Posts tagged ‘Oligarchy’

Obama hits China on trade and Romney on China | The Ticket – Yahoo! News


Obama hits China on trade and Romney on China | The Ticket – Yahoo! News.

Campaigning Monday in the pivotal battleground of Ohio, President Barack Obama hit China over allegedly underhanded competition that hurts American workers, and knocked Mitt Romney as being for unfair trade practices before he was against them.
Equality Armando Olmos

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“We don’t need folks who during election time suddenly are worrying about trade practices, but before the election are taking advantage of unfair trading practices,” Obama told a crowd of some 4,500 cheering supporters in Cincinnati.

The Republican presidential nominee has recently redoubled his attacks on the president over China as both men court blue-collar workers who blame Beijing’s rise for the decline of American manufacturing. It’s a sentiment with overwhelming support in Congress, where many accuse the rising economic power of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar—a move that helps keep its exports cheaper relative to American competition.

The former Massachusetts governor has promised that, if elected, he will formally designate China a currency manipulator, a step that could trigger retaliatory sanctions—and, many experts warn, precipitate a trade war.

Obama, who has sometimes struggled to reach white working-class voters, accused Romney of benefiting personally from seeing American manufacturing jobs flow to China. The president charged that, as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital, his rival invested in firms that moved jobs to Asia.

“He made money investing in companies that uprooted from here and went to China,” Obama said. “Now, Ohio, you can’t stand up to China when all you’ve done is sent them our jobs.”

The Romney campaign vigorously disputed that allegation, with spokesman Ryan Williams accusing the president of “recycling false and debunked attacks.”

“He can’t tell the people of Ohio about his record of fewer jobs, more debt, and lower incomes,” Williams said in a statement. “And even members of his own party have loudly condemned his inaction toward China.”

(The Republican National Committee also blasted out a series of quotes from Democrats, including Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, which had criticized the Obama administration for not designating China a currency manipulator. Obama aides say the yuan is artificially cheap, but that the issue is best addressed either at the World Trade Organization or through bilateral negotiations—even though such talks have yielded little progress. Legislation meant to escalate the pressure on Beijing has stalled in the Republican-held House of Representatives in the face of opposition from potent sectors of big business.)

Obama’s trip came as the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced new steps to challenge China’s allegedly improper subsidies to its auto and auto-parts sectors.

The Obama administration is also escalating another trade enforcement action, begun in July, against what it says are unfair anti-dumping and countervailing duties on some $3.3 billion in U.S. automobile exports to China.

“You can talk a good game, but I like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” Obama said.

Romney’s tough rhetoric on China reflects how a challenger can use foreign policy issues to his or her advantage: Candidate Obama did the same thing on China in 2008, pushing then-President George W. Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics. In 2000, candidate Bush hit the Clinton administration’s record on China and described the rising Asian power as a strategic competitor. And in 1992, candidate Bill Clinton accused then-President George H.W. Bush of accommodating the “butchers of Beijing.”

Each time, the candidate turned president muted his more strident criticisms and worked to bring Beijing into international institutions and get its cooperation on a range of thorny issues, like nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. Advisers to Romney insist that he would keep his pledge.
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U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney pauses as speaks to reporters in Los Angeles, California

U.S. Republican presidential nominee …

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/David McNew)

Republican presidential candidate and …

Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney Speaks To Hispanic Business Owners

Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney Speaks …

U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, California

U.S. Republican presidential nominee …

Republican Officials Work ‘Under The Radar’ To Implement Obamacare In Their States


Republican Officials Work ‘Under The Radar’ To Implement Obamacare In Their States.

By Tara Culp-Ressler on Sep 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney
Republican lawmakers are continuing to delay setting up the state-run health insurance exchanges required under Obamacare as an act of resistance against President Obama’s health reform law. Even though the federal government will be forced to step in to implement exchanges for the states that don’t turn in their exchange plans for approval by November, some Republican governors are refusing to work on exchanges until after the election in case Mitt Romney wins and repeals Obamacare. However, despite the political battle over health care reform, not all Republican officials are convinced that refusing to set up health exchanges is the best course of action.

Reuters points out that some GOP officials like Mike Chaney, Mississippi’s insurance commissioner, have quietly worked against their party to take steps toward creating state-level insurance exchanges. Although his state’s lawmakers are deeply opposed to Obamacare — Mississippi was one of the 26 states that sued the administration over the health reform law — Chaney explained that resisting Obamacare’s health care exchange will force state officials to scramble after the November election:

Insurance officials like Chaney, however, want a better contingency plan in case the Republicans lose, as the 10-day window between the election and the exchange deadline will not give them enough time to prepare an exchange.

