TPP and Big Pharma

The last time I wrote about TPP we were just voting on the
fast tracking of this deal. This time the document is ready in draft and not
yet released but has been read in part by some groups in the media. I
originally felt that if this partnership was going to happen with or without us
that it might be preferable to opt in, but I always had reservations about the
strong protections for Big Pharma that were being leaked.
Now that the document is almost ready for review it appears
that not much was changed in relation to the protections written into this
agreement for the pharmaceutical industry. What began as an attempt to protect
intellectual property such as patented drugs, trademarked music, written
materials, patented inventions, and original artwork has, because of the laser-like
focus of the pharmaceutical companies been molded into a form that most
benefits Big Pharma and which makes it very likely that there will be large
increases in drug prices for the rest of us.
Here is what a leading article in Politico had to say:

A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give
U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from
cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S.
law.

POLITICO has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as
it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam. While
U.S. trade officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, they
downplayed its importance, emphasizing that the terms of the deal are likely to
change significantly as the talks enter their final stages. Those terms are
still secret, but the public will get to see them once the twelve TPP nations
reach a final agreement and President Obama seeks congressional approval.

Still, the draft chapter will provide ammunition for critics who have warned
that TPP’s protections for pharmaceutical companies could dump trillions of
dollars of additional health care costs on patients, businesses and governments
around the Pacific Rim. The highly technical 90-page document, cluttered with
objections from other TPP nations, shows that U.S. negotiators have fought
aggressively and, at least until Guam, successfully on behalf of Big Pharma.

The draft text includes provisions that could make it extremely tough for
generics to challenge brand-name pharmaceuticals abroad. Those provisions could
also help block copycats from selling cheaper versions of the expensive
cutting-edge drugs known as “biologics” inside the U.S., restricting treatment
for American patients while jacking up Medicare and Medicaid costs for American
taxpayers.
“There’s very little distance between what Pharma wants and what the U.S. is
demanding,” said Rohit Malpini, director of policy for Doctors Without Borders.

“It would be a dramatic departure from U.S. law, and it
would put a real crimp in the ability of less expensive drugs to get to
market,” said K.J. Hertz, a lobbyist for AARP. “People are going to look at
this very closely in Congress.”
Another article in the International Business Times online
adds a few more insights into how the trade agreement might affect people’s
health care if this section of the agreement goes forward as the ‘leaked’ draft
is written.

The Obama administration has lauded the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) as the most progressive trade deal in history. But a recently leaked
chapter of the draft deal, obtained by Politico, reportedly shows a U.S. negotiating team devoted
to protecting pharmaceutical industry profits at the expense of cheaper generic
drugs in the 12 countries affected.

The provisions pushed by American trade representatives in the May version
of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter included measures that would
strengthen patent protections across borders, Politico reports. Known as patent
linkage, these rules prevent a country from approving cheaper generic drugs if
a patent-holder has filed a legal challenge in a member state.

In particular, the pharmaceutical industry has argued that the patent-protection measures of the TPP would
enable companies to continue making multi-billion-dollar investments in new
drugs. PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, has emerged as
one of the top supporters of the TPP and similar deals.

That lobbying has paid off. Patient advocates contend that the U.S.
negotiators have fought primarily for the interests of the drug lobby in TPP
negotiations. In a letter last year, representatives 11 organizations including
the AARP and the Medicare Rights Center argued that the deal “puts too
much emphasis on drug industry priorities, and does not give equal weight to
consumer priorities such as prescription drug affordability, safety, efficacy,
and cost-effectiveness.”

For me these
concessions to Big Pharma companies and the resulting increases in already
almost out-of-reach drug prices would seem to be a deal breaker. If this topic
is not addressed in the final document and fairly drastically revised I would
not recommend that our Congress accept this trade agreement. I do not have a
problem with preventing other nations from producing knock-off generics. We
have seen some of the possible dangers in Chinese toy production which used
lead paint and similar errors would most likely be even worse when the product
is a drug.

Here are two more
articles, with one showing the Australia response to this possible coup for the
pharmaceutical companies:

By Nancy Brisson

TAA/TPA/TPP – Oh My Aching Brain!

