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RiverLover

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Clinton Global Initiative

NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Clinton Global Initiative
June 2014

NAFTA promoters in the '90s promised increased U.S. exports and jobs, with shrinking trade deficits. Senior Fellows of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), projected a NAFTA-induced trade surplus with Mexico, in turn, creating 170,000 new U.S. jobs by 1995. Within two years of NAFTA's passage, PIIE prognosticators readjusted their projection of new NAFTA-created jobs downward to "zero." The same group, created by billionaire corporate cheerleader Pete Peterson, is again forecasting increased exports and jobs if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is passed.

Referencing 19 serious pre-NAFTA economic studies projecting zero net job loss if NAFTA were to pass, President Bill Clinton estimated the creation of 200,000 U.S. jobs within two years, and 1 million within five years, based on a projected export boom to Mexico. Twenty years after Clinton signed NAFTA into law, Global Trade Watch reports a 450 percent increase in the U.S. trade deficit, resulting in the export of almost one million jobs, and downward pressure on wages.

...Echoing promises of lowered trade barriers, improved labor conditions and environmental protections made by NAFTA advocates two decades earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Hanoi, Viet Nam in 2012 promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the most far-reaching trade agreement ever, encompassing 12 Pacific Rim countries. Secretary Clinton stated support for free expression online, and pronounced, "Democracy and prosperity go hand-in-hand," even as the backroom dealings of hundreds of corporate lobbyists have engaged in writing the TPP to challenge everything from Net Neutrality to democratic process and state sovereignty. An amplification of NAFTA provisions, leaked segments of the secretive treaty reveal that wholesale powers granted by the TPP to corporations would permit them to sue governments for alleged lost profits in special international tribunals that bypass the U.S. court system, and to advocate overturn of regulatory laws intended to protect people and the environment.

As the Clinton Global Initiative convenes in Denver June 23-25, it brings together some of the same financial hard-hitters who cheerleaded NAFTA into being, and seek to do the same for the TPP. Among them, Robert Rubin, chief economic advisor to the Clinton White House, is listed as a participant in a panel discussion "Exploring what it will take for the U.S. to retain a position of global economic leadership in an increasingly complex world."

Noble Energy, engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production, is co-funder with Anadarko Petroleum of whitewashed pro-fracking ads under the acronym "CRED" (Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development). At the CGI event, Noble's CEO is scheduled to host a discussion of "the ways in which the North American energy revolution is altering the geopolitical, economic, and energy policy landscapes," seeking reexamination of "the traditional social and regulatory frameworks in which energy is produced, consumed and exported," while touting the "low-carbon profile" of natural gas (no doubt minus consideration of externalities of hydrofracking -- the overall costs to taxpayers and the environment)....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-swenson/nafta-the-transpacific-clinton_b_5523327.html

600 corps have seen the TPP in full, along with some unions. Here's what the unions think~

TPP Is Bad News for Workers and Worse News for Women
12/25/14

Around 600 corporations and a few labor unions with stakes in the talks have seen a draft. Except for a few chapters released by WikiLeaks last year, Congress and the public have not.

But here’s what we do know: This so-called partnership is an insult to U.S. workers. And it’s especially bad news for women.

According to Doctors Without Borders, for example, the agreement’s intellectual property clauses could cut off access to generic drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS—who are increasingly women and children.

And the Communications Workers of America union said the pact will make it easier for corporations to outsource majority-female jobs—not only in low-wage workplaces such as call centers, but also higher-wage sectors like human resources.

So it’s no surprise that women in Congress have been leading the opposition to the TPP for some time.

In the House, Democrats Rosa DeLauro and Louise Slaughter pointed out in a forceful Los Angeles Times op-ed that the agreement would force Americans to compete against workers from extremely low-wage countries. It would also, they argued, roll back environmental standards and U.S. laws that protect food and drug safety.

In the Senate, Democrat Elizabeth Warren has expressed worries that the secretive agreement could weaken financial regulations. She opposed the appointment of Michael Froman as the U.S. trade representative—a job that has made him the chief arbiter of the treaty-making process—because he flatly stated his opposition to more transparency in the negotiations.

And there’s another little-known provision.

Under the proposed rules, businesses incorporated in TPP countries—any of them—would be guaranteed equal treatment with U.S. firms when bidding on government contracts.

