America Set To Torpedo Trade Talks

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by michaello, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. michaello macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Guardian Unlimited, Sept. 14th, 2003 -

    "Fears are growing that the United States could effectively walk away from crucial trade talks in the Mexican resort of Cancun aimed at solving the deepening economic and social crisis afflicting billions of the world's poorest people."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/wto/article/0,2763,1041883,00.html
     
  2. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #2
    Sorta sad when we end up becoming just like the Soviet Union.
     
  3. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #3
    Can anybody tell me of one pending international agreement this administration is for?
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #4

    sfx: crickets
    cut to: image of tumbleweed, cross screen right to screen left
     
  5. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #5
    LOL, I'm still waiting?
     
  6. michaello thread starter macrumors newbie

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    It seems they are for ridding the world of International Agreements, actually.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    I've been reading some about this, off and on in recent articles. The crux of this conference is in this part of the article:

    "Trade Ministers from 146 countries are poised to receive a draft text this morning of an agreement on agricultural subsidies and investment policies. They will have just 90 minutes to respond before negotiators refine a final draft.

    It is understood that the European Union has yet to make any significant concessions on agriculture, although these are expected to come later today. The EU is putting pressure on the Americans to conclude a deal on cotton which will see the Bush administration drop its subsidies to farmers."

    Farm subsidies and agriculture policies have been a PITA since FDR's era and "parity" in farm prices. ("Parity" is a price of some 80% or so of what a "good market" averaged over time would have allowed a farmer to receive. The U.S. government buys at parity or pays the cash difference between parity and market.) Subsidies rose from some $4 billion to some $40 billion during the 1980s, and what is it now? Around $90 billion, or is it higher? The 1980s jump resulted from the days of Sec/Ag Earl Butz and his "Get big or get out." view of agribusiness. Farmers borrowed money to buy more land; prices fell; they went broke and Willie Nelson began his FarmAid concerts. (Sez sumpn for following federal advice.) Increases of the last ten or twelve years have continued this vote-buying process.

    France, particularly, among the EU countries has a stronger support system for its farmers than do we or other EU countries. It's thus intriguing to see the expectation of "significant concessions" from the EU.

    As near as I can tell, certain of the farm subsidies allow the U.S. government to buy crops at a "parity" price, and then dump them on the world markets at prices below the reasonable-profit prices of other countries. Cotton is mentioned in this case.

    'Rat
     
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    The largest part of the EU budget is for ag subsidies and as 'Rat said, France subsidizes its farmers the most. I'm all for ensuring a local supply of food, I do not want to see us having to rely on another country for the majority of our commestibles. The problem with the US is that our farmers are so heavily subsidized that they are able to undercut Mali on cotton prices and Mexico on pork. That is pretty sad when such low-cost countries are unable to compete on the world market. It's time for the US to only subsidize domestic necessities and let what is sold on the world market be unsubsidized. How that would work i don't know but it's time for the US, the EU and Japan to get real.
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #9
    Agricultural subsidies will never be eliminated or gotten "right." They are too omnipresent, and too politically important internally for any country to give them up. The best that can be hoped for is a sort of endless, running negotiation that doesn't break out into a major trade war.
     
  10. michaello thread starter macrumors newbie

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    I can't see why farmers would support this guy. All he seems to be doing is trying to put them out of business and consolidate the farming among large corporations - corporations who are above the law, and don't have to answer to environmental rules and regulations.

    Has anyone read the section in Franken's book about the pork farmers?

    Most of the independent, local pig farms have been put out of business by huge factories that deal with too many pigs. Resulting in the waste being pumped into these huge pools that are the size of two football fields put together and the fumes affect the air for many miles around and seep into the soil, causing serious environmental problems for neighbors and future generations of farmers.

    I don't know if anyone's had the misfortune of driving by one of these plants. I've driven by a few; the most memorable one was in Texas just north of Juarez, Mexico. I almost passed out - the stench was indescribable.

    Bush made it very easy for these local farmers to be put out of business and for the large factories to be exempt from dealing with the environmental problems caused by the waste pools. Local farms are very rare in the States now. At least in the northeast, most of the larger local farms have been sold to housing developers. It's tragic.

    I wonder why there aren't any pig farms with football field-sized pools of steaming waste near Crawford, Texas ... ?
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    i recall a news story from a few years ago. there was one or more of such pools in north carolina (iirc) which got flooded from a hurricane, making the floodwaters toxic for a huge area.
     
  12. michaello thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Yeah. It's dangerous stuff.

    Franken describes what happened when an underground spring got the best of one of the lined pools. There was a geyser of crap shooting hundreds of feet into the air.

    Imagine the pig crap meeting:

    "Sir, if say we raise a hundred thousand pigs ... What are we going to do with the pig crap?"

    "Hmmm ... Pig crap ... Didn't think of that ... Is there any way to prevent the pigs from crapping?"

    "Sir?"

    "Do the pigs have to crap?"

    "Yes, sir. The pigs have to crap."

    "Damn."

    "Yes. It's a problem, sir."

    "Well, screw it. Let's just raise the pigs and deal with all that crap later."

    The local farmers had it all under control - they'd grow corn and feed it to the pigs. Then, they'd use the pig crap for fertilizer. Then, they’d sell the pigs and pay their bills and put their kids through school.

