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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Jim McAuley | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chaska Johnson helps to carry a large banner on the way to a protest of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.
Hey, Utah. They’re talking about you ...

The editorialists at Bloomberg View have take note of those Pacific Rim trade talks going on in Salt Lake City. Like the protesters in the street, they disapprove of the secrecy surrounding the process.

Conduct trade talks in the open — Bloomberg View

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"Negotiators meeting this week to put the final touches on what would be the biggest free-trade deal in U.S. history must be wondering if their American hosts are helping or hurting the cause.

"The talks concern the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement linking several economies — those of the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and eight other Pacific Rim countries — whose output exceeds $28 trillion. Along with an even bigger trade deal under way with the European Union, the TPP would create tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S. and help spur growth in the global economy. Not incidentally, it could also provide a much-needed salve to a wounded White House.

"But both pacts could founder for some of the same reasons President Barack Obama’s health-care law is in trouble: the administration’s penchant for secrecy and a reluctance to consult lawmakers. The president risks losing both deals unless members of Congress are allowed to help define their contents. ..."

And, while not mentioning Utah’s senators by name, the piece Sen. Robert Menendez wrote for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service seeks support for a treaty that our Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch helped to kill the last time it was up for ratification.

U.S. can correct error on disability treaty — Sen. Robert Menendez | McClatchy-Tribune News Service

"The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international treaty rooted in fundamental American values, traditions and history. It exports basic human rights, dignities, freedoms and rights the disabilities community enjoys here in the United States to countries across the globe.

"... Nearly one year ago, when the U.S. Senate voted to ratify the treaty, attacks were manufactured by opponents against the treaty lacking basis in facts. A vocal minority sounded like a large impassioned movement offering up red herrings in attacking the treaty.

"The critiques were disingenuous, but effective in scaring away some supporters. Fear trumped facts that day, and the treaty requiring two-thirds’ majority for passage in the U.S. Senate failed by five votes. ..."

Also:

GOP concocts horror stories to sabotage Obamacare — Dana Milbank | The Washington Post

"House Republican leaders could not have been more blatant in their attempts to frighten Americans if they had emerged from their weekly meeting wearing hockey masks and carrying chainsaws. ..."

We weren’t innocent in 1963. But we were young — Leonard Pitts Jr. | The Miami Herald

"... Anyone who was 40 years old the day John Kennedy died had already lived through global economic collapse, factories silenced, smokestacks stilled, bankers selling apples on street corners. She had seen the agricultural heartland dry up and blow away in towering black clouds of dust, the former tenants dispossessed and forced to flee. She had seen war on a scale that beggars the imagination, mass murder in numbers that blaspheme God and a nuclear sunrise over Japan. Just the year before, she had seen the world teeter on the brink of another nuclear catastrophe.

"We were not innocent.

"And yet, something did change when Kennedy’s motorcade executed that hairpin turn onto Elm Street and Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger of that mail order carbine. After that moment, something was different, something was lost — and it has haunted America ever since. ..."

Twisted brothers, and sister — Maureen Dowd | The New York Times

"... my conservative siblings never would have quarreled with me in public. And, besides, as my sister once said, she knew I’d be the one holding her hand at the end, not W.

"So it’s painful to watch the Cheney clan tear itself apart over politics — one of three titanically screwed-up political sibling relationships playing out now. ..."

The enemy of my enemy is Iran — Thomas L. Friedman | The New York Times



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