Talks to renegotiate the terms of the NAFTA agreement began on a grim note. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke not only of the trade agreement’s benefits, but also of its shortcomings, saying that “for countless Americans, this agreement has failed,” a reference to the hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs that have left the U.S. since the initial agreement was signed more than twenty years ago. For workers, his words may have been encouraging. For U.S. agriculture, however, decisions made at the NAFTA talks have the potential to radically change an industry accounting for more than $130 billion in exports.
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Of course, what Trump means by “America first,” is precisely what the voters understood him to mean—the interest of the broad American public should come before trade deals that serve the interests of other countries and the narrow profit interests of global corporations. However, the NPR propagandists put words in Trump’s mouth and twisted the meaning of the slogan to be “White America Comes First.”
What’s worse, this environment is providing a backdrop for the most destructive people of my lifetime — neoconservatives and neo liberals — to preen around on corporate media as “the voices of reason.” This is one of the most perverse and dangerous side-effects of the current political climate.