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Dave Johnson
"Dave Johnson is a fantastic grandfather of the blogosphere." -- Mike Stark,

Dave Johnson is a Fellow with Campaign for America's Future and a Senior Fellow with Renew California.

Dave is founder and principal author at Seeing the Forest, and a blogger at Speak Out California. He is a frequent public speaker, talk-radio personality and a leading participant in the progressive blogging community.

Before starting Seeing the Forest, Dave had over 20 years of technology industry experience. Recently he helped co-found Carbon Tracing, Inc., the company developing the desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US. He previously held senior industry positions including CEO and VP of Sales and Marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic, and he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. Send e-mail to Dave. Twitter:

Entries by Dave Johnson

Larry Summers Gets It Right: We Really Need an Infrastructure Decade

(3) Comments | Posted May 20, 2016 | 6:58 PM

Here we are in "Infrastructure Week" and here we are with a new argument for a massive infrastructure investment project worldwide.

Last week Peter Coy wrote at Bloomberg, in "How to Pull the World Economy Out of Its Rut," about economist Larry Summers' argument that we need...

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Clinton Commits: No TPP, Fundamentally Rethink Trade Policies

(6) Comments | Posted May 10, 2016 | 12:36 PM

Going into the West Virginia primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come out in opposition to a "lame duck" vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This takes her beyond her previous statements mildly opposing TPP. Clinton also made a strong statement criticizing our country's trade agreements in general.

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Another Secret 'Trade' Deal Leaks, Shows Corporations Still Control Trade Process

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2016 | 3:59 PM

""There are no red lines which would clearly protect environment and health." - Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace EU

There has been a major leak concerning another "trade" agreement that is currently being negotiated in secret. This time it is the TTIP and it was leaked by Greenpeace....

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Are Fair Trade Policies 'Extreme?' Is Clinton Ready for Trump On Trade?

(2) Comments | Posted April 28, 2016 | 1:46 PM

Is it really "extreme" to think we should have fair trade policies?

The New York Times on Tuesday published a story by Nelson D. Schwartz and Quoctrung Bui, "Where Jobs Are Squeezed by Chinese Trade, Voters Seek Extremes," reporting that,

research to be unveiled this week by...
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Hillary Must Toughen Up On Trade In Case She Is Nominee Against Trump

(223) Comments | Posted April 22, 2016 | 10:54 AM

Yes, much of Donald Trump's message has a white nationalist and anti-woman character to it. But here is a warning: If Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee she had better get tough on trade - and mean it.

One of Donald Trump' main elements of appeal...

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Clinton Should Ask Obama to Withdraw the TPP

(20) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 5:10 PM

Hillary Clinton has a credibility problem when it comes to our country's trade policies and the resulting enormous, humongous trade deficits that measure job loss -- especially with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

But Clinton has a chance to shore up her credibility with Democratic voters on this issue....

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Chamber of Commerce Works to Defeat, Not Implement Its Own Members Preferences

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2016 | 6:19 PM

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims to be "a business federation representing companies, business associations, state and local chambers in the U.S., and American Chambers of Commerce abroad." They claim to be "the voice of" their members. They are supposed to represent their members.

So what does the Chamber do...

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A Corporate/Billionaire Austerity Budget, or a People's Prosperity Budget?

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 1:15 PM

You've heard people ask, "How come they can come up with a couple trillion dollars to invade Iraq, or hundreds of billions for corporate tax cuts, but say we're broke when we need to fix our infrastructure so pipes don't contaminate children with lead poisoning?"

The answer is that...

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Fact-Check This: Arrogance of Elites Helps Drive the Trump Phenomenon

(111) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 10:52 AM

For some time now, most of the people in this country have been under economic pressure. Pay is not going up very much or at all, while living costs keep rising. One recent statistic stands out -- 63 percent of Americans would have difficulty raising $500 to cover an emergency,...

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What's the Problem with Free Trade?

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 11:55 AM

Our country's "free trade" agreements have followed a framework of trading away our democracy and middle-class prosperity in exchange for letting the biggest corporations dominate.

There are those who say any increase in trade is good. But if you close a factory here and lay off the workers, open the...

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"Free Trade": The Elites Are Selling It But The Public Is No Longer Buying

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2016 | 5:48 PM

"Free trade": The elites are selling it but the public is no longer buying it. Look at the support for Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump, especially in light of Sanders' surprise 20-point comeback in this week's Michigan primary. With primaries coming soon in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North...

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Auto Bailout Controversy: 'Gotcha' Politics vs. Building Trust

(133) Comments | Posted March 8, 2016 | 9:31 AM

In Sunday's Democratic presidential debate, just two days before Michigan's primary takes place, Hillary Clinton dropped a 'gotcha' bomb on Bernie Sanders, saying Sanders "was against the auto bailout." (Clinton is also running ads on Michigan radio making the same accusation.) From the transcript of the debate:

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Trump Taps Into Economic Anxiety Resulting From 'Free Trade'

(2) Comments | Posted March 2, 2016 | 9:26 PM

Many people don't "get" Donald Trump's appeal, ascribing it to his racist, xenophobic talk. But there is another factor, a very strong one, and we had best pay attention.

Trump is tapping into an economic anxiety felt by many, many Americans. Our trade policies are at the root of...

