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US-EU Trade Agreement Gains Exaggerated, Say 41 Consumer Groups, Economist

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the illuminati-mind-control-plot dept.

EU 97

Glyn Moody (946055) writes "The main claims about likely economic gains from concluding the US-EU trade agreement TAFTA/TTIP, billed as a 'once-in-a-generation prize,' are increasingly under attack. BEUC, representing 41 consumer organizations from 31 European countries, has written a letter to the EU Trade Commissioner responsible for the negotiations, Karel De Gucht, complaining about his 'exaggeration of the effects of the TTIP,' and 'use of unsubstantiated figures regarding the job creation potential.' In a blog post entitled 'Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Promote Trade Deals?,' Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, has even harsher words: 'Implying that a deal that raises GDP by 0.4 or 0.5 percent 13 years out means "job-creating opportunities for workers on both continents" is just dishonest. The increment to annual growth is on the order of 0.03 percentage points. Good luck finding that in the data.' If the best-case outcome is just 0.03% extra growth per year, is TAFTA/TTIP worth the massive upheavals it will require to both US and EU regulatory systems to achieve that?"

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It's just normal for politicians to lie (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163549)

'Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Promote Trade Deals?

For the same reasons that trade deals are negotiated in secret. The general population never benefits, only a few select special interests.

Not About Growth Anyway (4, Informative)

Apocryphos (1222870) | about 3 months ago | (#47163553)

This is just classic use of government to support established corporations. It's been happening for a long time, and it's been lied about for a long time. It's not surprising that their sales pitch to the public isn't exactly accurate...

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163655)

And, quite frankly, 'free trade' agreements with the US are a joke, because the US doesn't fucking abide by them.

The US hammers everyone else on agricultural subsidies, and throws billions at corn producers.

The US bitches about protectionist policies of other countries, and then enacts exceedingly protectionist policies themselves.

The US pushed IP protections for their stuff, and then ignores those of other countries -- Champagne, for instance, is restricted to mean from the Champagne region in France everywhere but America.

The US forces other countries to add country of original labeling, while refusing to do it themselves.

As part of these agreements, the US forces other countries to adopt IP and copyright laws which mostly favor US firms, and which they can't even enact at home.

'Free' trade with the US is the right to get raped and bullied by the US to promote their interests.

No country who has enacted a 'free' trade agreement with the US has ever done well with it. Because the US are the most hypocritical, self-serving assholes on the planet when it comes to such things.

Fuck free trade. Because it's anything but. It's a distorting factor designed to get US companies access to markets which don't want their products.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163909)

You're assuming the EU doesn't do the same thing.

Why is Champagne a legal term everywhere but the US? Because of the EU.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163975)

Why is Champagne a legal term everywhere but the US? Because of the EU.

No, because Americans are assholes and hypocrites.

Champagne is a trademark denoting something which comes from a specific region in France.

The US has chosen to ignore that. Just like at their inception Americans ignored copyright, and are now cramming it down the throats of the rest of the world.

Fuck you and your trade agreements. Fuck you and your globalization. And, generally, just fuck America.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164139)

Funny, here it's a description of a wine ... one grown from champaign grapes. Not believing in magic, we don't believe that a champaigne from France is magically better than one from south america. Nor, do we believe that there's a magic difference between australian wines and german wines. In fact, we pretty much drink wines from everywhere. You're the arrogant ones.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

r1348 (2567295) | about 3 months ago | (#47165209)

You're not exactly known for good eating habits...

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (2)

retchdog (1319261) | about 3 months ago | (#47165603)

nor is there a magic difference between a licensed and an unlicensed "pirate" medication, but we recognize the difference quite forcefully through state power because we "have to" for free markets to work.

also there are no champagne grapes, per se. there are grapes which are generally used for champagne (and sometimes legally required), but they aren't specific to champagne.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47168751)

If they come from the 'Champagne' region, then they are Champagne wines. Any winery from another region labeling their bottles 'Champagne' is misrepresenting the truth.

The rest of the world has adopted 'Sparkling Wines' to describe wine made in a similar fashion to Champagne without actually claiming that it is Champagne.

Come on, this is Trademarking 101.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (3, Insightful)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about 3 months ago | (#47164223)

Champagne is a retroactive trademark. I don't blame anyone for saying "fuck you" to a trademark that suddenly exists after 200 years of generic use.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 months ago | (#47164275)

No, it's a "Protected Designation of Origin", as Champagne is a place, not a specific product. It would help you not look quite so bombastic if you understood that against which you choose to rail.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47166329)

It's the same argument though, and a similar effect. Long after Champagne (as applied to the beverage) was understood to describe the process and the result, suddenly a new law pops up somewhere else demanding that it describe the place as well.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (3, Informative)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about 3 months ago | (#47167435)

Oh I understand Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée perfectly thanks. It's not like I didn't live in France for 30 years or anything.
Champagne is one of the worst abusers of AOC. It attacks products with "champagne" in the name that no one on earth could possibly mistake for Champagne or even fizzy wine or come to that even a drink. At that point it's no longer about AOC and that's why I choose the term trademark.
Now look up Laguiole and see why there's one law for the rich and one for the poor when it comes to trademarks/AOC. Not only is the village denied exclusive use of the Laguiole name for the well-known knife design that originated there, it is not even allowed to use its own name for anything except that specific knife.
Meanwhile elsewhere in France dairies are merrily making Gruyère, Emmental, and Cheddar cheese.

I am not American. I hate a lot of IP nonsense that comes out of the USA. But they are not the only bad boys as someone in this thread would have it.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (3, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 3 months ago | (#47164697)

Champagne is a retroactive trademark. I don't blame anyone for saying "fuck you" to a trademark that suddenly exists after 200 years of generic use.

