How Obama treats those with whom he disagrees

Only special interests oppose Obama right?

Take a familiar refrain that Obama made during the health care debate:

"We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs."

Or the financial regulation debate:

"Both bills represent significant improvement on the flawed rules we have in place today, despite the furious efforts of industry lobbyists to shape them to their special interests."


This kind of partisan rhetoric where he refuses to accept the legitimacy of those who argue against, which I think is distressing in a president, and particularly one who paints himself as he did in 2008 and does today as a man who stands above the partisanship and all the pettiness and all the special interests.

He is a politician like all of us, and when he pretends he hovers above the fray like a neutral arbiter, it's grating.

As Time Magazine notes: "What could be more outrageous than the hefty subsidies the U.S. government lavishes on rich American cotton farmers?
How about the hefty subsidies the U.S. government is about to start lavishing on rich Brazilian cotton farmers?" EWG has this: "This week (April 6), US officials struck a deal aimed at staving off Brazilian trade retaliation for subsidies paid to American cotton growers. Brazil had won the right to impose tariffs and lift patent protections on $829 million in U.S. goods in a 2009 World Trade Organization ruling that the cotton subsidies and export credit guarantees violated global trade rules." This is a pretty amazing discussion from the San Francisco Chronicle.

As President Obama slaps his former friends at Goldman Sachs, he might consider removing his other hand from the pockets of his friends down South, deep in the old cotton belt.

Some of the more thoughtful members of Congress have just sent Obama a letter he might consider reading. It wonders why the administration has twisted itself into a special-interest pretzel that is so absurd it makes the jaw drop. See here and here.

To wit: our crusading president is going to send $150 million of your tax dollars to subsidize the Brazilian cotton industry. Why? so that he can continue to spend several billion more of your tax dollars subsidizing U.S. cotton farmers.

This is the Obama administration's idea of how to fix the problem of a WTO finding that the U.S. cotton subsidies are illegal, permitting $800 million in Brazilian sanctions against all manner of U.S. exports, perhaps the ones our dear Chron readers make in Silicon Valley.

Reps. Jeff Flake,R-Az., Ron Kind, D-Wisc., Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Barney Frank, D-Mass. (find the last time Barney Frank and Paul Ryan agreed on anything) have penned a note to the prez suggesting that perhaps the way to fix the problem is to end the U.S. cotton subsidies.


If the administration gets away with this one, shameless takes on a whole new meaning. . . .

This all apparently stems from a case that the US lost last fall before the WTO.

American goods will face an estimated $300 million in annual sanctions as a result of the United States' failure to eliminate illegal subsidies to U.S. cotton growers, the World Trade Organization ruled Monday. . . .



Blogger JFA in Montreal said...

The biggest subsidy the cotton industry got was when it successfully lobbied the gov't to make hemp, a superior fiber, illegal under the pretext that adults were using it to alter their state of mind. The hemp farmers not having an as powerful handle on congress as the cotton people (or alcohol people later on) did, they never succeeded in having those market-killing provision removed. Today, billions of dollars are still spent favoring the cotton lobby through "war on drugs", preventing a vastly superior, robust, versatile, economical and environmentally friendly hemp fiber and byproducts to reach the market efficiently. All of that in the name of protecting a small number of grown-up adults from themselves from smoking a joint.

4/25/2010 12:30 PM  

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