“They can’t just leave this to the will of the wind,” Chaney said in an interview.

“This isn’t about politics. It’s about following the law,” he added. “And I think I’m better equipped to operate an exchange in my state than the federal government.”

Chaney is not the only Republican to take this stance. Reuters interviewed half a dozen other Republican state health officials who agreed they would prefer to plan for state-run exchanges now rather than accept a federally-run exchange when the clock runs out, and some are working to do so. However, the contentious political climates in their states don’t always make this possible. Although Chaney said he worked “under the radar” to prepare for an exchange in Mississippi, mounting pressure from conservatives in the state curbed his work in mid-July, and he has since released a statement promising to hold off on any further work toward establishing an exchange until after the election.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has already urged Republican governors to embrace health care reform and take the necessary steps to set up exchanges in their states. As Frist and Chaney both point out, state-run exchanges are actually consistent with conservative federalist ideals. If Republican legislators continue to block them, they could help prove Chaney’s assertion that “this isn’t about politics” very wrong.

Robert Reich (Why Washington Isn’t Doing Squat About Jobs and Wages)


The silence is deafening. While the rest of the nation is heading back toward a double dip, Washington continues to obsess about future budget deficits. Why?Republicans don’t want to do anything about jobs and wages. They’re so intent on unseating Obama they’d like the economy to remain in the dumps through Election Day. They also see the lousy economy as an opportunity to sell Americans their big lie that government spending is the culprit — and jobs will return if spending is cut and government shrinks.Democrats, meanwhile, don’t want to admit the recovery has stalled. They worry such talk will further undermine consumer confidence or spook the bond market. They don’t want to head into the election year sounding downbeat. And they don’t think they have the votes for anything that will have much effect before Election Day anyway. But there’s a third reason for Washington’s inaction. It’s not being talked about — which is itself evidence of the problem.The unemployed are politically invisible. They don’t make major campaign donations. They don’t lobby Congress. There’s no National Association of Unemployed People.Their ranks are filled with women who had been public employees, single mothers, minorities, young people trying to enter the labor force, and middle-aged men who have been out of work for longer than six months. You couldn’t find a collection of people with less political clout.

Robert Reich (Why Washington Isn’t Doing Squat About Jobs and Wages)

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GOP Can’t Handle The Truth: Taxes Are Lower Under Obama Than Reagan | ThinkProgress


falo on Jun 1, 2011 at 4:30 pmPresident Obama met with House Republicans today at the White House to discuss ways to move forward on negotiations regarding the nation’s debt ceiling and the budget. During the discussion, talk evidently turned to taxes, and when Obama noted that taxes today are lower than they were under President Reagan, the GOP, according to The Hill, “engaged in a lot of ‘eye-rolling’“: Republicans attending a White House meeting on Wednesday didn’t take kindly to President Obama telling them tax rates were higher during the Reagan administration. GOP members engaged in a lot of “eye-rolling,” according to a member who was on hand to hear Obama, who invited House Republicans to the White House for discussions on the debt ceiling. [...]

GOP Can’t Handle The Truth: Taxes Are Lower Under Obama Than Reagan | ThinkProgress

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ALEC – Government for the Corporations


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.  (Abraham Lincoln – The Gettysburg Address)

What is ALEC?
With nearly 2,000 members, ALEC is the nation’s largest
nonpartisan, individual membership association of state
legislators. Well over 100 ALEC members hold senior
leadership positions in their state legislatures. ALEC’s alumni
include almost 80 current members of Congress and sitting
or former governors.ALEC’s goal is to ensure that each of its legislative members
is fully armed with the information, research, and ideas they
need to be an ally of the free-market system.

Over the course of the past thirty-eight years The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate sector members and the legislative active members and alumni members have successfully redefined our government as “government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations”.

Government of the corporations, by the corporations
While no corporations actively sit in our state and federal legislatures, these ALEC member corporations are faithfully represented in the state and federal legislatures by the over 2700 active and alumni members of ALEC.

At about this time, the state chairs of ALEC are sending out letters to legislators in your state, telling them that ALEC will reimburse them for up to $1,900 to attend the ALEC annual meeting to be held in New Orleans in August.

This $1,900 is donated by corporations to be spent on “tuition fees” to the annual meeting so that the corporations can be assured that they will be able to talk with our state legislators to influence corporate-focused legislation to be passed at our state legislatures.

