The Daily Blog Open Mic – Thursday 11th August 2016

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

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  1. http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/82669776/US-Presidential-election-As-Democratic-party-promotes-unity-divisions-over-TPPA-remain-strong

    US Presidential election: As Democratic party promotes unity, divisions over TPPA remain strong

    A CNN poll found that 68 per cent of Americans do not find Hillary Clinton honest or trustworthy – a mindset that the roll call of speakers at this week’s convention tried to stamp out.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA) remains the major divisive issue among US Democrats as their party convention wrapped up last week in Philadelphia.

    “It is probably the most important issue that is preventing me from supporting Hillary Clinton at this time,” said Yamina Rowland, a Fresno, California, delegate for Bernie Sanders.

    New Zealand has signed up to the multinational trade agreement, which seeks to lower trade barriers to 12 countries including the US and Japan, however concern over costs for medicine and possible legal action against governments has seen opponents march in the streets.

    Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have publicly stated their opposition to the TPPA.

    Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have publicly stated their opposition to the TPPA.

    The Democratic National Convention began amid a divided climate, but made a transition toward party unity with rabble-rousing speeches by party leaders like US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

    For the TPPA to be passed by the Obama administration, it would need to pass a vote in congress by the time the president leaves office in January next year.

    While the Obama administration claims the TPPA would “eliminate over 18,000 taxes various countries put on Made-in-America products,” both Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump have publicly stated their opposition to the deal.

    However, many Democrats remain unconvinced of Clinton’s stance.

    “Hillary has flip-flopped too many times,” said Fay Herold, a 62-year-old retired nurse from Alaska, another delegate for Bernie Sanders. “I think given the opportunity she will re-endorse it.”

    While serving as Secretary of State, Clinton supported the deal.

    During the run-up to the political primary season she changed course, reserving judgment until details – which were decided in private negotiations between participating countries – were publicised.

    Clinton then officially broke with the Obama administration’s stance late last year, stating the deal did not “meet the high bar” she had set.
    It’s this perceived reversal of opinion that had some Democrats at this week’s convention in Philadelphia concerned, and what could prove detrimental to the Clinton campaign.

    This was compounded when Virginia governor and friend of the Clintons, Terry McAuliffe, told Politico on Tuesday he was confident Clinton would support an amended TPPA deal if elected. He later backtracked, saying she “is always gonna stay against TPP.”

    A CNN poll on Monday found that 68 per cent of Americans do not find Clinton honest or trustworthy – a mindset that the roll call of speakers at this week’s convention tried to stamp out.

    “I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life,” said Tim Kaine, Clinton’s vice-presidential pick, in his acceptance speech on Wednesday night.

    Amid the sea of blue “stronger together” signs on the floor, delegates who oppose the deal chanted and waved anti-TPPA signs.

    It’s a deal that divides both Democrats and Republicans; members from both sides of the aisle have expressed discontent with certain provisions in the current deal, including high-ranking Republicans who are needed for it to be brought for a vote.

    The official democratic platform opposes trade agreements – including the TPPA – that prevent governments “from putting in place rules that protect the environment, food safety, or the health of American citizens or others around the world.”

    However, while it uses strong language, the platform falls short of absolutely opposing the deal.

    Last year, Pew Research found that 49 per cent of Americans supported the TPPA.

    Barry Bosworth, a senior fellow in economic studies at Washington-based think-tank, the Brookings Institution, said the fact that both presidential candidates are opposed does not bode well for the future of the TPPA.

    “I think that the supporters have lost contact with the general public and cannot explain why it would be in their interest,” he said.

    “They will need to rebuild support for open trade because the extreme right and extreme left are opposed to further trade agreements.”

    Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware delegate and Hillary Clinton supporter, echoed this sentiment in Philadelphia.

    “I think that there’s a lot of people who equate the very negative impacts of globalisation that have lead to job loss with a negative view of trade agreements, and they’re not necessarily the same thing,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

    For the TPPA to be passed by the Obama administration, it would need to pass a vote in congress by the time the president leaves office in January next year – something Bosworth said is “extremely unlikely.”

    But that doesn’t mean the issue of trade will be sidelined until November, according to Peter Hakim, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think-tank.

    “I think its one of the four issues that’s most prominent on the agenda, no question,” Hakim said. – Stuff

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