The TAA and the TPA or fast track might be fine bills
to pass if cuts to social programs had not been attached, although probably not
because this requires that Congress pass the TPP (and other trade deals in the
future) without amendments. That seems like a dangerous precedent. The TAA is
actually the part of this whole trade agreement business that I am least happy
with.
As for the TPP itself, I can’t help wondering if we
will regret staying out of this trade deal. Can the trade deal happen without
us or are we the prime movers of the TPP? If the deal goes down in flames now
does that mean that the partnership will dissolve or will it toddle merrily
along without us? If the Trans Pacific Partnership carries on and we deal
ourselves out of it will America be disadvantaged in any way?
Since most of the industrial flight has already
happened, how many more jobs do we stand to lose if we sign on to this
agreement? Does anyone know? I am all for the retraining contained in the TAA,
but I don’t want to tap social programs to pay for it.
If Elizabeth Warren is so insistent on adding rules
to the TPP in regard to currency manipulation, we should probably listen. Why
will the TPP only work with TAA attached to it? Why are these two political
instruments considered a package deal? Fast track makes us suspect that the government
is pulling a “fast one” on us. It undermines our trust which is pretty low
right now already.
Without more information, without fewer poison
pills, without some discussion of our position in world trade if we turn down
the agreement, why on earth would the American people support this? There is
lots of folk wisdom on this subject. “Once burned, twice shy.” “Fool me once
shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” (I won’t go on, you get the idea.)
In order for the Democrats to prove they are with
Obama the media implies that we have to agree with every one of his policy
ideas and we all must move in lock step. That’s not the way a Democracy works
and President Obama knows that. I don’t think this is embarrassing for him; I
think it shows the world how a Democracy works.
Deciding how to vote on the TAA (job retraining
provisions), the TPA (fast track), and TPP is complicated because we will be
making a prediction (against common sense) that this agreement will be good for
us in the future based only on our opposing belief that the last several trade
agreements have not benefitted American workers. We don’t seem able to back out
of these agreements if they turn out to be disadvantageous, so no wonder this
is a difficult decision. What do the fortune tellers say? What do the economists
say? Is there any difference in this case between the two groups?
By Nancy Brisson

TPP/Cuts to Medicare/Increased Drug Prices

Trade agreements seem deadly dull to most Americans and we
often feel we have little, if any, control over agreements between giants
actors like nations and corporations. Trade agreements are written in technical
language that is denser than most reading matter and does not exactly appeal to the average reader. Economics is one of the more arcane topics. It seems simple
to anyone who keeps a household budget but we also understand that a national
economy, or, even worse, a global economy happens on an entirely different
plane of complexity.
Even if we could read an agreement like the Trans Pacific
Partnership agreement now being hammered out and soon to come up for a vote
(which we cannot read because it is secret) we would have even less ability to
predict the effects of this agreement on our economy than the people who have
negotiated the agreement (often politicians), and their predictions have almost
as little value as ours.
We may not understand the TPP, or fast track which apparently
has to do with the process for passing the agreement in Congress (without much
Congressional and no public input), but we do understand how much our Congress
people like to attach little surprises to bills that are coming up for a vote.
In this case, if you have been paying attention perhaps you have heard
that Republicans (who seem to be in charge of the nastiest surprises these
days) have tacked $700 million in cuts to Medicare on to the bill for fast
tracking the Trans Pacific trade agreement. The fast track bill is known by the
acronym TAA.
You probably remember that the Sequester mandated cuts to
Medicare for each of the next ten years. We should be screaming bloody murder.
We should at least be writing and phoning our Congress people. Why are
Republicans cutting Medicare just as more and more people will need it? Is it
possibly because wealthy Republicans have decided to wean off any and all who
are dependent on government so that we will stop bothering them to pay taxes?