The corporations that attend the ALEC meeting sit with our legislators, talk with our legislators, discuss new “Model Legislation” with our  legislators and VOTE on “Model legislation” that they want implemented in our government, as new legislation.

This is what ALEC refers to as a dynamic partnership in its latest corporate member brochure

A DYNAMIC PARTNERSHIP
One of ALEC’s greatest strengths is the public-private
partnership. ALEC provides the private sector with an
unparalleled opportunity to have its voice heard, and its
perspective appreciated, by the legislative members.

Unfortunately, for “we the people”, the representatives that we elected to office, who have chosen to become ALEC members no longer believe in representative government “of the people” – they now serve the corporations.

For a corporate donation of $1,900 per legislator, the corporations get our legislators undivided attention for up to four meetings every year – to write, vote on and approve – “Model Legislation” that promotes ALEC “free-market” philosophy – which is specifically written for the corporations.

Government for the corporations
It is important to remember that ALEC exists for the sole purpose of promoting a “free-market” philosophy.  Free market has absolutely NOTHING to do with representation “for the people” and has EVERYTHING to do with representation “for the corporations”.

Based on the research I have done on ALEC – the end result of all the “ALEC Model Legislation” is more profits for corporations and that’s all ALEC is concerned with – providing more business opportunties and/or more profit for their corporate sector members.  You and I, the citizens of this great country do not, repeat do not, have anything to do with their purpose and mission, unless, ALEC can use us to further corporate profits.

What does government “for the corporation” look like?  How are your legislators, who are ALEC members, providing corporations with more business opportunties and more corporate profits, at the expense of the rights of the people?  Well, let’s take a look at just a few examples.

Privatization
ALEC believes that government services provide an unfair competitive advantage to private sector companies and because of that the government sector is a major impediment to the ability for private sector companies to make more profit.  ALEC’s  solution to this is legislation that promotes privatization of government services.  We see this in the news almost every day with the introduction of voucher systems to private schools, proposed voucher systems for Medicare, or legislation that promotes privatization of government services through the use of competitive bidding for government services.  These are ALL ALEC initiatives.

The problem with this model is that when you have private industry supplying government services, their customer is no longer you or me – the citizen who pays for those services.  When government services are privatized, the customer then becomes the government entity that contracted the service and you and I are left without a voice regarding government services provided to us – just ask the folks in Benton Harbor.  Private industry is not held responsible to “we the people”.

De-Regulation
ALEC has been at the forefront of fighting for “de-regulation”. ANY type of regulation – labor, environmental, health is open game for ALEC.  The one and only reason ALEC so vehemently opposes health, labor and environmental regulations is because their corporate members see reduced profits due to regulations.  In 1997, the then National Chair of ALEC, Bonnie Cooper wrote a letter to ALEC members referring to these types of legislation as “heart-strings legislation” – “written as a result of an emotional appeal rather than sound reasoning”.

When deregulation is allowed to occur or when funding for these agencies is allowed to be reduced – who loses?  We the people.  Legislation by ALEC members at the state and federal level that focuses on corporate profit above the appeals of their citizenry – is just plain wrong!

Over the past thirty eight years we have assumed that our government was a representative “government of the people, by the people, for the people” we can no longer make that assumption.  Legislators at the state and federal level who are or have been ALEC members have changed all that.

It has become extremely clear to me over the last few months that the democratic leaders of this country and the news media want nothing to do with this issue.  They would rather spend hours talking about divorces and sex scandals, than spend more than 10 minutes exposing ALEC.

Because of that – this is our issue to handle.  This is our responsibility to clean up.
Action must be taken by “we the people.”

There is only one way that we can ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”

Over the course of the next several elections, we MUST do everything we can to identify ALEC members at the state and federal level.  ALEC does not release their full membership list – they only release enough to keep the media off their back – We must identify every one of the over 2,700 legislative (state and federal) members.  See this diary and see this google doc

Once ALEC members have been identified, we MUST make sure that they are not re-elected in the upcoming elections.  The only way to stop this subversion of our democracy is to remove these representatives from office.  ALEC legislators are no longer representing the people – they are representing the corporations.

It is at times like this that remembering the past can be of benefit to us, to motivate us.

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

We must be

dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion

Since the time my grandparents immigrated to the United States, multiple family members of each successive generation have served in the US Forces.  I write this diary in their honor and in hopes that their service was not in vain.

If you don’t know what ALEC is you should –
please read this, or this, or this, or this, or this.

Originally posted to MNDem999 on Sun May 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM PDT.

Also republished by Exposing ALEC and Community Spotlight.

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