Sunday, March 09, 2008

My Obama Watch blog now has a mirror site -- for all your friends in China and for times when blogspot is down

Democrats creating enemies around the world

Despite their spirited squabbling, the two Democratic candidates are united in the view that one of the big benefits of electing either of them would be an improvement in America's reputation and relations with the world. Hillary Clinton promises to send special envoys to foreign capitals the day after she's elected. Barack Obama offers to reach out to America's foes as well as friends. Unfortunately none of this will matter if they continue to spout dangerous and ill-informed rhetoric about trade.

For the rest of the world-particularly poorer countries-nice speeches about multilateralism are well and good. But what they really want is for the United States to continue its historic role in opening up the world economy. For a struggling farmer in Kenya, access to world markets is far more important than foreign aid or U.N. programs. If the candidates think they will charm the world while adopting protectionist policies, they are in for a surprise.

Already the mood is shifting abroad. Listening to the Democrats on trade "is enough to send jitters down the spine of most in India," says the Times Now TV channel in New Delhi. The Canadian press has shared in the global swoon for Obama, but is now beginning to ask questions. "What he is actually saying-and how it might affect Canada-may come as a surprise to otherwise devout Barack boosters," writes Greg Weston in the Edmonton Sun. The African press has been reporting on George W. Bush's visit there with affection and, in some cases, by contrasting his views on trade with the Democratic candidates'. The Bangkok Post has compared the Democrats unfavorably with John McCain and his vision of an East Asia bound together, and to the United States, by expanding trade ties.

For Obama, the backlash could be greatest because he's raised the highest hopes. A senior Latin American diplomat, who asked to remain unnamed because of the sensitivity of the topic, says, "Look, we're all watching Obama with bated breath and hoping [his election] will be a transforming moment for the world. But now that we're listening to him on trade-the issue that affects us so deeply-we realize that maybe he doesn't wish us well. In fact, we might find ourselves nostalgic for Bush, who is brave and courageous on trade and immigration."

The facts about trade have been too well rehearsed to go into them in any great detail, but let me point out that NAFTA has been pivotal in transforming Mexico into a stable democracy with a growing economy. And, in Lawrence Summers's words, "[it] didn't cost the United States a penny. It contributed to the strength of our economy because of more exports and because imports helped to reduce inflation." Trade between the NAFTA countries has boomed since 1993, growing by about $700 billion. There are no serious economists or experts who believe that low wages in Mexico or China or India is the fundamental reason that American factories close down. And labor and environmental standards would do very little to change the reality of huge wage differentials between poor and rich countries' workers.

The question needs to be asked why Democrats have let a few union bosses drag them into this international disaster in the making. They answer has to be among other things, their own incompetence and the incompetence of their economic advisers.




WHY THERE'S A HAMAS-ISRAEL WAR : "The deliberate murder of eight and the wounding of nine Israeli rabbinical students in Jerusalem only highlights the fact that Hamas is at war with Israel. It is, from Hamas's view, a war that will never end until Israel is exterminated and its citizens killed or expelled. No other analysis is accurate or can explain what is happening. First, the fact that it is a war must be understood. The Gaza Strip is technically not a state, yet is functioning as one. The Gaza government of the radical Islamist Hamas has declared war on Israel. The war's purpose is not to free Gaza from occupation, nor is it a defensive war in response to Israeli attacks. The goal--openly and daily declared by Hamas in media and speeches, teaching in schools and sermons in mosques--is a long-term campaign to wipe Israel off the map and to kill or expel most of its citizens. There's a word for this: genocide."

Far from a Russian-US arms race (by Richard N. Perle): "With a stridency reminiscent of the cold war, outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin charged last month that with US plans for a limited defense against ballistic missiles, 'a new arms race has been unleashed in the world.' He vowed to field new weapons, which have been under development for years, 'in response.' The same day, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he anticipated 'hundreds of thousands of missile interceptors all over the world ... in the foreseeable future.' Both claims are wrong. Despite a near universal belief to the contrary, the 'action-reaction-upward-spiraling strategic weapons race' of the cold war never really happened. And Lavrov's hundreds of thousands of missile interceptors won't happen either."

Army brass finally get off their fat behinds: "The US Army plans to overhaul its largest online education program following revelations that thousands of soldiers have openly cheated on training exams to get promoted, according to an Army spokesman. General William S. Wallace, the head of Army training, ordered the overhaul recently after an internal review confirmed the findings of a Globe investigation last year that revealed the training command knew as early as 1999 that cheating was widespread. The investigation revealed soldiers were obtaining exact copies of tests and answers for the more than 1,000 online correspondence courses. The new measures - including randomized test questions, individual test access cards, and limits on the number of courses a soldier can take in a given period - are expected to cost millions of dollars."

The Canadian version of privacy: "The TTC can go ahead with plans to dramatically increase its video camera surveillance, Ontario's privacy commissioner says. Toronto's plan for 10,000 additional cameras on buses, streetcars and subway cars complies with the province's privacy standards, Ann Cavoukian said today when she released her report. But the TTC still has to make some changes to make sure the privacy-invasive technology is only used for legitimate crime fighting purposes and not voyeurism as has happened in some other cities, she said."

There's a time and a place for a beanball: "Where in the Constitution does it say that Congress may interfere in the internal affairs of a private baseball league or its players? How exactly have these vainglorious congressional publicity hounds come by the idea that their jurisdiction has no limits? The biggest shockeroo, however, is that these despicable charlatans would throw a private citizen to the FBI wolves on account of his having possibly lied to them, of all people. Do they not lie to the public and to each other with nearly every utterance they make? Do they not lie routinely to their friends, their spouses, their sons and daughters, and even to their cats and dogs? Why is it that what's good for the Clemens goose is unsuited to the congressional gander?"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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