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marmar

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Welcome to the Tipping Point


Welcome to the Tipping Point

Monday, 13 April 2015 09:59
By Quincy Saul, Truthout | Op-Ed


"Ah, this dear old planet! All is clear now. We know ourselves; we now know of what we are capable." —Albert Camus, The Fall


It is the worst of times and the best of times; the end of the world and the beginning of the world. The tipping points between creation and extinction, between apocalypse and revelation, are everywhere you look. Like the fabled kingdom of God, the tipping points are inside you and all around you.

It's easy to get lost in the information age, and a vague foreboding sense of doom sprinkled with distractions isn't the best path to peace and justice through the turbulent times ahead. Edward Gibbon, writing about the decline and fall of empire, wrote that, "The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators." So we must learn to navigate. A survey of the tipping points that define our precarious calendars and geographies may help - to understand our world, to understand ourselves and to guide both into better harbors.

As Camus said, all is clear now - we know we are capable of both dreadful and beautiful deeds. We need only to look at the world, and then look into the mirror, and decide if we will fulfill or betray the mission history has put before us; we who live at the tipping points; we who are the tipping points.

All around you: They each have their unique dynamics, but they are all converging. They have distinct and diverse causes and effects, but they all feed into each other. What they have in common is that they are all happening now, and that tomorrow may be too late.

Ocean acidification: If it's difficult to picture the parts-per-million carbon content of the atmosphere, and how it will affect life on earth, instead picture acid being poured into the ocean - about 22 million tons per day. With or without climate change, the accelerating acidification of the oceans is one of the most deadly things happening on the planet, with the most far-reaching consequences. The tipping points come at different times for different species - but at a certain point, organisms can no longer survive. The first big tipping point is the level of acidity at which coral reefs can no longer form, and studies indicate we are hovering at this tipping point today. The death of coral reefs will be quickly followed by the collapse of all the oceanic food chains. The second and even more apocalyptic tipping point will arrive when even plankton - also threatened by warming water - can't survive. Some predict that if business as usual continues, plankton extinction could arrive by the end of the century. Then the lungs of the planet will collapse, and the last words of Eric Garner will speak for the whole human race. ................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30121-welcome-to-the-tipping-point




Thom Hartmann: BUSTED! What corporations are hiding about TPP





Published on Mar 31, 2015

TJ Helmstetter, Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) joins Thom Hartmann. The Trans Pacific Partnership is being negotiated behind closed doors - so We the People are forced to rely on leaks for any information on the so-called free trade deal. Well - there's been another leak - and it's a real doozy. What does it say about the role corporations are playing in the deal?



Summit of the Americas: U.S. Agenda is to Push TPP to Split Latin American Integration





Published on Apr 10, 2015

Miguel Tinker Salas say the new U.S. agenda is an old one, a free trade agreement; this time it’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership, many call NAFTA on steroids



Wall Street Bonuses: A Bottom-Up Take (graphic)





http://toomuchonline.org/



David Sirota: Companies’ Pro-Equality Rhetoric Belied by Their Campaign Donations


from truthdig:


by David Sirota


Last week, corporate America appeared to take a rare stand on principle. After Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a law permitting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, various companies expressed outrage and tried to position themselves as bold defenders of social justice.

There was just one little problem: Many of the same companies have been donating to the public officials who have long opposed the effort to outlaw such discrimination. That campaign cash has flowed to those politicians as they have very publicly led the fight against LGBT rights.

Pence provides a perfect example. During his congressional career, he led the GOP’s fight against a federal proposal to extend civil rights protections to LGBT people, arguing that they are not “entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” He also supported a ban on same-sex marriage, voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and argued that legislation to prevent companies from discriminating against gay and lesbian employees would “wage war on the free exercise of religion in the workplace.”

......(snip)......

Take, for instance, Angie’s List. The company’s top executive, William Oesterle, was one of nine CEOs who signed an open letter to Pence demanding he revise the “religious freedom” legislation so that it does not allow discrimination. Oesterle also threatened to cancel plans for a $40 million expansion in Indianapolis if Indiana legislators did not change the law. “It’s very disappointing to us that it passed and was signed by the governor,” Oesterle said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Yet, Pence’s record didn’t stop Oesterle from giving $150,000 to his 2012 gubernatorial campaign. ...............(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/companies_pro-equality_rhetoric_belied_by_their_campaign_donations_20150412




Halt Fast Track legislation, TPP


Halt Fast Track legislation, TPP
John Huber and Grania Marcus 4:33 p.m. EDT April 11, 2015


Everyone knows about ISIS, the Islamic State that has produced horrific videos of beheadings and executions in the Middle East, and nearly everyone agrees that ISIS is extremely dangerous.

ISDS? You've never heard of it? That's no surprise, because multinational corporations and the politicians that benefit from their political donations don't want you to know about it.

ISDS stands for Investor State Dispute Settlement, a process for settling disputes between signatories to trade/investor agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership, which has been negotiated in secret for the past five years. This innocuous sounding title hides an odious reality. (See "U.S. Trade Policy Facing a U Turn," Democrat and Chronicle, April 9.)

The countries that sign on to the TPP, including the United States, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam and Singapore, will agree to the dramatic expansion of the power of multinational corporations to use closed-door challenges that supersede domestic laws. The judges in these tribunals are corporate lawyers who are not subject to normal conflict-of-interest rules. ...................(more)

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/guest-column/2015/04/11/halt-fast-track-legislation-tpp/25638893/




162-0





CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If a message can be sent on the second week of April, the Tigers sent one to the Indians.

No.1, they didn't win the last four AL Central titles by accident.