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Supreme Obstruction

(79) Comments | Posted March 1, 2016 | 12:05 PM

A Supreme Court justice has died. Normally (and according to the Constitution) the process is that the president nominates a successor, the Senate holds hearings and there is a vote on whether to confirm that nominee. According to the Constitution, that's their job and they took an oath to do...

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The Sanders 'Economic Plan' Controversy

(135) Comments | Posted February 23, 2016 | 6:18 PM

"When you dare to do big things, big results should be expected. The Sanders program is big, and when you run it through a standard model, you get a big result." -- James K. Galbraith

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he wants the American people to join him and...

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Is Bernie Sanders Promising 'Free Stuff' to Buy Votes?

(4) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 5:54 PM

Corporate conservatives have taken notice of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and have started accusing him of "buying votes" by "promising" "free stuff." Is it true?

Here are some examples of what the corporate/billionaire-funded right is saying:

● American Thinker, "Surprise: Bernie Sanders's free stuff will be very expensive for...

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When Government 'Saves Money' and Gets 'Smaller' We All Lose

(40) Comments | Posted February 10, 2016 | 7:35 PM

Many say we should "run government like a business" and "save money" by "cutting spending" and "making government smaller." Does this work? Do We the People really save money by doing these things?

Have you heard the phrase "penny-wise and pound-foolish"? How about "a stitch in time saves nine"? Maybe...

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Is Clinton Bought By Wall Street? There Is A Test For That

(330) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 6:29 PM

Secretary Hillary Clinton has accepted millions in "speaking fees" and campaign contributions from interest groups - most notably Wall Street firms - that she will be in a position to help or hurt as president. She promises that the money will not influence her if she takes office, but voters...

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Sanders Vows to Kill TPP If Elected. Will Clinton?

(40) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 10:15 AM

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) "free-trade" agreement was signed in New Zealand by representatives of the 12 participating countries, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly voiced his opposition and committed to doing what he can to kill the deal if he is elected president.

Rival Hillary Clinton has also stated opposition to the TPP, but will she also vow to kill it if elected?

Sanders Vows To Kill TPP

Saying that TPP follows in the footsteps of failed trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, and Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, Sanders promised to "fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to benefit working families, not just the CEOs of large, multinational corporations."

He said that supporters of these agreements have sold them as creating jobs, but over and over again, they have been proven dead wrong.

President Bill Clinton sold NAFTA in 1993, saying it would create a million American jobs over a five-year period. Instead, NAFTA led to the loss of close to 700,000 jobs.

The conservative Cato Institute said that the trade deal with China would create far more export opportunities for America than the Chinese. Instead, the trade deal with China has led to the loss of 3.2 million jobs, and enormous, humongous and continuing trade deficits with that country.

Since 2001, nearly 60,000 manufacturing plants in this country have been shut down and we have lost over 4.7 million manufacturing jobs. If the workers find new jobs at all, they are usually lower-paying.

Sanders said at the press conference, "Trade is a good thing. But trade has got to be fair. And the TPP is anything but fair."

Senders vowed to kill TPP if elected, saying, "As your president, not only will I make sure that the TPP does not get implemented, I will not send any trade deal to Congress that will make it easier for corporations to outsource American jobs overseas."

Clinton Said She Opposes TPP, But Won't Lobby To Stop It

Secretary Clinton voiced her opposition to the TPP in October, saying, "I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don't believe this agreement has met it."

However, Clinton also stated that she will not lobby against TPP, leaving many to wonder if her statement of opposition, coming just before the first debate, was serious or only for election purposes because of the unpopularity of the agreement. Then Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said in a recent Bloomberg TV interview that he believes Clinton will switch to supporting TPP after the election. Inside Trade (paywall) reported that Donohue said that Clinton has publicly opposed the deal chiefly because Sen. Bernie Sanders opposes it.

So the question is, will Clinton join Sanders in vowing to kill TPP if elected? Or will she change sides and implement it? From December's post," Does Clinton Really Oppose TPP? There Is a Test For That":

Millions of voters, betrayed and cynical, have simply given up on the system. They haven't gotten anything from the system in a long time. They don't vote and they don't believe the things politicians tell them.

Candidate Hillary Clinton might not need those voters to win the nomination and maybe not even to win the election. But if she wants "coattails" to bring in a Democratic House and Senate, be it in 2016 or 2018, she is going to have to earn their trust.

Democratic voters are skeptical of promises. They want to see proof. They want to see action. They want to see changes. Or they will just stay home. And the terrible mess we are in will continue and worsen.

So the gauntlet has been thrown down. Sanders has vowed to kill the TPP if elected. Clinton says she is opposed but has said she will not ask others to vote against it. But the TPP will be terribly destructive of jobs and wages. It will worsen the terrible inequality that is killing the middle class. Will Clinton vow to kill the TPP if elected?


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progress...

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What Do You Mean 'Sanders Might Be Another George McGovern'?

(18) Comments | Posted January 29, 2016 | 4:28 PM

George McGovern was the Democratic nominee against incumbent Richard Nixon in the 1972 election. He lost in a landslide. Just as the events of the 1980s shaped the current economic environment, the 1970s "Nixonian" politics of division shaped the current political environment. Did Democrats learn the right lessons from...

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