I wouldn't mourn them going but they aren't generic trademarks. Where is the harm in saying that Kölsch has to be made in the designated area around Köln. Nothing stops anyone else from making the same beer and calling it anything else that they want, even "Kölsch Style" I believe. That way when I buy Kölsch I know I'm getting it from that locality and produced to the specifications agreed upon.

I rarely buy parmesan because other italian hard cheeses do the job just as well and tend to cost less; I'm not being denied choice, nor is anyone being stopped from producing goods, because the EU means that the cheese has to be from the parma region to be called parmesan. The fact that in America a cheese can be named after a place, and neither be from that place or be anything like cheese from that place so consumers can't trust a word manufacturers say isn't a selling point ;)

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

bentcd (690786) | about 3 months ago | (#47170101)

Where is the harm in saying that KÃlsch has to be made in the designated area around KÃln.

(I don't know why I can't get proper umlauts but you can.)

The main issue is that the public has had hundreds of years to learn that Champagne is a particular type of bubbly alcohol, and now that specific public awareness gets thrown under a train in order to co-opt a couple centuries of goodwill into money into the pockets of local special interests. This is exactly the opposite of what trademarks are meant to be: this explicitly deludes the public as to the nature of the goods that they are buying so that they are tricked into not purchasing the item that they actually wanted which may have been bubbly from California but they can't have this anymore because they're searching for Champagne which no longer means what they thought it meant.

The public perception will correct itself within a couple decades but this shouldn't have been necessary. Trademark laws should help preserve the public awareness, not randomly undermine it.

(Of course these aren't actually trademark laws, they are localised protectionism, but in my opinion proper trademark and consumer protection concerns should trump such shenanigans.)

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 3 months ago | (#47170193)

The main issue is that the public has had hundreds of years to learn that Champagne is a particular type of bubbly alcohol, and now that specific public awareness gets thrown under a train in order to co-opt a couple centuries of goodwill into money into the pockets of local special interests. This is exactly the opposite of what trademarks are meant to be: this explicitly deludes the public as to the nature of the goods that they are buying so that they are tricked into not purchasing the item that they actually wanted which may have been bubbly from California but they can't have this anymore because they're searching for Champagne which no longer means what they thought it meant.

Ask anyone in Europe what Champagne is and they'll know it's a type of fizzy wine from champagne in France. They might not realise that there is a particular process that must be used for it to be called champagne as well, or that Cava uses the same method. There is nothing deluding anyone about this. I know that a wine produced using the champenoise method in California will, assuming similar quality, be like Champagne.

What's misleading is that grapes from god knows where, mixed with god knows what, turned into wine by any process can be labelled as "champagne" in America. This is a trick. Requiring that products actually contain what they claim to isn't.

Re: Not About Growth Anyway (1)

yacc143 (975862) | about 3 months ago | (#47165371)

You do realize, that a huge chunkof IP US stylee is rather new.

Software patents
Business method patents

Come immediately to mind

Re: Not About Growth Anyway (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about 3 months ago | (#47167145)

Yep, I do. Not sure what those have to do with trademarks mind.

Re: Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47168881)

You do realize, that a huge chunkof IP US stylee is rather new.

Software patents
Business method patents

Come immediately to mind

Yes, and if you read the actual definition of a patent, none of this stuff is patentable. Except, of course, if you have a bought-and-paid-for corrupt government looking the other way.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164821)

Downmodded due to excessive correctness. GJ US mods, gfj.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165157)

That's a fucking retarded argument.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164095)

Norway throws hammers on it`s rivals, originally of Thor.
The French are good at getting hammered on wines and cognac.
The Dutch get hammered from the vapors of the old `cheese.
Italians were reputed by Australian mine-owners a century ago to be capable of hammering harder and longer than Chinese or Irish.

The difference between the above hammers and sickles, and the usa "traditions" of bullying everyone into doing business are worth brief mention;

Washington DC, Wall St, Chamber of Commerce, et al are disproportionally influenced by AIPAC and the banksters.

In Italy, they`re too busy paying Fratelli Mario (Mario Bros) to give any more concessions to the jEUROCRAZY. (and their economy is in dire straits, similar with the ones over in the Aegean).

World-Cup fever, or fires on Mt. Olympus are not enough to let Obama`s warmongering-with-a-plate-of-mercantilism pass as palatable.
  In case you didn't notice, the EU is not representative of the people of Germany, France, Scotland, or Bulgaria (let alone Ukraine), their interests are entirely different; the usa operates in the interests of mega-corporations/banks/AIPAC.

"Everyone knows Parmaggian cheese comes in green recepticles with KRAFT written on it, duh!" -Chelsea C

"Fuggin Beta, fuggin AKAMAI, fuggin AMDOCS, and fug NAFTA/TPP/TAFTA, hey that makes PrimeSense!" a tuppence from a two-byte anti-acta

Re: Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165305)

You know how I know you're eastern European and probably Bulgarian? Go back to ZeroHedge.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (2)

Noryungi (70322) | about 3 months ago | (#47164129)

Champagne is a French trademark that is valid and applicable everywhere in the world, not just in the USA.

It was trademarked because French Champagne producers were frankly, tired, of inferior, sometimes even really shitty products, being sold as ''Champagne''.

In other words, if you want to sell shitty bubbly wine, go ahead and produce/sell it, just don't call it Champagne. That, for once, is a reasonable application of Trademark/Intellectual Property.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47164541)

You're assuming the EU doesn't do the same thing.