That means our tax dollars could go to underwriting companies in countries like Brunei, which imprisons unmarried women for getting pregnant and allows the stoning of gays and lesbians....

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1163803-tpp-is-bad-news-for-workers-and-worse-news-for-women/




AFL-CIO, AARP, GPhA, Doctors Without Borders, and Oxfam Letter to Obama on TPP and Access to Medicine

Dear Mr. President: The organizations signing this letter want to express our deep concerns regarding some of the provisions under negotiation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). These provisions could seriously impact access to affordable medicines by delaying generic competition as well as impacting governments’ ability to advance public health policies in the U.S and around the world.

While we have different perspectives and interests, we are united by our shared concerns regarding access to affordable medicines and the need to ensure competition in the pharmaceutical market in the U.S. and abroad....


http://infojustice.org/archives/33702



This is the only legal way for foreign corps to skip regular courts, without proving the courts

incompetent first.

What's worse than anything imo is that while it allows foreigns corps to sue local governments or people, it PROHIBITS local govts or individuals from suing the foreign corps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investor-state_dispute_settlement

Also, no individual or state can initiate a claim against a foreign investor under an investment treaty. This has led to criticisms that investor-state arbitration is not balanced and that it favours the "haves" over the "have nots" by giving foreign investors, especially major companies, access to a special tribunal outside any court.


This ^^^ is what needs be told to the public through msm, but since corps control the media, I'll be pleasantly surprised if they do.

No I'll be shocked.

Cromnibus: The Formula for Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal

Cromnibus: The Formula for Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal

One of the few areas where Republicans and President Obama may find common ground next year is in Fast-Tracking the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement.

And the Cromnibus budget bill shows us the formula that will be used to get it passed, says Dave Johnson, at Campaign for America's Future.

All the poison pills, from the Citibank-written provision to allowing corporations to cut pensions and a big boost to big money in politics, wouldn't have passed if they had been in separate, fully debated bills.

And that's how Fast-Track will get through. It's currently under secret negotiations designed to craft an agreement that favors corporations - even above the laws of sovereign countries. For example, tobacco companies would be able to sue governments - in corporate court - if they attempt to implement anti-smoking initiatives.

Multinational corporations would be able to "protect their future profit potential" by suing cities, counties, states or countries to wipe out existing laws - those specifically designed to protect communities' best interests, but which get in the way of ultimate profits.

Called "NAFTA on Steroids," Obama wants the bill fast-tracked through Congress even before the details are known to its members and the public! That means Congress agrees to an up or down vote - no amendments and no debates.

...Congress had to vote on it right away, or the government would shut down. There was no time for Congress to even read the 1,600-page agreement, let alone fix anything. There certainly was very little time to rally opposition to items in the agreement.

Lessons learned about how to rig a legislative process:

-Control who's at the table. Republican and Senate leaders negotiated the deal, but significantly, House Minority Leader Pelosi was not included.
-Leave little time for analysis. Announced at the last minute, Congress was ready to vote by the time people figured out what was in the 1,600-page bill.
-Make it about the deadline, not substance. The debate was about whether the government would shut down, not whether to vote against the Citibank and other poison provisions.
But special interests served by the deal had time to prepare their push-through strategy in advance.
-Make it all or nothing. The bad provisions couldn't be removed with killing the deal and there was no time to start over.

Big corporations are gearing up right NOW to launch a massive PR campaign when the Trans-Pacific Partnership is ready. They will spend millions to ramp up the pressure on the scale of the "run up"....

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/26063

Another reason she should be our next prez is for renewable energy progress...

Instead of the regression of it like we see now.


Letter from Liz on the pipeline proposed in MA..."But our aim must be to reduce reliance on carbon based fuels, and than means careful consideration of clean energy alternatives as well as other natural gas pipeline alternatives that do not create wholly new infrastructure. For example, upgrading our old, methane- leaking pipes can help provide affordable power for businesses and consumers without threatening our families and our state.

