 are a security detail. But while the U.S. appears to be managing expectations and hunkering down for a long war marked by setbacks and slow progress, Iraqi leaders may have other plans in mind.

    The Iraqi general leading the operation to retake Mosul, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in northern Iraq, told The Daily Beast exclusively this week that the offensive will be launched sooner than expected and definitely in less than a year.

    The date to begin the operation, “may be very close but I can’t tell you when exactly,” said Major General Najim Abed al-Jubouri, commander of the Nineveh operations center, named for the Iraqi province that governs Mosul. We were speaking on June 10, exactly one year after ISIS captured Mosul. When I asked whether the campaign in Mosul would begin in the next year, the general laughed and I expected to hear something about the virtues of patience. Instead he said, “No, no, no. Before that.”

    According to Najim, Iraqi forces are already being repositioned around Mosul in preparation for the upcoming offensive. Only a few days before we spoke, the general said, “the prime minister gave us orders to move troops around Mosul.” Launching the operation in Mosul will not wait for Iraqi forces to win clear victories in other embattled areas like Baiji and Anbar, Najim said. “We will not wait. We have our troops, we will move to Mosul.”

    The troops under Najim’s command will include “three Iraqi divisions, some battalions, many fighters from the [Sunni] tribes, and maybe some for the [Iraqi Special Forces] Golden Division,” he said. According to Najim, two of the units participating, the 15th and 16th divisions of the Iraqi army, received training from American forces, as did some of the tribal fighters from Nineveh. In total, Najim says, he will have “maybe more than 30,000” soldiers and tribesman fighting to retake Mosul.

    That is, frankly, hard to believe given how thin Iraqi forces are already stretched by ongoing battles in other areas like Baiji and Anbar. And the general’s count doesn’t match with what Derek Harvey, a former Army colonel and senior intelligence official who advised General David Petraeus as an Iraq specialist, observed during a recent trip to Iraq. According to Harvey, “the assertion that the 15th division has the capability, I don’t really believe it. I looked at them 4 months ago. They hardly existed.”

    “We will not wait. We have tour troops, we will move to Mosul.”

    Harvey also said he sees no evidence of the preparatory actions that would indicate a major operation in Mosul................

    One way to find out what is going on in 'Iraq' is to read intelligent commentary.

    An alternative way is to take the statements of our two Generals, the War Wizards R & R, put a negative sign in front of them, and go with that..........

    Interesting article includes some commentary on the Iran view of things in its western most province of Irano-Iraq.

    They are not going to let their Irano - Iraq Satrap Capital of Baghdad 'fall' to ISIS.

    1. Nor do the Iranians seem to have any real interest in pushing up into ISISLand.

      Over in 'Syria' the Kurds are said to be winning a major fight against ISIS there.

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