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Posts Tagged ‘Trade’

Bowe Bergdahl Pleads Guilty to Desertion

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 24, 2017

In June 2009, US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his Afghan military base.  After spending five years in captivity, the Obama Administration traded five high-value terrorists for Bergdahl’s release.

Arguments were then made for and against the trade, especially given evidence that Bergdahl deserted his base and fellow soldiers.  In addition, some soldiers charged with searching for Bergdahl were wounding and reportedly at least one killed.

CNN reported earlier this month that Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion stating: “I left my observation post on my own,” and “I understand leaving was against the law.”  It is telling to compare the actual facts with the false narrative the Obama Administration created at the time of the trade.  As seen in the video below, Susan Rice then claimed that Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction”.  This was more than a fabrication; it was an outright lie.  It is an example of why the American people no longer trust government.  It is an example of one factor behind the election of Donald Trump.


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House Nixes Obama’s Trade Bill

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 14, 2015

The Wall Street Journal reported on the stunning defeat for President Obama with the US House of Representatives rejecting his request for fast tracking a trade deal.  This deal had the strong backing of the President, as well the Republican leadership in the House.  Obama expended significant capital on getting a positive vote, including a visit to the House Democratic Caucus the morning of the vote, but to no avail.  The final tally for a procedural vote required for passage of the bill showed only 126 in favor and 302 voting against it, including many Democrats.  Even his old buddy Nancy Pelosi voted against the bill.

The fact that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on trade bill might seem odd at first glance.  However, there are significant special-interest groups in favor of the bill, including large business interests.  These special interests have done quite well over the years, irrespective of whether the Democrats or Republicans control the White House.  This is further evidence that Beltway special-interests have no political affiliation.

Free trade in its most basic form is a good for economies, including America’s.  However, the positive effects only occur if all parties to the agreement play by the same rules.  That is not the case with the free trade recent decades.  The current bill backed by Obama and Boehner involves Asian countries including developing one’s such as Vietnam.  While most often disparities between countries focus on currency manipulations and wages, there are more significant impediments to real free trade, including differing regulatory environments.

The United States and many Western countries have added thousands of regulations on businesses and other parts of their societies that significantly increase their relative costs of exports.  Examples of the regulations include those related to climate change, worker safety, health issues, etc.  While in a vacuum it can be argued that these individual regulations are well intended, their affect is to significantly increase production costs in the developed world, including the United States.

Absent an equalization of the regulatory environment, free trade cannot exist without substantially penalizing those that are forced to operate in the overregulated environments.  The large business Interest that currently back the proposed free trade agreement in Asia understand this and use it to their advantage.  Large corporations are typically multinational in structure and can move their production to the least expensive regulatory environments.  Smaller and medium businesses typically do not have the resources required to make this type of move.  As a result, free trade agreements offer advantage to larger corporations and increase their competitiveness compared to smaller firms.  This lessens the chance of competition from startups.  As a result, jobs will move to the lowest cost labor environments, a reality that has been proven in the past 20 years.

So, why are Obama and Boehner so staunchly in favor of a free trade agreement with Asia?  As is often said, follow the money, and in this case the lobbyists.

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Treasury Department Allows Trade with Blacklisted Countries

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 23, 2010

The New York Times today reported on another story of governmental incompetence.  This time an office within the Department of Treasury has been is acting in defiance of the State Department’s trade embargos to roué nations, granting 10,000 special licenses that allowed American companies thwart the embargos.

Using a decade-old law that allows exceptions for agricultural and medical aid to rouge countries, special licenses have been issued to companies allowing them to profit at the expense of American foreign policy.  Exceptions have been granted to Kraft Food, Pepsi and some large banks.  Lobbyist, including the powerful farm lobby, have convinced the bureaucrats that cigarettes, gum, Louisiana hot sauce, weight-loss remedies, body-building supplements and sports rehabilitation equipment are forms of humanitarian aid.

When questioned about these exemptions and the conflicting U.S. policies, the Obama administration’s point man on sanctions, Stuart Levey, said that focusing on the exceptions “misses the forest for the trees,” and “no one can doubt that we are serious about this.”   What governmental doubletalk, which was then scuffed at by Stuart Eizenstat, who oversaw sanctions during the Clinton administration who said:  “It’s not a bad thing to grant exceptions if it represents a conscious policy decision to give countries an incentive.  But when you create loopholes like this that you can drive a Mack truck through, you are giving countries something for nothing, and they just laugh in their teeth.  I think there have been abuses.”

The Times added color to this story this governmental incompetence.  Hal Eren, a former senior sanctions adviser at the licensing office, said of the decision allowing Wrigley’s chewing gum to be sold to blacklisted countries” “We debated that one for a month.  Was it food?  Did it have nutritional value?  We concluded it did.”  You got to laugh at the thoughts of over-paid  government knuckleheads debating something so straight-forward for a month.  And these are the same people that President Obama wants to run our healthcare system!

Nearly every day the New York Times reports on another story of governmental incompetence.  This begs the question as to why the Leftist press, including the Times, continues to demand ever more governmental interventions in to our lives.  As Albert Einstein so famously said of insanity; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


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