    They had a good system before they were put out of business. Now, they either starve or sell their farmlands to Wallmart.

    Is there a trend here with large corporations going head-first into situations while ignoring the end-plan?
     
  13. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #13
    "Bush made it very easy for these local farmers to be put out of business..."

    Michaello, these things have been around since long before Bush ever got into politics in Texas...

    How does Bush make it easy? How does Congress make it easy? Large businesses have been buying small businesses, or by their economy of scale, driving small businesses out since way, way, back. Samee, samee Wal-Mart. It takes no new legislation...Heck, Tyson Foods was big in the chicken-fatory business in Arkansas long before Clinton became governor.

    And the El Paso has been big in dairy operations for decades. "PIggeries" are fairly new, but the odor has been around for a good while. (There used to be a bunch of dairy opeations along I-10 near the New Mexico border, but SFAIK it was the EPA who moved them over east of El Paso. Less chance of water pollution, being farther from the Rio Grande--and downstream from where the River gets dried up from diversions.)

    'Rat
     
  14. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #14
    The American way:

    Get in
    Get rich
    Get out

    It's been going on for about 100 years now, but appears to be accelerating to an out-of-control rate lately.
     
  15. Pinto macrumors newbie

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    The French farmers are very strong force.

    Any thought of lessening their subsidies will bring them and their tractors out in the street. Dumping excrement all over the place and blockading ports etc.

    They are the most grumpy farmers in the world.
     
  16. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #16
    I wonder if or how their strength relates to the quality of food in France?
     
  17. michaello thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Yeah, I guess you're right, 'Rat.

    But one way Bush made it a little easier was to attempt to exempt these large corporations from many environmental regulations and responsibilities - like he did last week.
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    in '92, i made it out of paris by mere hours, before the roads and rail in/out were shut down by the farmers.

    good thing, too, we were out of money and staying in paris is expensive :)
     
  19. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    michaello, you have no idea how "ranty" I can get on the general subject of environmental regulation. Some areas, we've gone overboard; others, we haven't gone near far enough.

    I could understand the air pollution "rollbacks" on power plants, because we're so marginal on generating capability--and new plants have to meet the more stringent requirements. I don't go along with rollbacks on pig-poop ponds, etc., because of the real dangers of groundwater and waterway pollution.

    "Anything that messes up huntin' and fishin' is bad."

    South Florida lands are covered up with sugar cane plantations, which ain't good for the Everglades--or hunting and fishing. But, the sugar lobby has always been powerful, and so we're paying around double the world price for sugar while Caribbean sugar cane countries can't make much profit...Can't import that evil Cuban sugar, natcherly.

    I'll stop before a frenzy hits. :D

    'Rat
     
  20. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    Hehehehe

    The old Cherokee chief sat in his hut on the reservation, smoking the ceremonial pipe, eyeing the US government officials sent to interview him.

    "Chief Two Eagles" one official began, "you have observed the white man for 90 years. You have observed his wars and his material wealth. You have seen his progress and the damage he has done."

    The chief nodded that this was so.

    The official continued, "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

    The chief stared at the government officials for over a minute, and then calmly replied, "When white men found the land, Indians were running it. No taxes. No debt. Plenty buffalo. Plenty beaver. Women did all the work. Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing, all night making love to women."

    The chief leaned back and smiled, "White man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #21
    :)
     
  22. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Injun heap smart feller.

    Today's Atlanta paper had an article about the demise of the conference. The U.S. delegate alleged the U.S. was in favor of some compromises, but the "intransigence of the EU" was the biggest problem. I don't know about our compromises; no details; but EU intransigence is nothing new on farm subsidies.

    'Rat
     
  23. michaello thread starter macrumors newbie

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    What the hell, go for it. :)

    What were Bush's de-regulations about last week?
     
  24. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    Hehehe... I liked the joke too.

    Any time I have less taxes to pay, more hunting and fishin opportunities, and women to do all the work... ;)
     
  25. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #25
    michaello, the problem with being a retiree is that time gets sorta blurred. No real difference between Saturday and Tuesday except for TV programming. :)

    I think last week's "rollback" was about pig-poop. From what I've read, there are some problems in one of the Carolinas that makes the Tyson Foods chicken-guts problems in Arkansas look miniscule...Tyson probably won't get any more breaks from EPA, since they're known to be Friends of Bill's.

    I'll come up with an under-regulated thing, later. Here's one in the realm of over-regulation. The Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, periodically has to dredge its approach channel across the bay and up into the harbor. They always have a big problem with the USCE and EPA and the Sierra Club because the mud to be dredged has 50% more Cesium than the legal limit. It's very expensive to build the special containment ponds to hold this goop until it dries.

    Sounds good, right? Protects the public health and the wildlife! Ah, you ask--you will ask, won't you?--whence cometh this Cesium? Answer: from the soil of Nueces County, all of which contains Cesium at 150% of the EPA minimum limit. Apparently it is only hazardous when it's moved by man, rather than rainfall. It isn't hazardous to have the city of Corpus Christi sitting atop it, or for farmers to raise crops for consumption by people and livestock--or for it to comprise the bottom mud of Corpus Christi Bay.

    'Rat
     

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