These cuts will hurt our Medicare care and they will force our
doctors to absorb more cuts when they are already being asked to drastically
cut their fees.
The TPP and fast track also suggest that we will be encountering some new
rules about prescriptions that will raise drug costs, which are already fairly
astronomical. This amendment to this trade agreement also promises to impact
negatively on either the pocket books of American citizens who can still afford
to buy the drugs, or the health care of Americans who cannot afford the costs. Rising drug costs due to this legislation is another matter about which we should write our Congress people.
Admittedly at least one of these sources I will quote for you is a left-leaning
source. I tried to fact check this but have not, so far, received an answer to
my request. But if these are secretive actions being taken on the down low by
Republicans we cannot expect the right wing to give us the scoop which would
explain the dearth of articles from the right on this matter.
I hope that after you are aware of this info you will write or
call your representatives in Congress and tell them either to vote against the
TPP and fast track or to make sure that these “poison pills” are removed from
the bills or documents before they pass.
Medicare cuts in the TPP
The Republican assault on the TAA incurred
the wrath of nationwide health providers who rightly object to the GOP ‘fix’
because it includes a 0.25 percent cut in Medicare payments. According to the
Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare payment cut amounts to $700 million.
The amount, regardless how much, is just another assault on the elderly,
hospitals, physicians, nursing homes and home health and hospice providers who
have already been forced to absorb hundreds-of-billions of dollars in cuts to
the Medicare program in recent years. The latest GOP assault was in 2011 with
the 2 percent cut in Medicare payments as a result of the Republicans’ precious
sequester. The 2 percent cut will continue for eight more years unless
Republicans find it in their black hearts to end the sequester cuts once and
for all.
A group of healthcare providers issued a
letter to legislators on Tuesday signed by the American Hospital Association,
the American Medical Association, the American Health Care Association (skilled
nursing trade group) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.
The letter “urged Congress to strike
this provision from the legislation. Reductions to Medicare payments have real
impacts on patients and providers. Additionally alarming is the use of Medicare
cuts to pay for non-Medicare related legislation, a precedent that we believe
is unwise
.” It is also heartless to include Medicare cuts to an
international trade deal written by corporations, but no-one has ever accused
Republicans of having a heart; or being unafraid to find unrelated reasons to
cut Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, or unemployment benefits in
other legislation.
To make the cost of the trade bill just a
little more painful for Americans besides those that will lose their jobs, the
elderly who will lose out with Medicare cuts, and healthcare providers facing
another .025% cut in Medicare payments, the Republican adornment to the TAA
extension includes damage to struggling families with cuts in the child tax
credit. Republicans could no more explain why cutting the child tax credit is
crucial to ‘fast-tracking’ the TPP than they could cutting Medicare, but it is
safe to say they just love hurting Americans; particularly in advancing the
whims of corporations.
How Trade Agreements
Could Affect Prescription Drug Costs
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is pursuing language
in trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) that could restrict the
ability for the United States and other countries to manage prescription drug
and medical device costs in public programs.  Proposals the USTR has
sought in trade negotiations include:
  • Limiting the authority of
    governments to set payments or reimbursements for prescription drugs in
    their public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.  While it is
    not the intent of the USTR to undermine the Departments of Defense and
    Veterans Affairs’ exiting authority to control prescription drug prices,
    final language in the agreement could be used to attack such
    programs. 
  • Forcing countries to extend
    lengthy patent protections for pharmaceutical drugs.  As long as a
    patent is protected, a generic cannot be sold.  The patent holder is
    the only one allowed to sell a drug and can therefore demand a monopoly
    price for it.  Lengthy patents drive up the cost of prescription drugs.
  • Allowing countries to grant
    twelve years of regulatory exclusivity for the first registered biologic
    medicine.  The US is the only country that allows long periods of
    extra-patent exclusivity to drug manufacturers.  This proposal could
    block the president’s plan to reduce the exclusivity period for biologic
    drugs from twelve years to seven years or preclude restoring previous
    policy in which biologic drugs were not provided a period of increased
    exclusivity.
Establishing
“investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) systems in trade agreements to
allow investors to challenge laws and regulations which they allege will hurt
their profits.  Drug companies could use ISDS to challenge formularies and
preferred drug lists, discounts and rebates and other policies in public
programs that pay drug companies less than the price they demand.
This
is the view from the cheap seats.
By
Nancy Brisson