Which of course makes it okay. Lying and cheating are what keep economies afloat.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165041)

You're assuming the EU doesn't do the same thing.

Which of course makes it okay. Lying and cheating are what keep economies afloat.

[citation needed]

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163953)

You are correct about all of the above except for the implication that the U.S. benefits from these trade agreements.
Most of the U.S. does not - quite the contrary - the beneficiaries are _only_ global corporate interests who bribed the right folks at the right time to get their sweet deals written into law.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164575)

True, except that "global corporate interests", to a fairly decent first approximation, means US-based corporations.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

grim4593 (947789) | about 3 months ago | (#47165257)

Those corporations may be "based" here but pay their taxes in countries like Denmark.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165047)

Riiiight.

Because the EU doesn't subsidize agriculture? That's a lie.

Because the EU created the WTO to push protectionist policies? That's nonsensical.

It's called "champagne", which is from "Champagne". Common nouns are not capitalized in English. Common foodstuffs, in the same sense, do not get special protections.

The US doesn't force European countries to do anything. I mean, its true America is the only real military force in Europe, but that's just because the European governments would collapse if they had to spend money to protect themselves on top of their welfare states. That or world war 3 would start.

Free trade with the US is the only thing keeping the world from falling apart at the seams. The world still hasn't recovered from a thousand years of European fuckery. WW2 was Europe's attempt at unifying the world. The UN and WTO was the American attempt. Yes, thing's would have gone alot smoother if Europe hadn't raped and bludgeoned the world for centuries, but you can't get everything you want for Christmas.

Every country has done better with a free trade agreement with the US. Because the Europeans are the most hypocritical, self-serving assholes on the planet when it comes to such things. The US doesn't invade your country over trade. It invades your country after the dictatorship installed by Europe inevitably collapses (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.)

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165307)

Every country has done better with a free trade agreement with the US. Because the Europeans are the most hypocritical, self-serving assholes on the planet when it comes to such things. The US doesn't invade your country over trade. It invades your country after the dictatorship installed by Europe inevitably collapses (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.)

Wow, that is literally all wrong. History, study it.

Re: Not About Growth Anyway (1)

Optali (809880) | about 3 months ago | (#47174191)

Same a the EU does. Half of the money we taxpayers pay goes to argrarian subsidies. And these do not go to poor farmers but to our own megacorps like Unilever.

Re:Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164369)

This is just classic use of government to support established corporations. It's been happening for a long time, and it's been lied about for a long time. It's not surprising that their sales pitch to the public isn't exactly accurate...

People seem to forget very quickly the very idiots that 'founded' the U.S. were business tycoons and only interested in protecting their money, it is no surprise that what your seeing from todays politicians is in line with the original fraud scheme the founders intended.

Not About Growth Anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164919)

Where did you get that information? From the EU mandatory lobbyist register?

Oh, wait. The EU doesn't require the men pulling their strings to be registered. Like the US does.

Don't confuse absence of evidence as evidence of absence.

Answer: no (1)

Meneth (872868) | about 3 months ago | (#47163565)

Pretty obvious, since (a) 0.03% growth is well within the margin of error for GDP measurements, and (b) the worst-case scenario is probably a GDP reduction of more than 0.03%.

Re:Answer: no (1)

Talennor (612270) | about 3 months ago | (#47163761)

What if I reframe the question, "We can standardize regulatory frameworks between allied friendly countries through modernizing uphevals. In the long run this is expected to be free of cost, or even slightly profitable!" I don't know if it'll change your mind, but it sounds nice to me.

Let's look at some current examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164115)

What if I reframe the question, "We can standardize regulatory frameworks between allied friendly countries through modernizing uphevals. In the long run this is expected to be free of cost, or even slightly profitable!" I don't know if it'll change your mind, but it sounds nice to me.

How about an alternate reframing: "We can take away your ability to threaten your elected officials with punishment when you don't like the regulations they are enforcing". That sounds like a bad deal to me.

Let's look at some current examples from Slashdot's favorite topics:
1) marijuana medicinal use regulations. Federal law standardized the regulatory framework across states so that no matter what local voters say or how unanimously they say it, the DOJ is still raiding medical dispensaries.
2) banking regulations. Federal law allows banks to choose to be regulated only by the federal standardized regulatory framework instead of those enacted by individual states so that no matter how egregiously they behaved in the run up to 2008, the big financial institutions can just pay a small (or no) fine and escape oversight.

How did you like the effects of standardizing those regulatory frameworks?

Of course it is worth it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163567)

The U.S.A. and the European Commission are tired of democracy interfering with corporations. This "Free Trade" treaties will mean that governments are no longer allowed to interfere with multinational corporations: the corporations may conduct business as they have paid their politicians at home to do, and when a local government says "we have human rights and environmental protections over here", then the corporation can sue the government in a corporation-run quasi-court committee and get all the "losses" paid as "penalties".

Of course it's worth it to those money-grabbing interest groups to extend their power and bypass all democratic control and law.

Re:Of course it is worth it (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 3 months ago | (#47163733)

Of course that it is so. The question is not whether they want to abuse our rectums but what can we do about that? Considering how difficult it is to get wide enough lasting enough protests it is much more effective to hire some lobbyists - the bad thing is - we already pay those people with our tax money so we would end up paying twice and still being uncertain of the result. What a nice world we live in.

Re: Of course it is worth it (2)

Alex Cane (3296683) | about 3 months ago | (#47164017)

In Brussels, Democracy is an offer you can't refuse...

Re:Of course it is worth it (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 3 months ago | (#47164639)

Of course it's worth it to those money-grabbing interest groups to extend their power and bypass all democratic control and law.

