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Gender: Male
Hometown: Venice, California
Current location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Member since: Fri Jul 2, 2004, 04:55 PM
Number of posts: 13,447

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The Hightower Lowdown - The Trans Pacific Partnership

January 2015, Volume 17, Number 1
Written by Jim Hightower

During the past six years, the officials and trade specialists of the 12 countries have huddled in 24 rounds of intense, deeply secret negotiations, and now they're ready to spring their scheme on the unsuspecting public. This year--possibly in March--Obama will hold a flashy press conference, launch a major PR campaign, and begin arm-twisting and horse-trading to try winning congressional ratification of the TPP coup.

I have no clue why he is doing this to us, but I do know that we must defeat his raw deal of a trade bill. And we can, in large part because its contents are butt-ugly--but we have a job ahead of us to make sure that the American people see those contents. The danger posed by TPP's package of corporate favors can be summed up in a line from Bruce King, the former governor of New Mexico. He was a good guy, but he was given to mangling metaphors and goofing up literary references. One day, a couple of staffers urged him to support a particular bill, but Bruce thought it sounded pretty dicey, so he backed away, saying: "I don't know, boys--I'm afraid we're about to open a big box of Pandoras."

Goofy, yet well-put! Let's peek at a few of the Pandoras in the TPP box:


See that Pandora's Box at the link above...but do not miss this lowdown!

Starting with the WTO and NAFTA, and drawing the money line through to the TPP, Hightower exposes the ongoing corporate coup d'etat, and absolutely goes ballistic on the Clintons, the Bushes, AND Obama for "stealthfully negotiated international trade deals during the past two-plus decades that have fabricated, piece by piece, what now amounts to a privatized world government. It's a secretive, autocratic, plutocratic, bureaucratic government of, by, and for multinational corporations."

Elizabeth Warren Stands Up: Antonio Weiss Goes Down

Warren’s grounds for objecting to Weiss were straightforward: his experience was no fit for the requirements of his proposed Treasury role. On top of that, he had been involved in and therefore profited from acquisitions called inversions that Treasury opposes because they reduce the taxes paid by the acquirer, which uses the acquired company to move its headquarters to a lower-tax jurisdiction.

Today (1/12/15) Weiss withdrew as a candidate for the Treasury position...


Having someone with that background as a well placed insider made it abundantly clear how serious the Administration was about cleaning up crisis-related abuses. Having Antonio Weiss, even in a lesser role at Treasury, will, as it did with Lee Sachs, inhibit any investigation into areas that relate to the work he did at Lazard. That’s a feature, not a bug. Having Antonio Weiss in Treasury in any capacity sends a powerful signal that Obama remains deeply committed to advancing the pet needs of major financial firms.


3rd way "Dems" ask us whether America is ready for Economic Populism, but that question is a red herring. America has ALWAYS been populist, and populism is the foundation of the Bill of Rights. The real question is whether the Party Leadership can be made to embrace that populism, and if not, can they be made to get the hell outta the way?

Despite the fact that Weiss will still have a role, he will NOT have any teeth. This is a solid victory for representative government. Whether the party is ready or not, Warren and Sanders are setting the agenda by force of personality and perseverance, and strengthening our populist foundation, one plank at a time.

REQUEST: I propose each group have a "Host Hotline"

or some other named feature, where group members can contact the group hosts as a collective. All incoming messages to the Host Hotline can be viewed by all of the hosts for that group, and be responded to by any/all of that group's hosts. Most importantly, the response from any host will be seen by all of the hosts for that group.

This will allow group hosts to present a unified message, and give group founders the ability to ensure a group's integrity.


Come Together (Joe Cocker from "Across the Universe")

this is what I think of when I think of Joe Cocker (RIP) ...

Obama's Core Supporters - Can You Make the Case for TPP?

I don't see a single progressive voice in favor of TPP, except for that of our President.

It must be confusion on my part, so I'd love to hear our most dedicated Obama supporters make the case - Tell us the good that you see in the TPP.

Populist Sense from Carl Sagan

"If we are not able to ask skeptical questions to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we are up for grabs for the next charlatan--political or religious--who comes ambling along.

“It’s a thing that Jefferson laid great stress on. It wasn’t enough he said to enshrine some rights in a constitution or a bill of rights, the people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism and their education otherwise we don’t run the government, the government runs us."

The "Name our Populist Movement Poll" Results!

First, here are the results:
NOTE: as there was no single choice that gained a pure majority of votes, there will be a runoff.

The Roosevelt Party - 42%

The Democratic Wing - 19%

The Populist Progressive Party - 10%

The Citizen's Reform Caucus - 5%

The Progressive Caucus - 10%

The Social Democrats - 2%

The Populist Reform Group - 3%

Second, I have to be honest -- I had some problems with the original poll:

1. The original poll was setup without the full approval of the Host Group
2. The existing name of the Group was not offered as an Option till the voting was already done
3. The OP heavily promoted a favorite and may have inadvertantly biased the poll.
4. The poll selection tended to consolidate a specific voter preference under one option, and diffused any opposing preference over several very similar options.
5. A hard deadline was the wrong approach - IMO, there was no need to force a quick decision

That being said the rest of the Hosts (including me) allowed to the poll to stand, so now we have to act on the results.

Third - here are some ideas on those results:

• Since we are a group seeking Reform, the idea of "Reform" should be a part of any name we choose.

• "Roosevelt Party" was most popular, but also most controversial. Still, we should honor the Roosevelt Family as Populist icons.

• Few people liked the "Party" tag. If we get the IDEA right behind the name, then "Wing," "Caucus," "Coalition," etc. matters less.

• "Democratic Wing" and "Social Democrats" both tip the hat to the fact that we are the Democratic Party. We should honor the ideals of our Democratic Party heritage.

• The remaining 4 choices were variations of our Group name. Yes we want reforms, but we want specific reforms. Populist and progressive -- a meeting of two ideals. Our name should reflect both of those ideals
Finally, based on the above, I propose we vote on a runoff of those ideas, not of those names.
This time the poll will stay open without hard deadline, the only limit being inactivity. When the poll goes a week without a vote, I'll lock it.


Organize your Blackout Black Friday "Hands Up - Don't Shop" protest here:

Find a list of existing protests here:

See an example of a peaceful (but uncomfortable!) protest here:

Bernie Sanders on Saving the Middle Class

From October, but worth another view

Vegetarian fast food restaurant preference:

I have an opportunity to get involved in a vegetarian fast food startup, and need a little market research for our menu. Please take my simple poll:
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