Poor Obama

Poor Obama! It doesn’t look like he will have much
fun in his last year and a half as our President. He didn’t get to accomplish
many of the things on his agenda in his first six and a half years either, but
at least the Democrats were occasionally on his side. Now he is offering up
policies that even many Democrats have no taste for.
Quite a few Democrats do not support the Trans Pacific
Partnership. I am talking about Congressional Democrats, but also about citizen
Democrats (or civilian Democrats). Unions are often considered bastions of
Democratic Party support for Democratic Presidents. However, the unions do not
support the TPP. 
All too many of us can picture the specter of more and more
American factories and American jobs fleeing America as each trade agreement
passed and took effect. Although we are told that this agreement will improve
the balance of trade for the US we are all having great difficulty accepting
this. This puts Obama, who helped negotiate this agreement, in the tough
position of being at odds with his party. Republicans want to favor the trade
agreement but Obama’s hands are all over it. For Republicans this is the kiss
of death.
Next we have to decide whether to change the Patriot
Act or to keep it as it is. The inclination in Congress (and for many
Americans) is to stop mass collection of domestic phone data. It smacks of the
kind of totalitarian state that George Orwell wrote about in 1984, and could
eventually put an end to our freedom as it has already put an end to our
privacy. We foresee that all that potential for abuse of power could one day
result in actual state control over our speech and our actions. Obama has made
it clear that he wants to leave the phone collection mechanism as it is. Once
again he is at odds with his own party and, of course, predictably and
ironically, with many Republicans.
Obama’s advisers have recommended a number of
changes for our armed forces which would affect their pay or their pay raises
and their benefits in adverse ways. No one likes to cut back on income or benefits
when it involves our soldiers. But Obama favors the suggestions which involve
privatizing pensions (in its favor, more soldiers would get pensions this way) He
has not spoken about the fourteen other recommendations made by his administration.
Still these suggestions are highly unpopular and once again do not suggest that
Obama will get to go out in a blaze of glory.
So, poor Obama, for real! Can’t he at least, by the
grace of God or whoever has power over the universe, find some really “sexy”
issue or program, something we can all see as desirable, so that he can have a
little fun to end a difficult Presidency. Can’t we send him back into private
life with an air of celebration, rather than the same dreary air of someone
being pulled backwards by his long coattails, trudging forward burdened by opposition until he is released,
finally feeling only relief at being back to operating solely under his own
power.

It seems like we could come up with some small, but
significant victory that would cheer up all of America. Sadly, I cannot think
of one thing that would do that trick. Perhaps something will save Obama from these issues that are too esoteric for most of us to truly understand by injecting a policy win we can all get behind, like an infrastructure fund.
By Nancy Brisson

TPP – Yesterday, the Negatives – Today, the Positives

Trade agreements, and in particular the TPP have not
been topics that I have researched in any great detail. But I am an American
citizen and I feel that I really should investigate the topic before deciding
whether to favor the TPP or not. So I will take you along with me into the
surprisingly unanswerable question of whether globalization or trade agreements
or both caused the flight of our factories and the loss of valuable American
jobs.
It seems as difficult to tell if globalization or
trade agreements or both caused manufacturers to leave us in the 80’s and the
90’s as it is to answer that old question of which came first, the chicken or
the egg. The two things were kind of concurrent events which makes it hard to
separate and assign causality. The flight of our factories to nations with
large supplies of workers who were happy to work for very low wages may have
started with just a few companies, experts say, and then snowballed as
companies learned they could not stay in America and compete  with low cost production values and cheap
imports. Most sources I looked at agreed that trade agreements played a role in
factory flight, but were not necessarily advantageous to the nations on the
other side of the agreements either. CAFTA and NAFTA definitely did not prove
efficacious for American and our trade imbalances increased.
Sources make the point, however, that factory flight
has already happened and that most of those manufacturers will not be returning
to the US. Even though there has been some movement in certain sectors (like
textiles) to return to America, machines do most of the work on the factory
floor and factories will probably never again employ Americans in the numbers
they once did. So the TPP is not likely to hurt our manufacturing employment
numbers in the 21st century the way trade agreements added to our
woes in the 20th century.
Some of the most recent articles mention several
positive reasons to make this trade agreement with the Pacific Rim nations (so
far, excluding China). One reason they mention is that we already have very low
tariffs for some of these nations and no tariffs for about half of the twelve nations.
When our factories left our intellectual properties
went with them. Nations sometimes have legal access to technical specifications
and sometimes they steal or hack them. We have not developed an effective
strategy for either keeping our patented information secret, for charging fees
to those who use our patented information, or for prosecuting those who break
our patents. TPP is supposed to address this intellectual sinkhole and allow us
to retain the profits that should accrue to us from our innovations. There was
one article that I found especially cogent. Here are the authors of this very
informative article speaking for themselves:
Opponents of giving President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — the pending trade pact between the United
States and 11 countries in Asia and the Americas — cite the job-killing impacts
of globalization as a prime reason for their objection. The free-trade
agreement would lower tariffs and remove other barriers to imports from member
countries, which opponents fear would create steep competition for U.S. industries
domestically.
Still, we believe
blocking the TPP on fears of globalization would be a mistake.
There are several
reasons to support the TPP despite globalization concerns. First, the TPP —
which seeks to govern exchange of not only traditional goods and services, but
also intellectual property and foreign investment — would promote trade in
knowledge-intensive services in which U.S. companies exert a strong comparative
advantage. Second, killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back
to America. Third, and perhaps most important, although China is not part of
the TPP, enacting the agreement would raise regulatory rules and standards for several of China’s key trading partners. That would pressure China to meet some of
those standards and cease its attempts to game global trade to impede foreign multinational
companies.
Our research indicates that rising import competition
from China accounted for 21 percent of the overall decline in U.S. employment
in manufacturing industries during the 1990s and 2000s. The wave of automation
that replaced middle-class jobs available to workers without a college
education added to those losses. We sympathize with the regions and families
that suffered, but halting TPP would not assist U.S. manufacturing or benefit
U.S. workers. The reality is that the globalization of manufacturing is a fait
accompli. Those manufacturing jobs are not coming back.
But if the TPP has
little downside for the U.S., what’s the upside? Why bother with the deal at
all? The reason is that the TPP is about much more than manufacturing. Most
notably, it promises to liberalize trade in services and in agriculture, sectors in which the United States runs
large trade surpluses, but which the World Trade Organization, despite 20 years
of trying, has failed to pry open internationally.
It also requires
protecting patents against infringement and safeguarding business assets and
revenues against expropriation by foreign governments. To the extent that Obama
succeeds in enshrining these guarantees in the TPP, the agreement would give a
substantial boost to U.S. trade.
Expanding global
trade has remade manufacturing, forcing workers, businesses, and entire regions
to endure often painful adjustments. However, much as we might like to return
to 1970 when manufacturing comprised a quarter of U.S. nonfarm employment, that’s impossible without massive protectionist barriers that would
isolate the U.S. economy and lower U.S. living standards. Blocking the TPP because of justified unhappiness over
manufacturing’s lost glory