And if this is not immediately obvious, there's the fact that we only have even the slightest idea of what's in there is due to leaks. If these proposals are so fantastically wonderful for all concerned, why this selective secrecy -- to include the corps, but not the people?

The version I've seen contains gems such as "importing US natural gas into the EU will be considered in the public interest by default", in combination with all kinds of wording that's obviously aimed at outlawing publicly sponsored alternative energy research...

I hope this will go the way of ACTA. But then they'll just come up with a new attempt, and so on until we relent or otherwise fail to protest it to death.

Re:Of course it is worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165107)

American heads of government are directly elected, unlike parliamentary systems where they are chosen as dark horse candidates. We can attend regulatory meetings, and we can comment on regulations (hell, even Europeans can); we don't have to wait to find out about new regulations in a Commission press release after they are adopted. Our entire legislature is directly elected. The need for protesting is greatly diminished.

Re:Of course it is worth it (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 3 months ago | (#47165351)

Even if you were right, which I respectfully deny, it would not justify the secrecy of these negotiations.

Of course it is worth it (1)

youngone (975102) | about 3 months ago | (#47169175)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is similar, but less likely to work, as a bunch of independent minded Asians are involved, Has similar proposals. Corporations will be able to sue governments if new regulations interfere with business. Not sure I voted for that. Pretty sure I won't get the chance to.

Re: Of course it is worth it (1)

Optali (809880) | about 3 months ago | (#47174229)

Looks like there is a New World Order in the making.

This trade deal is evil. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163569)

It effectively outlaws nationalised companies by allowing private corporations to sue for profits lost through productive state labour. Since all essential utilities - water, electricity, gas, train, healthcare, telecoms - have got worse since part or total privatisation in the UK, TTIP can get fucked.

(Telecoms is arguable - it's easy to compare the technology of the early '80s with that of 2014 and say, "Things have improved under private ownership," but in terms of contemporary technical innovation, BT up to 1985 was a leader, whereas today it is an also-ran in bed with its regulator.)

Re:This trade deal is evil. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 months ago | (#47164309)

Ha-ha-ha. Yes, the old 'you can have any phone so long as it's black Bakelite, and we've got a slot to install it next year' Post Office Telephones was just so, so much better than the BT of today.

Re:This trade deal is evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164859)

Yes, telecoms isn't even slightly arguable... but fortunately, that just serves to reinforce AC's main point.

Re:This trade deal is evil. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 3 months ago | (#47165421)

Ha-ha-ha. Yes, the old 'you can have any phone so long as it's black Bakelite, and we've got a slot to install it next year' Post Office Telephones was just so, so much better than the BT of today.

The darkest day in the history of the telecoms business was the day when the old monopolies were broken up and 'users' became 'customers' who could go elsewhere for better service. It's a god thing that we now have big monolithic privatized telcos that compete by not invading each other's turf and beat down any annoying competitors that pop up with a big fat club. Watch this if you haven't already it's a must see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:This trade deal is evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47166087)

and we've got a slot to install it next year

Wait, are we talking about now or then? Loads of people have to wait at least a month for a new line when Computer Says No - every process is so computerised that a slight error in BT's address database will stop things moving forward. And good luck getting through to a knowledgeable customer service rep for BT residential service!

But the wait for a new line isn't usually as painful as the Openreach faults team with their penchant for missed appointments, failure to test properly, and threats of a hefty call-out charge for "customer fault". If you're not already using Andrews&Arnold ISP, go hang out in their IRC channel to find out how BT behaves.

Everything better about UK telecoms is thanks to BT upgrading to modern equipment built by other people. Their own labs are a joke. The fall's not nearly as great as what happened to the US telecoms industry, however.

Obamacare Will Lead To Single-Payer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163579)

http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/03/front-runner-to-head-va-predicts-obamacare-will-lead-to-single-payer/

Seeing the success at the VA of single payer government health care, how can we not do this?

“The first ones will be the small companies,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “Every CEO I’ve talked to knows how much he’d save between insuring his people and paying the federal penalty.”

“The first time some big player does that, it’s going to fall like dominoes,” he continued. “What that does is drive everybody to the exchanges.”

Asked what that meant in the long-term, he said, “it’s going to be a faster move towards one payer.”

“Increasingly, people think that in 10 years you’re going to have 75% of the health-care costs paid by the federal government,” he said."

Corporate Power (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 3 months ago | (#47163595)

It is pretty obvious the current US lead trade agreements are nothing more than vain attempt to lock in the corporate power obtained through propaganda as news and the corruption of democracy, when they took over the fourth estate and turned it into tool of corruption after Ronny Raygun killed the fairness doctrine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org] basically legalising lies in the news. After growing exposure of the corruption on the internet, the corporate psychopaths are desperate to keep the power they have gained and that is now slipping away from them and they a looking to be facing justice for the countless crimes they have committed in every imaginable area of human economic interaction and politics.

Sure, if the idea is to overturn laws (1)

davecb (6526) | about 3 months ago | (#47163611)

It's an excellent reason to lie, if the lies will help remove legal protections against the deal's sponsors. Dr Evil would strongly approve!

I see youve never bought american before. (5, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 months ago | (#47163635)

Culturally, from what i can gather, its become acceptible in America to lie in order to sell damned near anything. Our breakfast cereals tout everything from brain vitamins to anti-cancer properties and our fruit juices insist theyre some kind of godlike elixer of everything from bone health to limitless endurance. Now technically we're supposed to have regulatory agencies to police this sort of action, but american regulatory agencies are double-booked with mandates to simultaneously promote and police their industry. Theyre as useful as wheels on a fish, and at best they affirm product recalls due to life-threatening contamination.