Before we sink more money in gas infrastructure, we have an obligation wherever possible to focus our investments on the clean technologies of the future -- not the dirty fuels of the past -- and to minimize the environmental impact of all our energy infrastructure projects. We can do better -- and we should."
http://www.berkshireeagle.com/columnists/ci_26322123/sen-elizabeth-warren-we-can-do-better-than


Also,
Elizabeth Warren Comes Down Hard Against Global Warming, Separates Herself From Hillary Clinton On Climate Change

On Friday, December 20th, Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren finally separated herself clearly from former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regarding the issue of climate change and global warming. Here is the story:

TransCanada Corporation wants to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry oil from Alberta Canada's tar sands to two refineries owned by Koch Industries near the Texas Gulf Coast, for export to Europe; and Hillary Clinton has helped to make that happen, but Elizabeth Warren has now taken the opposite side....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/elizabeth-warren-comes-do_b_4483753.html


And unfortunately, this would be used ag her by the rethugs in their "jobs vs the environment" crusade. But this is what they would use ag any Democrat running. And luckily her views on fracking aren't as extreme as mine, because if she wanted no fracking like me, she'd lose in a landslide. And that genie is already out of the bag anyways. We frack, but we could make it safer & that is what she is pushing for...

Warren wants to focus more on developing renewable energy in preparation for a shift from the fossil fuels she sees at the root of the problem.

"I believe we need to get serious about climate change, and we can start by ending the subsidies to big oil companies and investing in clean energy," she said. "Right now, we're losing out on these investments to other countries."

Warren sees the Cape Wind offshore wind project as a step toward that shift to renewable power. She says the 130-turbine project planned for Nantucket Sound, which aims to be the nation's first offshore wind farm, will provide both clean energy and good jobs.

Brown says he supports wind power, but Cape Wind is planned for the wrong location. He says Nantucket Sound is a national treasure and compared the Cape Wind project to building windmills in the Grand Canyon.

Warren's focus on developing renewable power drives opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport heavy tar-sands crude oil from Canada to Texas' Gulf Coast refineries.

"We should be making investments to grow the clean energy economy, not continuing to support dirty fuel," she said, dismissing claims the project would be a major job creator or drive down gas prices.

Brown counters that the pipeline will, in fact, create thousands of jobs and help suppress gas prices.

He's also enthusiastic about fracking, a technique that's recovered large reserves of natural gas by pumping volumes of water, plus sand and chemicals, deep underground to break shale apart and free the gas. Brown says it can be done safely and help achieve energy independence.

Warren, though, believes fracking poses possible health and environmental risks, particularly to the water supply. Fracking, she says, should be subjected to federal safe drinking water laws.


http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/10/sen_scott_brown_elizabeth_warr_1.html

Common sense & smart politics.


The New Populist Movement: Organizing to Take Back America.

The New Populist Movement: Organizing to Take Back America.
Mar 2014

The new progressive populist movement is rising up in the United States. Inspired by an expansive vision of greater economic opportunity for all Americans, this new movement is also fueled by anger over politicians' broken promises. After decades of recurring economic crisis, which now seems systemic and permanent, millions of Americans have come to realize that much of our democratic system is now owned by a moneyed elite that use their power to resist real change and to manipulate the economy for their own financial gain.

Even the mass media know something big is going on. At the end of November, a Washington Post headline announced, "More liberal, populist movement emerging ahead of 2016 elections." And the New York Times, in a September article, reporting on the new progressive insurgency, cited the excitement generated by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the new populist mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio. These and other media reports have been based on important new populist victories that represent the visible tip of a very large iceberg:

Low-wage workers and their allies have filled the streets of America's major cities, demanding a living wage and the right to bargain for wages and benefits. Their basic demand, echoed now by political leaders, is that full-time work should pay enough to keep a family out of poverty.

The cry of "break up the big banks" is now heard from protests at bank shareholder meetings to the halls of Congress. Many of the groups who worked to pass the Dodd-Frank bill have joined with housing advocates and others to demand Wall Street prosecutions - and real bank reform championed by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Warren.

Lawrence Summers, President Obama's top choice for Chair of the Federal Reserve, was stopped from getting that important job by a coalition of civic activists, including women and financial reform groups. Their favorite, Janet Yellen, was appointed instead.

The national debate on the future or Social Security has been flipped - from "Stop cutting benefits" to "Expand Social Security." Activists got Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin to introduce a bill with Sen. Sherrod Brown to expand benefits. Sen. Warren helped achieve critical mass. Conservative "Third Way" operatives attacked, but actual Third Way Members of Congress denounced their own group - and several actually embraced Social Security expansion. And after grassroots pressure, President Obama withdrew his plan to cut Social Security benefits...