No.2, they're not all that impressed with Sports Illustrated picking the Indians to win the World Series.

The Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the Indians with a 8-5 victory on Sunday at Progressive Field. If a team can be beaten in all phases of the game, consider the Indians beaten in all phases of the game. ................(more)

http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2015/04/cleveland_indians_detroit_tige_43.html




5 Worst Things About the Techno-Libertarians Solidifying Their Grasp on Our Economy and Culture


5 Worst Things About the Techno-Libertarians Solidifying Their Grasp on Our Economy and Culture
There's a lot wrong with the tech industry, and it's increasingly impacting ordinary Americans.

By Richard Eskow / AlterNet
April 1, 2015


Nowadays the Silicon Valley is either celebrated as a hotbed of creativity or condemned as a cauldron of greed and wealth inequality.

While there are certainly some talented and even idealistic people in the Valley, there's also an excess of shallow libertarianism, from people who have enriched themselves with government-created technology who then decide they're being held back by government. That's shortsighted and vain. And yes, there are serious problems with sexism and age discrimination – problems which manifest themselves with some ugly behavior.

But such ethical problems aren't solely, or even primarily, the product of individual character defects. They're the result of self-reinforcing cultural norms at work. Anthropologists and sociologists could do worse than study the tech culture of the Silicon Valley. It would be important work, in fact, because this insular culture is having a deep and lasting impact on our economy and society.

Here, to star them off, are five socially destructive aspects of Silicon Valley culture:

1. Tech products become the byproducts of a money-making scheme rather than an end unto themselves.

It's almost inevitable when big money enters the picture: Smart or talented people are drawn to a field for the chance to get rich, not necessarily because it's where their greatest talents or dreams lie. The same thing has happened to fields as diverse as film, pop music, and the financial sector. There's nothing wrong with getting rich, but it should be the byproduct of a happy marriage between talent and inspiration.

But here's how it works instead: The goal of entrepreneurs and innovators was once summed up in the cliched phrase, “build a better mousetrap.” But for many Silicon Valley products and services, including services like Uber and AirBnB, the goal now is to build a product which can be hyped into a multi-billion-dollar valuation – preferably by winning as much market share as possible, and then using that market position to engage in the kinds of practices usually reserved for monopolies and monopsonies (markets in which there is only one buyer). This process is described in more detail here. ..............(more)

http://www.alternet.org/culture/5-worst-things-about-techno-libertarians-solidifying-their-grasp-our-economy-and-culture




Hillary Clinton's Wall Street dilemma


New York (CNN) Wall Street is more than ready for Hillary Clinton.

The former secretary of state confirmed on Sunday what the political world has expected for months -- eight years after her first failed White House bid, Clinton will once again seek the Democratic Party's nomination for president.

"I'm hitting the road to earn your vote, because it's your time," Clinton said in a video released Sunday afternoon officially kicking off her campaign. "And I hope you'll join me on this journey."

As Clinton sets off onto the campaign trail to reintroduce herself to voters and court donors across the country, Wall Street elites are ready to roll out the red carpet. But while the enthusiastic support from the industry will be a financial boon for Clinton's newly launched campaign, it will also pose a delicate balancing act when it comes to appeasing a vocal wing of her party that is antagonistic toward the banking sector.

.....(snip).....

Robert Wolf, the former CEO of UBS Americas and a close Obama associate who will back Clinton in 2016, said there's an "incredible amount of enthusiasm" for her campaign to get off the ground.

"We know the secretary from the years of being first lady to the senator to the secretary, so we have decades of working relationship with her," Wolf, who now runs a boutique consulting firm headquartered in Manhattan, told CNN. "I don't think it's surprising that the former senator of New York is close to the finance community." ...............(more)

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/12/politics/hillary-clinton-2016-wall-street/




John Nichols: Hillary Clinton’s Soft Populism Is Not Enough


from the Nation:



by John Nichols


As she struggled to keep her 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination alive, Hillary Clinton took a turn toward economic populism. It helped; after a series of setbacks in early caucus and primary states, Clinton’s abandonment of frontrunner caution and embrace of “I'm in this race to fight for you” rhetoric secured her big wins in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Ultimately, she gained more votes than Barack Obama and came reasonably close to wrestling the nomination from him. If Clinton had run from the start as a populist, there is no telling what might have happened. But the important thing to remember is that Clinton did not turn up the volume until she felt she had no other choice—and by then it was too late.

Now, as she launches a new bid for her party’s nomination, Clinton is starting with populist talk. In a slick announcement video released Sunday she gripes that "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top."

"Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion," says the former First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State, on the various platforms employed for the carefully coordinated social media launch of her long-anticipated candidacy.

Clinton sounded the same themes in somewhat more detail in a freshly-released epilogue to her book, Hard Choices. Reflecting on the birth of her granddaughter, she writes, “I'm more convinced than ever that our future in the 21st century depends on our ability to ensure that a child born in the hills of Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Rio Grande Valley grows up with the same shot at success that Charlotte will.”

.......(snip).......

Activist pressure is essential, and it may move Clinton some. But a real race for the nomination, as opposed to a coronation, is the best guarantee that the party will produce a sufficiently populist nominee to strike the chords that will inspire voters. If Clinton is not up to the task, then Democrats had better find an alternative. If Clinton recognizes that she must not merely note the crisis but address it—recognizing the concerns about her record and answering them with economic agenda that makes real the populist promise—then she will have the right message not just for a nomination fight but for a November fight that will require a lot more than platitudes. ..............(more)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/204041/hillary-clintons-soft-populism-not-enough#




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