If youve never tried to buy a car in america, its largely the same. theres no concern for your budget or real money as it pertains to your specific earnings. The entire event is predicated with an understanding that you as a customer will finance your purchase, so there isnt much to stop a sale aside from gas prices. youll be sold on christlike reliability and power, and fuel economy where applicable. Big questions like maintenance costs and carbon footprint are avoided.

so when a trade deal comes down the pipe and it sounds too good to be true, take it from us (it is.) We were sold NAFTA and in turn we lost our manufacturing to south america. We were told goods and services would be cheaper to produce, and in a perverse sort of way they were. WalMart peddled sweatshop clothing and chinese plastic trinkets at rock-bottom prices to a middle class that now basically had no alternative but to concede to their purchase now that they had to take a job at a call center for a fraction of what they made at their old workplace. Countries like Viet Nam and Nicaragua which historically resisted our "free trade" came around to our idea of the marketplace once sponsored rebel groups like the Contra razed their hospitals and blew up their schools for daring to vote a candidate that didnt embrace capitalism.

what we call trade is pretty laughable. American cars are made in mexico and china, and we ardently prop the automotive industry with bailouts we quixotically insist will create or maintain jobs without realizing the goal of our trade policy is to extinguish the costliest element of our commerce, the american worker. when we say EU trade agreement we mean to target your poorest countries to assemble wiring harnesses for slave labor. We mean to flood your markets with corn and other commodities that will render your farmers bankrupt, just as we have in Mexico. We want you to use dangerous chemical processes because former east block countries with socialized medicine and laughable environmental standards amounts to very little concern for when we poison an entire city and leave So heed this warning:

we as a nation have left no stone unturned in our relentless quest to crush the world in poverty, desolation, and ruin under the sunny phrase 'free trade.' We wish to render you wholly dependent upon American goods, be they healthy or not, because it makes our next war that much easier to secure your consent to participate.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (2, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47163763)

If youve never tried to buy a car in america, its largely the same. theres no concern for your budget or real money as it pertains to your specific earnings. The entire event is predicated with an understanding that you as a customer will finance your purchase, so there isnt much to stop a sale aside from gas prices. youll be sold on christlike reliability and power, and fuel economy where applicable. Big questions like maintenance costs and carbon footprint are avoided.

Here's a useful clue: buying a car isn't about the dealer knowing your budget or personal finances, it's about YOU knowing your budget and personal finances.

If you take care of the "can I actually afford this?" part, then the dealer is not in any position to screw you on cost.

Ditto, reliability, power, fuel economy, maintenance cost, carbon footprint. YOU do your research (yes, there are sources for this information that are NOT car dealers or manufacturers), and then make your decision about what's important to you, rather than standing stupidly by while a car dealer tells you what you want.

Note that this general rule applies to everything in life that you might want to buy - the seller is NOT in the business of thinking of YOUR best interests, he's thinking of HIS best interests. Do a little research, make a few key decisions (like an upper limit on what you're willing to pay for something), and then STICK TO IT, rather than letting yourself be conned by the enemy....

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 3 months ago | (#47164251)

Seriously, why do people think that they're going to buy a car and the sales guy isn't going to try and, you know, sell them a car? It's one thing when companies actively lie about their products, like claiming a car would get 30mpg when it's rated at 10mpg, but their job is to sell you a fucking car. They're going to spin that 10mpg number to seem insignificant, and they aren't going to give a shit about your personal finances, because that's your problem, not theirs. I'd only be concerned if car companies were outright lying on their specification sheet for the car, or if dealers lied about the price and handed you paperwork with a higher than negotiated price in the hope that you didn't notice it before signing.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165579)

If you take care of the "can I actually afford this?" part, then the dealer is not in any position to screw you on cost.

Ditto, reliability, power, fuel economy, maintenance cost, carbon footprint. YOU do your research (yes, there are sources for this information that are NOT car dealers or manufacturers), and then make your decision about what's important to you, rather than standing stupidly by while a car dealer tells you what you want.

Note that this general rule applies to everything in life that you might want to buy - the seller is NOT in the business of thinking of YOUR best interests, he's thinking of HIS best interests. Do a little research, make a few key decisions (like an upper limit on what you're willing to pay for something), and then STICK TO IT, rather than letting yourself be conned by the enemy....

It will surely come up on /. one or two articles from now, so I will mention - THIS is why all countries spy on each other.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47166433)

Sure, but lying crosses the line. Markets don't work when the seller is free to lie. Imagine the seller's outrage if we apply the freedom to lie evenly. I didn't say DOLLARS, so here's your 20,000 pesos, thanks for the car! I might have been exaggerating when I said I would make the payment EVERY month.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47167653)

SO, how is the seller lying to you? The contract says what it says, and you're allowed to (and insane if you don't) read it before you sign it. You can even take it to a lawyer for his opinion.

And if the seller insists that you sign now or lose the deal, stand up and say "thank you for your time" and walk out.

Note, by the by, that just because auto dealers offer financing, there is absolutely NO requirement that you finance your car through them. Talk to your bank before you ever go shopping for a car. Talk to several credit companies - you might get a better deal at one or another of them, especially if they know that you're talking to their competition.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47167871)

It's usually a matter of the MPG being wildly imaginary, along with the reliability, cost of ownership, etc. Often when they speak of the warranty, it's a long list of half-truths.

