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truedelphi's Journal
truedelphi's Journal
April 30, 2015

So can Pres Obama succeed in answering Dean Baker's statements re: the TPP?

Dean Baker is a renowned economist who deals with both macro and micro economic matters.

Here is what he has to say about the Trans Pacific Plan:

"President Obama must be having trouble getting the votes for fast-track authority since the administration is now pulling out all the stops to push the deal. This has included a press call where he apparently got testy over the charge by critics that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secret trade deal.

"Obama insisted the deal is not secret, but googling "TPP" will not get you a copy of the text. Apparently President Obama is using a different definition of "secret" than the ordinary English usage.

"But that wasn't the only fun in the last week. The administration got 13 former Democratic governors to sign a letter boasting about the jobs generated by the growth of exports. The letter noted that exports had added "$760 billion to our economy between 2009 and 2014 -- one-third of our total growth." It neglected to mention that imports had grown even faster, diverting $890 billion in demand away from the domestic economy to foreign economies.

"Contrary to what the governors were claiming in their letter, trade was a net negative to the tune of more than $130 billion over this five-year period. Instead of adding jobs, the growing trade deficit was drag on growth, slowing job creation and putting downward pressure on wages. The growth in the trade deficit over this period has the same impact on the economy as if people pulled $130 billion out of their paychecks each year and stuffed it under their mattress.

"Secretary of State John Kerry also got into the act with a speech that talked about the importance of the world economy. He told his audience that most of the growth in the future will be outside of the United States and that we will be missing huge markets if we don't have an open economy. This is true, but it has about as much relevance to the TPP and fast-track as an analysis of the Washington Wizards' playoff prospects. The United
United States already has almost $4 trillion in trade annually (at 23 percent of GDP). This figure has been rising rapidly. It will continue to rise rapidly whether or not Congress approves the TPP. The fact that trade is good has nothing to do with whether Congress should approve the TPP.

"This is a lesson that was apparently also lost on Harvard economist Greg Mankiw. In a New York Times column last week Mankiw argued for the congressional approval on fast-track authority based on the claim that all economists agree that free trade is good.

"In fact, not all economists agree that all reductions in trade barriers are good. But more importantly, the TPP is not primarily about reducing trade barriers. The TPP is essentially a pact in which the Obama administration invited industry representatives to get together a wish list and see what they could impose on the other parties to the deal.

"Since formal trade barriers are already low, very little time was spent on cutting tariffs or ending quotas. Most of the deal is about imposing a business-friendly regulatory structure. The rules in the TPP can be used to challenge any consumer, labor, or environmental regulation approved at the state, local or federal level. The enforcement powers will rest with an extra-judicial dispute settlement mechanism that will impose penalties that are
not subject to appeal.

"On this issue President Obama's assurance that the TPP will not challenge financial regulation or other types of regulation are worthless. He has no idea what sort of people will be appointed to these tribunals in future years. The tribunals are not bound by U.S. law or even the precedent of rulings from other tribunals. Does President Obama really want us to believe that he knows a President Bush or President Walker won't appoint people who will use the tribunals to undermine environmental and labor regulations?

"The absurdity of conflating the TPP with "free trade" is brought out by the fact that its biggest impact may well be from increasing the strength of patent protection, especially in the case of prescription drugs. Patents are government-granted monopolies. They are the opposite of free trade. The TPP will make them stronger and longer raising drug prices. This increase in protectionism is a drag on growth and will slow job creation.

"The Obama administration has punted in the one area where a trade deal may have had a major positive impact. The deal will not have any rules on currency. The main reason the United States continues to run large trade deficits is that our trading partners deliberately prop up the dollar against their currencies. This makes their goods relatively cheaper and ours more expensive.

"The Obama administration could have made currency rules front and center in a trade deal, but that would have only made sense if its main concern was jobs and workers. Instead we have a deal that is a prorata for the corporations who were at the table, and who the Democrats are counting on to give generously in the 2016 campaign.

"This doesn't look very pretty to the rest of us, which is why the Obama administration will have to play fast and loose with the truth to get the TPP through Congress."

April 29, 2015

The looting of the entire country - that news is buried underneath the stories about

The looting in Baltimore.

But it is far more serious:


WASHINGTON — The Defense Department can’t account for $1.3 billion that was shipped to force commanders in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014 for critical reconstruction projects, 60 percent of all such spending under an emergency program, an internal report released Thursday concludes.

The missing money was part of the relatively small amount of Afghanistan spending that was routed directly to military officers in a bid to bypass bureaucracy and rush the construction of urgently needed roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and other essential infrastructure. About 70 percent of the $100 billion the United States has spent to rebuild Afghanistan during more than 13 years of war went through the Pentagon, with the rest distributed by the U.S. Agency for International Development and other civilian departments.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/04/23/264136/more-than-1-billion-in-us-emergency.html#storylink=cpy


One Billion dollars would run my county's school district at 2009-10 levels for more than
Sixty years! It would pay for a good chunk of the entire completion of a fast rail travel system in California.

April 4, 2015

What bright object was I viewing at night Tuesday or Wednesday

Of this week?

The object looked to be Jupiter on steroids, and it was located a bit north of Due West in the 11Pm to midnight sky here in Northern California.

Was it Jupiter conjunct some other planet? Was it the international space station?

A friend said that possibly it was a tricked out drone, with extra lights, and that viewed from some distance, it then looked like a very large, very bright planet...

It remained stationary, or close to being stationary, for at least the 45 minutes I kept examining it.

April 3, 2015

Is there an ophthalmologist in the house?

I am posting this article with its link with some reservations.

the article deals with the topic of night vision and "night vision drops."

First of all, I totally agree with those on the site commenting at the end of the article that this is very poor science - to have only four people as participants inside a "scientific study."

But my main reason for posting this, despite this legitimate concern, is that the article mentions that there are eye drops that one can take that will rectify poor night vision...

Has anyone here heard of that? If so, I would be in the market, as my vision is always poor, except when I have had milk thistle aplenty in my system. (Carrots and vitamin A infused substances have not helped.)


Scientists develop night vision eye drops

Posted on Friday, 27 March, 2015 | Comment icon 18 comments

Can eye drops help you to see in the dark ?
A group of California researchers has found a way to enhance a person's ability to see in the dark.

Independent research group "Science for the Masses" decided to take a special chemical used to treat night blindness and adapt it to enhance the latent night vision of biochemist Gabriel Licina who had no inherent problems with his eyesight.

The treatment, which was made using light amplification molecule Ce6, was applied to each eye as a thin black liquid solution and then left for around an hour with both eyes covered with a black lens to protect them from the light until testing could begin.
More of the article at link above

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Name: Carol
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Hometown: Northern California
Home country: USA
Current location: Office chair
Member since: Sun May 15, 2005, 01:28 PM
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About truedelphi

I joined DU following the election melt down that produced the second George the Lesser Term of Office. I am outraged by war, by out-sourcing of jobs, by Corporate control of both parties, and enheartened by my fellow citizens who are bravely part of "Occupy!"

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