Let’s Rethink Free Trade

It just seems to me that Free Trade equals jobs being sucked from America. Period.

From Robert Reich:

On Friday, President Obama chose Nike headquarters in Oregon to deliver a defense of his proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

It was an odd choice of venue.

Nike isn’t the solution to the problem of stagnant wages in America. Nike is the problem.

It’s true that over the past two years Nike has added 2,000 good-paying professional jobs at its Oregon headquarters, fulfilling the requirements of a controversial tax break it wrangled from the state legislature. That’s good for Nike’s new design, research and marketing employees.

Just before the President spoke, Nike announced that if the Trans Pacific Partnership is enacted, Nike would “accelerate development of new advanced manufacturing methods and a domestic supply chain to support U.S. based manufacturing,” thereby creating as many as 10,000 more American jobs.

But that would still be only a tiny fraction of Nike’s global workforce. While Nike makes some shoe components in the United States, it hasn’t assembled shoes here since 1984.

Americans made only 1 percent of the value of Nike products that generated Nike’s $27.8 billion revenue last year. And Nike is moving ever more of its production abroad. Last year, a third of Nike’s remaining 13,922 American production workers were laid off. (more…)

Never Negotiate With an Extortionist


Never negotiate with an extortionist. You know how this is going to go. The matter how badly you want whatever it is they are holding over your head, don’t give in.

In the United States, we know how bills are supposed to be introduced in the Congress, how their discussed in committee how then they are passed by one Chamber of Congress. Then the other chamber of Congress has an opportunity to vote on the bill and modify it. If the bill is passed by both chambers of the versions of the bill are different then there’s a committee from both houses of Congress which discusses the bill and then it is voted on again by both houses of Congress. The bill then goes the president to be signed or vetoed. That’s exactly what happened to the Affordable Care Act. Then, the law was immediately challenged and it was upheld by the Supreme Court. We’ve all seen Schoolhouse Rock. That’s how this thing works.

If you don’t like a law that is currently, the law of the land, then there’s a process for repealing laws. As far as I know, the process does not include shutting down the government because you’re having a hissy fit. Republicans don’t have a prayer of repealing ObamaCare through the normal process. So, they thought they would circumvent the normal process and pretend nobody was looking.

More from Robert Reich:

What’s happening in Washington these days may seem far removed from my boyhood memories, but Washington is really just another children’s playground. Its current bullies are right-wing Republicans, now threatening that if they don’t get their way they’ll close down the government and cause the nation to default on its debts. Continue reading

Obama on Syria

Transcript from The White House:

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria — why it matters, and where we go from here.

Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits — a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war. Continue reading