If the car is used, it gets much much worse in some places.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164039)

So I see you've never traveled. I've been all over the world. No where have I ever gone that the advice "buyer beware" hasn't been applicable. There may be truth in labeling laws, but they're no more strict than what you get in the US. I think it was only a week ago I read an article saying that almost no car currently sold in the EU could meet the fuel efficiency ratings given to them, with some of them being off by as much as 20%.

And you don't want to know the hell my Spanish friend has to deal with on anything with her car in Spain. You'd almost think they were as bad, if not worse than the Americans.

One constant I've found in all places is human nature. If you allow them, they'll screw you as hard as they can get away with. And they'll do it all while smiling to your face and pretending to be your best friend ever.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165443)

Acceptable?

Among sales people, among certain conservatives, the ability to lie, and to lie skillfully, is considered a desirable and laudable TALENT. Good liars are well-rewarded for their ability to lie. Hell, Republican "strategist" Karl Rove has built an entire very successful career, and political empire on his ability to deceive, misdirect, and misinform. Everybody seems to hate him, and his nickname among his compatriots was "Turd Blossom". But he has been placed in some of the highest positions of authority, and has been very well paid. He only fell from grace when, during the 2012 election, he was found to be buying-in to his own bullshit, and exposed as a delusional fraud, live, on national TV. Yet, he's still sitting pretty.

I really think that Hunter S Thompson said it best, in 1972:
"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (1)

Greystripe (1985692) | about 3 months ago | (#47167917)

Man you have drunk so much Kool-Aid you will be busting holes in walls soon. I see you seem to think this is something that is especially true about conservatives and Republicans. Meanwhile the rest of us know that politicians of any stripe in every nation are all liars who are lauded for their ability to lie. Just remember you can keep your current doctor, you can keep your current plan, and if you really want you can keep on lying to yourself. Don't expect to be believed when you spew it however.

Re:I see youve never bought american before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47177723)

we lost our manufacturing to south america

We're can't nature preserve North America if we don't get rid of the industry! What the hell are you thinking?

De Gucht (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163645)

big surprise, De Gucht is a lobbyist lying sack of shit, one of the biggest proponents of ACTA / CETA.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-12-128_en.htm

quote: "This means that ACTA will not change anything in the European Union, but will matter for the European Union."

Implementation IS the value. (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | about 3 months ago | (#47163647)

"If the best-case outcome is just 0.03% extra growth per year, is TAFTA/TTIP worth the massive upheavals it will require to both US and EU regulatory systems to achieve that?"
0.03% is essentially the cost to implement the massive upheaval in the regulatory systems I bet.

Re:Implementation IS the value. (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 3 months ago | (#47163727)

That and the lobbyists: if there were fewer of these agreements in negotiation there would be less work for them. Not all GDP increases are actually useful. In the Netherlands we had an exceptionally soft winter; the GDP decreased because less natural gas was sold.

Re:Implementation IS the value. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 3 months ago | (#47163743)

Yup. It is a zero sum game. Therefore the trade agreements will make absolutely no overall difference. If there is a diff, then it is purely due to the bureaucracy.

Re:Implementation IS the value. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47163795)

Yup. It is a zero sum game. Therefore the trade agreements will make absolutely no overall difference.

Oh, it makes a difference ... just not the one they tell us it will make.

These agreements tend to push more money up into the hands of corporations, and move more jobs away (thereby gutting the economy) and leaving the citizens with nothing.

Basically, they're a sham to make wealthy corporations wealthier, and force the rest of us to be in a downward spiral of wages as everything moves to someplace cheaper to do it.

What they don't do it bring us the prosperity and jobs they claim it will. It's all a big scam, predicated on bullshit economics which keep being proven false.

Re:Implementation IS the value. (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47168069)

in the span of 100 odd years our society went from valuing labor ..

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." (Henry Ford)

To completely disregarding the notion that employees are more than just an input needed to generate shareholder value:

"Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco 'it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder.'"

Fantastic.

This is easy... (2)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47163697)

They didn't say what kind of jobs. It's government jobs, obviously.

Rule of thumb (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47163707)

When large corporate lobbyists and their politicians talk about the economy, simply substitute the word "profit" for "jobs" to get a more honest version of what they're saying.

Our joint endeavor is part of our overall agenda for growth and jobs to both sides of the Atlantic by boosting trade and investment.

Our joint endeavor is part of our overall agenda for growth and profits to both sides of the Atlantic by boosting trade and investment.

I think it was Noam Chomsky who pointed this out.

Anyway I'm all in favor of completely free trade between the EU and the US. Why the hell do we even need an agreement? That's like asking for horrible amounts of irrelevant big corporate crap to seep in and do damage to all sorts of areas of the economy. Just open the borders, remove the tolls and unnecessary government checks, and then we'll sort out the kinks after they happen, if they happen.

Re:Rule of thumb (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47163785)

Anyway I'm all in favor of completely free trade between the EU and the US. Why the hell do we even need an agreement?

Because under current laws in both the US and EU, there are barriers to entry of goods?

Re:Rule of thumb (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47163915)

Anyway I'm all in favor of completely free trade between the EU and the US. Why the hell do we even need an agreement?

Because under current laws in both the US and EU, there are barriers to entry of goods?

I don't know about the US, but the EU has a highly complex and detailed system of tariffs on goods entering the EU.