would amount to refighting the last trade war — beggaring the future as
retribution for the past. A responsible trade agenda should instead seek to
provide the supporting policy structure – protections for intellectual property
and freedom from confiscatory regulations – that allows U.S. companies to excel
in the sectors where they are strong.
This article had the clearest and most complete
analysis, but the author is obviously for the TPP. I did not find many articles
that are against it given our current economic climate. Here is a list of other
sources I looked at:
If you really want to form your own opinion do some
reading. The truth is that there are times when it is difficult to foresee all
the future effects of current decisions. The big problem that I was left with
after reading these articles is that almost no matter what America did our
trade deficits increased. Perhaps right now it is impossible to reverse our
trade losses and only by helping trade equalize worldwide will we eventually see
the situation improve. I might be starting to favor the TPP, just because it is
a small agreement and most of the damage has already been done, and the
possibility of protecting our intellectual properties is appealing. Elizabeth
Warren has found a rather glaring omission from the agreement which has to do
with protections from the courts which needs to be taken into account, but
perhaps that can be dealt with by an addition to the agreement. People mention
that it will raise the cost of our medications, will affect the internet badly,
and will cause massive genetic modification of food making our food supplies
insecure. These problems also need to be addressed. I have not made my final
decision on this issue and what I think about it has no real import in the
grand scheme of things, but knowing something feels far better than knowing
nothing.

By Nancy Brisson

TPP – Today the Negatives – Tomorrow the Positives

Many of the people who wanted to make a negative point
about the TransPacific Partnership, the newest trade agreement that is being
negotiated among twelve Pacific rim nations, use that favorite instrument of
commentary, the political cartoon. Sarcasm seasoned with a touch of humor is
like that sugar that makes the bitter medicine go down I guess. Sometimes it is
true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but not if you want an in depth
look at an issue. This post will go over some of the negative graphics that are
out there in the universe of the internet. My next post will go over some of
the articles written by people who favor words and will take on the positives
of this trade agreement.
People are very upset about the seeming lack of
transparency given the secrecy of this agreement and they are concerned about
the fast track feature in Congress that tries to work around amendments and
rewrites which would/could drastically slow down any approval and send the twelve
nations back to the drawing board or perhaps lead them to vacate the agreement.

