Moyers on Deal Tonight!
"I'd ignore a lot of people"

Stinky fruit and real internationalism

Ever smelt a durian fruit? It's the world's most pungent fruit. That's what came to mind reading today's Times:

Leon E. Panetta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, said he had been concerned, once the Democrats took control of Congress, that “an awful lot of blood in the water” would prevent the parties from coming to terms on “low-hanging fruit” like immigration and trade....

The change in November has made it easier for Mr. Bush to pursue his trade agenda and his long-cherished goal of immigration overhaul. In the trade deal, the administration’s unlikely partner was Representative Charles B. Rangel, the tough-talking Democrat from Harlem. The White House acceded to his demands for child labor and environmental protections in several pending trade pacts

It's not clear to me how a Deathstar Deal that the entire Democratic base opposes and that includes labor provisions that business groups themselves say are non-binding is anything worth celebrating, and it seems downright off to characterize these as "low-hanging fruit." Sen. Byron Dorgan's (D-N.D.) hime in:

after six years of being virtually ignored by the administration, many Democrats remain wary. Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, complained on Friday that the Bush White House had “never been very interested in anything except the way they wanted to do business.” Mr. Dorgan said he was not impressed with the fact, given the change of party power, that they are talking. “That gives credit for low expectations,” he  said.

In related news, The Times reports on forward motion in the world of international solidarity - and its coming from the Teamsters on their first visit to China, while business does it's best/worst to undermine people everywhere:

For years, American unions refused to have any dealings with China’s government-controlled union because it is not independent.

But now, American union leaders say that encouraging union leaders here may actually raise standards in China and around the world, thereby making American jobs more competitive.

“I think a dialogue with them is very constructive,” Mr. Hoffa said. “You can’t ignore a union that claims to have 100 million workers.”...

The visit comes as  China’s only official union is pressing multinational corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s to allow unions in their Chinese factories and stores.

Though long regarded as friendly toward management, the government-controlled union is starting to flex its muscle and is also helping to draft a new labor law that some American corporations are opposing on the grounds that it is unfair to corporations operating here and gives too much power to workers.

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