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Gender: Female
Hometown: Bay Area, CA
Member since: Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:02 PM
Number of posts: 3,732

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Fast Track = "Too Big to Fail"?

Is this the right analogy?

It seems like there are many issues with TPP that would be better to examine in a separate trade bill, where legislators in either country country could challenge the issue on its particular merits. Is this deal going to hurt our rice farmers? Let's negotiate something fair.

The main reason to smuggle everything into the huge mega-package of TPP, and then give the President Fast Track powers to approve it, is to smuggle in whatever provisions the various high level players want and insist on getting it all approved together - so any qualms look like a quibbling hold up of the process. (The sort of thing that makes impatient people roll their eyes and groan: "Not again!".

By rolling all these countries and all these deals into one mega trade deal, the TPP has been deliberately designed to be Too Big to Fail.

Moreover, the staff working on it all have a vested interest in getting the bill passed, so they may spin things in particular ways *just* to get the bill passed. Their *job* is to put lipstick on the pig.

Having seen what Too Big to Fail banks and brokerages did to this country, isn't it strange that Obama would want to preside over a global Too Big to Fail deal as the signature of his Presidency?

Belated Comment on "Did Stigma of Poverty Drive This Couple to Suicide"

Because I can only check the Internet in spurts, I only found out today about this story of couple that committed suicide because they could not access resources to alleviate severe poverty: http://www.thenation.com/article/206585/did-stigma-poverty-drive-couple-suicide

In this story, a Minister and neighbors wring their hands about why this couple did not reach out to them for help. They also note (correctly) that the appeal of "asking the Internet" reduces the feeling of shame by allowing the "beggar" to remain anonymous or at least to hide behind the mask of the screen. I have often pointed this out on DU when people have questioned the practice and raised (equally valid) concerns about the mask of the Internet enabling scammers.

I'm sure this article and the notion of the stigma of poverty has already been discussed in depth on DU. However, I wanted to add an angle that probably wasn't discussed because you actually have to go through the experience of extreme poverty to understand it. Even the Minister in this article clearly does not get it. His advice is terrible. While building community is always good, he should not be encouraging people to ask for this sort of help from their neighbors.

Firstly, neighbors won't be able to help them. Problems making rent, especially, are structural problems that require regular support. A neighbor might pitch in the first time, but after the second ask the neighbor will look at the asker funny. By the third time the neighbor will start constructing negative reasons as an escape hatch from having to give yet again. So "asking the neighbors for help" is just a set a set up for future torture at their hands.

But there is a more subtle reason to avoid asking your immediate neighbors for help. When a poor person asks for help, anyone who provides help takes a judgmental interest in what they do with the offered resources far in excess of the value of those resources. Thus, for the pittance a poor person gets in general assistance welfare and food stamps, they have to deal with a crazy amount of red tape, paperwork, appointments (with cost of transportation imposed upon them), and surveillance. The same goes for every program they try to access. Do they want services from the Department of Rehabilitation? They have to be prepared to be judged on punctuality, neat appearance, and general work readiness. Do they want to maintain employment services? They have to fill out these job application tracking sheets and report to those job developers. Are they applying to SSI? Their disability better be documented up the wazoo. How many medical appointments does that take? Did your doctor refer you to physical therapy or an exercise program? Better do that to prove you're not resisting advice. Programs monitor you and refer you to other programs that also monitor you - and in return you barely resist homelessness.

Now imagine the people who live right next door to you - that you have to see every day of your lives - are also scrutinizing you for what you are doing with *their* money they lent you. They will be asking why you are still feeding your cat companion of 20 years, why you still maintain the luxury of Internet access, why you indulged in a salmon for dinner, why you haven't sold your books yet when they "advised" you, too. Yes, that's the worst part. Once people lend you money, their "advice" becomes law.

All of this scrutiny, judgment, and "tough love" encroaches on a person's sense of autonomy, long-cultivated personal identity, and basic human dignity. When all these people own a piece of you, it's invasive - their demands and micro-judgments are literally crawling inside of you. There is nowhere you can go to push all their buzzing out and just assert yourself. The daily appointments and obligations of the poverty bureaucracy tear poor people every which way. That kind of torture being rendered from the close distance of a neighbor would be intolerable.

People cry out to the Internet in hope of getting enough non-strings-attached resources to reclaim some autonomy and human dignity. But at best that's a temporary bandaid since they almost always need structural help in the form of a rent subsidy and other aid. It sucks that the highest profile "Ask the Internet" cases seem to be Red State whiners. You would think the very least they could do is admit that they voted for the party that's against helping the poor. But no. They think charity will come through for them, and GoFundMe keeps rewarding that assumption while leaving the structurally poor in a state of poverty.

I hope this post gives people something to think about. If it came down to choosing between giving up my last bit of human dignity to Judge Judy neighbors and death, I'd probably choose death, too.
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