Political reporters have tended to frame the New Populism as either a challenge to President Obama - or as an agenda and constituency for whoever might run against Hillary Clinton. But hard experience has taught us we need to build an independent force that can fight the big corporate interests and shape a positive agenda for all politicians who claim be for progressive change.

To be clear, this new movement is still coming together, most visible politically in the grassroots campaigns to raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-hickey/the-new-populist-movement_b_4899347.html


Very good article. It goes on to list the 12 big elements of the emerging New Populist agenda:

1. Revive Sustainable Economic Growth, Creating Jobs for All.

2. Invest in America's Infrastructure and in New Jobs for the 21st Century.

3. Make Work Pay - and Fight to Reduce Inequality in America.

4. If the Rising American Electorate Succeeds, America Succeeds.

5. Guarantee Access to High Quality Public Education for All.

6. Strengthen and Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

7. Make the Rich and Corporations Pay Their Fair Share.

8. Stop Bad Trade Deals, and Balance Trade Based on Global Labor Rights.

9. Reform the Financial System to Safely Serve the Productive Economy.

10. Invest in Energy Technologies that Drive a Sustainable Economy.

11. Reduce the Military Budget and Invest at Home.

12. Strengthen Democracy.

Pragmatism

"Pragmatism" has brought us monopolies in almost every industry that crush the entrepreneurial hopes of the little guy along with giving him/her/us higher costs with no competition & a government so overrun with corporations and large banks that congressmen let them write the laws to govern themselves. Its killed organized labor and brought us organized wealth. Its tattered the social safety net & harms our land, air, & water every second of every day.

You can paint it any pretty word you like & it can't hide the stench of BS.

Believe me I understand. Never again do I want to be fooled like in '08.

I have to be brief here, but for a quick rundown~

On the TPP:

Elizabeth Warren: Obama Trade Deal Could Undermine Wall Street Reform

Warren raised the issue in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, which was also signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The correspondence highlighted a broadening rift between President Barack Obama and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party over economic policy, less than a week after Warren and Obama squared off over a budget deal that provided government subsidies for risky derivatives trading.

"We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises," the letter reads. "With millions of families still struggling to recover from the last financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed, we cannot afford a trade deal that undermines the government's ability to protect the American economy."

...Warren, Baldwin and Markey are particularly concerned with a process called "investor-state dispute settlement," which grants foreign corporations the political power to challenge the laws and regulations of a government before an international tribunal. This nongovernmental court has the power to levy trade sanctions against offending nations. The investor-state dispute settlement regimen differs from those used in World Trade Organization treaties, which allow only sovereign governments to bring trade challenges.

"We believe that the TPP should not include an investor-state dispute settlement process," the letter reads, warning that doing so "would expose a broad array of critical American financial regulations to challenge by many additional foreign companies."


Investor-state challenges were rare before the new millennium, but have become increasingly popular tools for corporations to use when challenging regulations they object to. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, for instance, companies including Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical and Eli Lilly have attempted to overrule Canadian regulations on offshore oil drilling, fracking, pesticides, drug patents and other issues....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/18/elizabeth-warren-trade-deal_n_6350312.html


On Medicare:

“These are American values,” Warren said, “and these are the values we are willing to fight for. … Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement. … We believe in science and that means that we have a responsibility to protect the earth. … We believe no one should work full time and still live in poverty. That means raising the minimum wage. And we will fight for it …

“We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt. And we are willing to fight for it,” Warren continued as the cheering grew and grew. “We believe that, after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare and pensions. … We believe – only I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 – we believe in equal pay for equal work, and we are willing to fight for it.”

http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/225544-juan-williams-warren-towers-above


On net neutrality:

Elizabeth Warren Blasts FCC Net Neutrality Plan: 'Just One More Way The Playing Field Is Tilted'

"We don’t know who is going to have the next big idea in this country, but we’re pretty sure they’re going to need to get online to do it," Warren wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday. "Reports that the FCC may gut net neutrality are disturbing, and would be just one more way the playing field is tilted for the rich and powerful who have already made it."