Re:Rule of thumb (3, Informative)

green1 (322787) | about 3 months ago | (#47163835)

They need the agreements so that they can hash out how to allow trade for large multi-national corporations, while forbidding it to all private individuals, because allowing individuals to import things without barriers would lead to anarchy... or something like that.... For example, In Canada our auto manufacturers can produce their cars anywhere in the world and ship them in to the country, due to various free trade agreements they can often do this without any tariffs getting in their way. However as a consumer it is illegal for me to buy a car in a different country and import it myself. (with some small exceptions for cars from the USA, however even then the auto manufacturers write the list of which cars are allowed to be imported)
We have similar rules for many different industries, automotive is just one of the most obvious ones. Remember, "Free" trade is never the goal of any of these agreements, increased regulation for consumers, coupled with job movement to lower cost jurisdictions, combined with fewer trade barriers for multi-national corporations is what you can expect every single time.

Re:Rule of thumb (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 months ago | (#47164299)

I'd rather not, as to encourage the US's attitudes towards worker protection or food safety would be disastrous.

Re:Rule of thumb (1)

JRV31 (2962911) | about 3 months ago | (#47164687)

When large corporate lobbyists and their politicians talk about the economy, simply substitute the word "profit" for "jobs" to get a more honest version of what they're saying.

And beware of anything with the word "free" in it.

How it should be done (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 3 months ago | (#47163723)

Is there any reason that reducing pointless barriers to trade has to occur in one giant all-or-nothing pact, instead of lots of little treaties over a period of years that don't depend on each other?

I'm all for the notion of free trade in theory, but the problem with treaties like these (and the EU in general, and the US Federal government, etc) is that their notion of "free trade" tends to simply mean "trade under the rules of whatever is biggest" rather than what the term mentally implies, i.e. people trading without lots of red tape getting in their way.

Given the absolute and total weakness of EU "leadership" when it comes to demands by the USA, I suspect any trade deal reached between the EU and USA would simply amount to adjusting EU law to match whatever Congress already came up with regardless of whether it makes sense or not. So this seems like a good incentive to not go for it, for Europeans. Unfortunately both America and EU increasingly tend to enforce their laws internationally, regardless of jurisdiction, so in the end I'm not sure it really matters much anyway: in a globalised world with lots of trade between rich countries you end up with a horrific hodge podge of conflicting laws and regulations, with companies trying to comply with all of them and ultimately putting their hope on lax enforcement to be able to remain in business. I don't see much of a way to solve this, short of a sea change in the level of government intervention in trade people tolerate.

Re:How it should be done (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 3 months ago | (#47165225)

Is there any reason that reducing pointless barriers to trade has to occur in one giant all-or-nothing pact, instead of lots of little treaties over a period of years that don't depend on each other?

Because lots of small packs could actually make trading harder. The big issue is not tariff items (taxes charged on imports) but non-tariff items.

Consumer safety regulations are a big one. American and European auto safety regulations are about equivalent but have some minor variations. But there are enough minor differences that the car has to be redesigned and retested effectively blocking trade. Sometimes it is just bureaucracy but other times it is just a thin veil for protectionism. For example, the US barely exports any rice to Japan because it does not meet their quality standards – which are basically set up to excluded any rice not grown in Japan.

The idea is to reduce the number of differences between countries. Small treaties might lower the differences in regulations between countries but could increase the number of permutations and complexity of differences.

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/30/... [npr.org]

News at 11 (0)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 3 months ago | (#47163767)

Random groupings of people say bad things about major international deal without any supporting evidence.

Seriously, the best they can do is "The language used is vague"? How about doing their own analysis instead of just pointing out that the documents aren't perfect?

Re:News at 11 (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about 3 months ago | (#47163825)

Random groupings of people say bad things about major international deal without any supporting evidence.

Seriously, the best they can do is "The language used is vague"? How about doing their own analysis instead of just pointing out that the documents aren't perfect?

I think the point is that the language is intentionally vague to conceal the meaning from an uncritical public. If critics of the agreements say they contain language that "could allow" certain bad things to happen, proponents can smear-them as "conspiracy theorists" to discount their point of view, and a pliant, lapdog corporate media will lap it up, eagerly.

Re:News at 11 (0)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 3 months ago | (#47164407)

Intentional vagueness or not, what they're doing here is spreading FUD. The passages they quote aren't even particularly vague, they just seem to not grasp the concept of margins of error.

General opinion is that free trade is good. If they want to dispute that, they'd better have some hard data to back it up, instead of sensationalist bullshit about possible conspiracies.

Re: News at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47166675)

Whose general opinion? Free trade has been an absolute unmitigated disaster area, and drinking the right wing corporate kool aid seems to have colored your perception of the economic record of 30-plus years of devastation of non-rich people's wages and wealth.

Re:News at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164173)

For international treaties of this scope the documents should damn well be as near perfect as is humanly possible, as there will be huge incentives to find and exploit any loopholes left by vague language.

Re:News at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165287)

There are TONS of data supporting the conclusions that these "trade" agreements are harmful for everyone involved except the international corporations.
One of the most obvious is the yielding of national/state/municipal sovereignty to a tribunal of unelected officials. That's in the words of the actual agreements, what kind of supporting evidence do you need?

There is just about zero evidence of any benefit of these "trade" agreements except to the bottom line of international corporations.

Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47163827)

Frankly, I don't trust the "all for yourself" form of capitalism that seems to infest America. Not that Europe is perfect by any means but the governments seem to work more for the people and less for corporations. Every new law in the US seems to be 1) A kneejerk reaction to some external event 2) A carefully manipulated and corporate sponsored bill which will save them money in some way - even if it's to the detriment of the wider community.

Time to water the tree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164093)

The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted." - Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787

Time to water the tree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164413)

Forgive one for being "old", but before ACTA/SOPA, before the Sub-Prime-Crisis, before Occupy-Wall-Street there was an issue of "death of liberty", if I may....