 

 
From hoosieragtoday.com
 
 
From campaigns.350.org
 
 
From foe.org
 
 
From secure3.convio.net
 
 
From flushthetpp,org
 
 
From occupy.com
 
 
From Doctor Without Borders
 
 
Compiled with introduction by Nancy Brisson
 
 

Anticipating Hillary’s Campaign

 
 
Would anyone describe a man as cold and calculating? They
might call a man ruthless but women are not generally described in that way.
Cold and calculating sounds smaller, less powerful than ruthless. It sounds
petty. Would we rather have a President who can be cold and calculating which
suggests that all actions taken are weighed without emotion and with at least
one selfish eye focusing on what is in it for me, or one who is ruthless? We
would hope for a President who is somewhat selfless, who puts the needs of the
nation before his/her own needs. Ruthlessness can be read as simply giving no
quarter to one’s enemies, which the nation’s hawks would find laudable, or it
can be read as rapacious human greed as a filter for any and all decisions,
which no one really sees as laudable. Cold and calculating describes someone
who never behaves from altruistic motives. Calling Hillary cold and calculating
is sexist, but subtle enough that not everyone sees it. If the label sticks it
is deadly; who wants a President who is cold and/or calculating?

I have already written that the Republicans have been
extremely disruptive and have challenged the Obama Presidency at every turn.
They have been the root cause behind a historically contentious six years. They
have basically walked over the legal line on some very key and hard-won rights.
We have a law which says that abortion is legal but Republicans are working to
make abortions impossible to get in some states. What they are doing is against
the law, but they just keep appealing court decisions so that their illegal
activities are always in adjudication. Meanwhile they busily write more rules
that make it impossible for women to access that technically legal abortion.

They know all Americans have the right to vote and yet the GOP
has passed thousands of local laws that make it harder for people to vote and
the courts seem to be upholding these laws. Because of these seditious
activities (and more) I will not be voting for any of the Republicans who have
announced or will be announcing a run for the Presidency regardless of how
moderate they sound as they campaign.

If Hillary runs I do plan to vote for her. I am, however, like
everyone else. I want to know where Hillary Clinton stands on the issues. I
want to hear how she talks about the issues. Since I cannot in all conscience
vote for any Republican it really doesn’t matter to me where Hillary stands on
the issues. She has to come down to the left of folks like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul,
et al.

Still, I would like to know what she thinks about the Trans
Pacific Trade agreement, known as the TPP; will she continue to halt the
Keystone Pipeline because it threatens fresh water resources in Nebraska; where
will she stand on money in politics and Citizen’s United? Exactly how will she
help the middle class? How will she hold her own against the obstructers, the
greedy right wingers who think that they are paying for our benefits and that
they no longer want their tax dollars to go towards these programs. They don’t
want to pay for abortions; they don’t want to pay for Medicaid, or food stamps,
or welfare, or Medicare, or Social Security. I did not know Americans got to
pick and choose which laws their dollars would be used to support. I thought
our tax dollars went into a single fund to be spent on all programs the people
asked Congress to fund. Who knew?

What does Hillary believe is the right size for our
government? How much regulation of Capitalism does she believe is necessary to
protect citizens from unbridled greed?

Has she put together some kind of package to offer the
American people and what is in it?

Does she believe with Obama that diplomacy and negotiation are
the correct ways to approach aggressive nations, or is she more hawkish? It is
clear that her “yes” vote on the Iraq War will follow her, that her opponents
will try to frame it as a deal breaker. However, I remember what Saddam Hussein
was like, so belligerent and bellicose. When George Bush and his loyal henchmen
(or was he the henchman) hammered home  numbers of WMD stockpiles that were supposedly
carefully hidden within the boundaries of Iraq and told us that there were, in
fact, mobile arms factories that could evade our observers, I began to think
that we would have to go into Iraq or Saddam might take us out while we were
busy hunting terrorists. They lied and yet she is to blame. This is a typical
Republican strategy. Blame the opposition for your own sins, do it often, and
do it loudly and hope that it sticks. I don’t have a problem with how Hillary
voted on the Iraq War.

I love peace, though and feel that we must have peace now more
than ever so that we can turn our attention and our dollars to solving pressing
global problems. I also believe that all nations must understand that we will
go to war if we have to.

Food and fresh water will become scarcer and scarcer as the
population grows and grows. If we don’t keep the world on a peacetime footing
and work together to solve survival issues before they actually threaten our
survival we won’t have to imagine the apocalypse, it will arrive.

Hillary needs to address big picture problems that need
solutions more and more desperately every year as solutions to these problems
keep being put off by meaningless distractions and by contentious awakenings
around the world. She will, at the same time, have to address domestic
challenges that are threatening to make the American middle class disappear and
that are destroying hopes of upward mobility.

I wish Hillary did not even have to run against these
hooligans from the GOP. How does anyone take them seriously, but she will be
expected to. I think I may turn off my TV until the election. There is no way
this can be pretty.
 
By Nancy Brisson