Last week the FCC announced that it was essentially backing down on plans to force big internet providers to treat everybody alike in their access to internet users. Under the FCC's new position, big data sources like Netflix could be forced to pay for access to customers of ISPs like Verizon.

Warren's voice is the latest to join a chorus of Democratic lawmakers like Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) who aren't happy with the FCC proposal, which represents a reversal from President Barack Obama's previous position on net neutrality. But her statement goes a bit further in tying the potential end of net neutrality to her trademark theme of an America rigged against the middle class and for big business....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/elizabeth-warren-net-neutrality_n_5242629.html


On C02 emissions:

11 Senators Just Told EPA Its Carbon Rule Can Actually Cut More Power Plant Emissions
12/10/14

“For the Clean Power Plan to be a success, it must achieve the level of emissions reductions that the science calls for to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change,” the letter continued. Scientists and policymakers have landed on 2°C of global temperature rise by 2100 as the threshold beyond which climate change will become truly dangerous. At current global emission rates, staying under that ceiling will require all carbon emissions across the world to cease entirely by 2040. But slowing down the speed at which the world is dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere can extend that deadline.

Signatories to the letter include Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Corey Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Specifically, they criticize EPA for relying on “outdated data” that led it to low-ball states’ potential for deploying renewable energy, and that the costs of renewable sources like solar energy are dropping faster than the plan accounts for. Along with that, it recommends the agency take up a different modeling approach to calculate states’ potential.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/12/10/3602137/senators-epa-more-carbon-cuts-power-plants/

The Hill: Why Elizabeth Warren should be the next president

Why Elizabeth Warren should be the next president
12/23/14

...The 2008 financial crisis, not terrorism or any other recent threat, posed the greatest risk to this country since the Cold War.

...A champion of the free market, even Greenspan acknowledged that not only did he not see the crash, but certain aspects of deregulation that he and others espoused actually helped cause this financial catastrophe.

If you feel this vantage point is merely “populist” hyperbole and Warren’s position on the spending deal isn’t warranted, then read what David Ignatius wrote in a 2008 Washington Post article about Hank Paulson’s real time view of the crisis:

"What's agonizing for Paulson is that he says he saw the storm clouds gathering two years ago when he became Treasury secretary…

He also warned about the growing use of derivatives -- financial instruments so complicated that they confuse even the people who buy and sell them -- and how they posed a fundamental risk to the markets.


"…If Bear Stearns had been allowed to collapse, for example, what would a bankruptcy judge have done with the billions of dollars in derivatives contracts -- and what would the other parties in these contracts have done in assessing their potential losses?" $22 trillions of dollars in lost wealth later, has our country learned the pitfalls of allowing Wall Street to engage in the same behavior that led to 2008? According to Warren in an NPR interview, the recent bill exemplified America’s dangerously short-term memory:

"Republicans slipped in a provision at the last minute that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and then get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.

You know, it was literally never introduced in the Senate. It had no hearings. There was no discussion about this. And let's keep in mind about this provision, this is a provision that Citigroup lobbyists literally wrote. And then, just to make sure that everybody got the point, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, personally made phone calls to House members to push for this change.

...America needs a president who isn’t intimidated by Wall Street. We need a president willing to save Wall Street from itself and save the American people from another future filled with economic catastrophes and bailouts.

Elizabeth Warren, not Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush, should be president in 2016.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/presidential-campaign/227904-why-elizabeth-warren-should-be-the-next-president


2008 Obama: "No Welfare For Wall Street" populist rhetoric, utter BS

Obama: "No Welfare For Wall Street"

Obama said fighting off lobbyists and special interests was key, as is recognizing that the fundamentals of our economy are not strong - which he suggested his opponent, Republican John McCain, has not recognized.

"Some of the root causes of this crisis have to do with the day-to-day struggles that ordinary people are going through," he said, "with flat wages and incomes but constantly increasing costs.


That puts pressure on them to take out more debt, to use home equity loans, to try to refinance. It created an environment in which this kind of crisis potentially could occur.

"We should have never gotten into this place in the first place. And I think this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy."

Obama said more serious regulations are required. "We have to set up some rules of the road, some regulations that work to keep the system solvent, and prevent Wall Street from taking enormous risks with other people's money, figuring that, 'Tails I win, heads you lose,' where they don't have any risk on the downside.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-no-welfare-for-wall-street/


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