To "Water the tree of liberty", you need water. Before the above, the issue plagueing the American DEMOCRAZY was that of "proportional representation", politically speaking. The figures were 2% of American taxpayers are Jewish, but Washington DC operates under a grossly misrepresented influence. Then again, maybe I`m just OLD, but back then, when someone was talking about "Occupied", they were talking the Occupied West Bank and Gaza

Let`s not detract from the article, assessing American and European Free-Trade. Is it not right that the EU invite Palestine to be a member, subsequently enjoy the free-trade with the USA?

"Break down that wall!" Ghost of the USS Liberty

Fuck Nafta and Taft

Job creation (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 months ago | (#47164211)

I think they're also counting the jobs required to implement the new regulations.
The amount of jobs required to implement it will be huge, on both continents.

Re:Job creation (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47164485)

Really? RTFA: "The analysis explicitly says that it will not lead to more jobs since the models are full employment models. It may lead to somewhat higher wages, but it is not a way to employ the unemployed. Furthermore, the discussion notes that in the transition, some workers may end up unemployed as the economies adjust to the new rules."

Massive upheavals are good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164521)

is TAFTA/TTIP worth the massive upheavals it will require to both US and EU regulatory systems to achieve that?

Yes. The flaw in the assumption embedded in that argument is that the regulatory systems were and are OK. Or that citizens have been able to effectively participate in them until now. They weren't, they aren't, and they haven't.

Because this time the Federal Register is online (federalregister.gov) and hence readable (and searchable) by the average citizen (no, spending days on end at the local law library chancing you might get access to a weeks old version isn't the same). Because now, Regulations.gov allows citizens to more easily see what everyone else is saying, allowing them to adopt more persuasive and effective arguments. Because now, overall, there is a more efficient, more democratic regulatory adoption procedure. (The only downside is that the EU regulatory procedure is still as opaque as ever. But at least English-speaking EU citizens can participate in US government decision-making.)

Because, admit it, you don't even know what I'm talking about. Well, this would be your chance to redeem yourself.

Free Trade / Wealth of Nations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164937)

I recommend a quick scan of a little book called "The Wealth of Nations" by a man called Adam Smith, the father of an obscure and little known (to judge by this comment section) discipline called Economics. As only 238 years have passed since it was published, it is perfectly reasonable that so many apparently literate people feel able to express an opinion on Free Trade without first giving themselves the benefit of his world-changing research (now available as a free e-book, or in various summaries) to update their economic views.

If you were to read this or any related work, you would quickly find that trade barriers function mostly to the benefit of narrow and special interests, and to the detriment of the wider public. A quick glance at, for example, EU tariffs on apples and garlic, or American ones on clothing (pure cotton versus polyester blends) will demonstrate beautifully that what was true in 1776 remains so today - some producers are able to persuade or induce our dear leaders (who may, in their defence, also not have read The Wealth of Nations, and so be merely incompetent, rather than corrupt) to pass laws for their particular benefit - the very definition of privilege.

The point of free trade is not some dubious forecasts about the specifics of its effect on GDP or jobs figures (I would love to see the error bars on those!) but its obvious and unquestioned benefit - that you can buy or sell as you see fit, rather than trade with the people your political "masters" think best deserve your business.

Don't bother writing Karel De Gucht (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47164943)

He already was deep in the ACTA touters' pockets, and TTIP is no different.

TTIP must not be allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165179)

In the long term, the TTIP is the premise for the absorption and take-over of the European markets and economy. Europe must reject the agreement and stop the wholesale buy-outs of their major corporations, or they will slowly lose control over their own markets and economy.

Of course it's worth it! (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 3 months ago | (#47165915)

FTA:

If the best-case outcome is just 0.03% extra growth per year, is TAFTA/TTIP worth the massive upheavals it will require to both US and EU regulatory systems to achieve that?"

Those "massive upheavals" are precisely what makes the effort worthwile in the minds of the legislators and negotiators responsible. Just think of how much opportunity there is here for consultants, contractors, family members, and other corporate and governmental parasites and hangers-on. No, it's not going to boost the overall economy - probably quite the opposite. And no, it's not going to result in jobs where they're needed - it's going to result in extra money and bigger power bases for people who already have too big a slice of the pie. Make no mistake, it's the globalization of nepotism - only in this case, the 'family' is 'the 0.1%' It probably isn't that way by design, (though maybe it is), but you can bet the people who are and will be involved see the opportunity and are happy about it.

TTIP an economic NATO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47169731)

According to Hillary Clinton TTIP is 'an economic NATO'.
http://www.clingendael.nl/publication/geopolitics-ttip
Look at the graph at the end of the PDF. Fear of losing primacy is the driving factor.
Albright, Hillary Clinton and the democrats in general adhere to:
The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy & Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997) by ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI
That's why there is next to no difference between GOP Neocons and Dems with respect to foreign policy.
With respect to the Ukraine. That's not about democracy or human rights. Ever heard the US trying to promote that in Saudi Arabia?
Ukraine is gambit to revive NATO, to drive a wedge between EU and Russia, and drive the EU to a US led military-economic US/EU power block with NATO the military component and TTIP to cement the economic aspect.

Yes. (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about 3 months ago | (#47170757)

Free trade deals are about more than moving goods. They're about strengthening social and political bonds, harmonizing regulations, and the democratization of international relations.

There is a hard and fast rule in political economy - (trade == democracy) -> peace. Trade and democracy are directly and inextricably related, which has caused serious consternation among those seeking to quantify the interactions as there is no known variable that operates on only one. Anything increasing trade increases democracy and vice-versa. The second half of the rule is based on the fact that modern democracies NEVER go to war against each-other.

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