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Ferd Berfel

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Member since: Sat Jan 3, 2015, 12:39 PM
Number of posts: 3,687

Journal Archives

US Government's Own Report Shows Toxic TPP "Not Worth Passing"


'This report indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.'

The government's own assessment of the toxic Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows that the controversial trade deal will produce negligible economic benefits while damaging most Americans' jobs and wages.

The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) report (pdf), issued Wednesday, shows that the TPP "would likely have only a small positive effect on U.S. growth," Reuters reported.

"This may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement."
Leo W. Gerard, United Steelworkers

Meanwhile, the ITC estimates a worsening balance of trade for 16 out of 25 U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors that cover vehicles, wheat, corn, auto parts, titanium products, chemicals, seafood, textiles and apparel, rice, and even financial service. Indeed, output in the manufacturing sector would be $11.2 billion lower with TPP than without it in 2032, the ITC found, with employment down 0.2 percent. And while vehicle production would gain, auto parts, textiles, and chemicals would see reductions, the trade panel said.

The analysis also estimates the proposed 12-nation trade deal—a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's economic agenda—will increase the U.S. global trade deficit by $21.7 billion by 2032.


Stop making excuses for this Abortion of Government Sovereignty and the Middle-Class

Activism Beyond 'Feeling the Bern': Violent Protests for Social Progress Happening Now in France


America's protests and rallies pale in comparison to the spirited and serious protests of France.

The presidential election in the U.S. has dominated the public's attention and produced two unlikely outcomes. The most obvious is that reality TV star Donald Trump, while breaking every rule in the book of U.S. presidential politics and offending women, minorities and just about everyone, is clearly going to be the Republican nominee for president.

The second outcome is that an avowed democratic socialist has almost kept pace with Hillary Clinton, the favorite to get the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders has won a string of races down the homestretch, and he keeps pushing the envelope, fighting and spending millions on advertising, even though his chances of winning the nomination are almost nil.

The success of a more radical candidate like Sanders makes progressives in America feel encouraged. And yet, despite several notable Black Lives Matters protests over racist police brutality, there has been very little protest in America about the overall economic climate; mostly a lot of voter enthusiasm for Bernie, as many "feel the Bern."

In France, it is very different. France is a far more rebellious country than the United States. People march in the streets and go on strike for the smallest reasons. But this time, there is evidence of a major revolt as hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting against a new labor law for weeks. High school and university students were the first to join the protest, to block their schools and to demand the withdrawal of the law, quickly joined by trade unions, and by the youth, in general. The grassroots movement called Nuit Debout ("Night on Our Feet" has been protesting virtually nonstop.

Clinton Delegate Claims that the last minute rule changes "Manipulation" were unjust.


Watch: Hillary Clinton Delegate Claims 'Manipulation' at Controversial Nevada Dem Convention That Angered Sanders Supporters

Clinton delegate Pat Barrett told The Young Turks that the last minute rule changes were unjust.

An awful lot has been said about the chaos at the Nevada convention last week.

"Debbie Wasserman-Schultz wants you to believe that there was incredible violence and that was all that there was at Nevada, with Bernie Bros threatening to tear down the whole house and set it on fire,” said the Young Turks host John Iadarola.

There was more to it than that, he pointed out. "They don’t actually show that the rules were clearly manipulated. There’s video evidence which we’ve shown. They won’t admit that and all the news reports about it won’t admit that either," Iadarola added.

Bubba's Toxic Economic Legacy: What Hillary Doesn't want you to remember


Bubba's Toxic Economic Legacy: When Hillary Brags About the First Clinton Presidency Legacy, She Doesn't Want You to Remember This
Hillary Clinton recently stated that her husband would be a key player on economic policy. That's not good news.

Over the past several months, Hillary Clinton has been somewhat hesitant to bring up her husband’s legacy as president, which, for many progressives, is a vexing reminder of how the Democratic Party embraced neoliberal policies towards the end of the 20th century, under the leadership of the the triangulating Bill Clinton. Faced with the insurgent campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton has tried to hype her progressive bona fides, which has meant avoiding some of Bill’s more despicable policies — from the 1994 crime bill and expansion of the war on drugs, to welfare reform and the Defense of Marriage Act. Almost two decades removed from the Clinton administration, there is a lot to find distasteful, and Hillary clearly wants to avoid discussing the worst of her husband’s presidency (which, like or not, she played a major role in).

There has been one area, however, where Hillary has been quick to conjure up her husbands legacy: the economy. On Sunday, she even said that she would put Bill in charge of “revitalizing the economy” as president.

This isn’t the first time Hillary has bragged about Bill’s booming economy, and her desire to emulate it. Take this statement from January, for example:

“I’m going to have the very best advisers that I can possibly have, and when it comes to the economy and what was accomplished under my husband’s leadership in the ’90s—especially when it came to raising incomes for everybody and lifting more people out of poverty than at any time in recent history—you bet.”

The Bernie or Bust Movement Shows No Signs of Slowing Down


The goal is to expose campaign corruption and make the case for a progressive future.

For months now, my Facebook feed has been clogged with inspirational posts about Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights rally. Bernie Sanders’s modest tax returns. Bernie Sanders with a bird. Now that the delegate math is stacked against him, my Facebook feed is full of panicky moralistic posts about how Bernie or Bust is going to ruin everything, that it’s time for Sanders supporters to give up on ideological purity and unify behind the presumed nominee.

But the case for giving up on Sanders is turning out to be as difficult to make as the one for nominating him. Could it be that the Bernie or Bust movement, however righteous or quixotic, is not about Sanders at all, but another symptom of a high-rolling advertising-driven culture that has eroded all our trust in the social contract? I mean, if you’re looking for someone to blame, Edward Bernays is your man, not Sanders—and certainly not anyone who plans to write in Sanders’s name on a general election ballot.

Bernays, who was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, is the one who brought advertising into everyday life, not as billboard and print ads but as real events. In other words “public relations,” a term he also coined. Bernays kicked off his “torches of freedom” campaign for the American Tobacco Company in 1929 by hiring women to pose as suffragists in the Easter Sunday Parade and light up on cue. The point was to convince more women to smoke, but the whole campaign was dressed up as a grass-roots political movement. In 1954, “the father of spin” was hired by the United Fruit Company to set up local media in Guatemala that would coordinate with the CIA to topple the democratically elected government.

Poll: Trump Closing in on Clinton, as Sanders Remains Formidable


Clinton now leads Trump nationally 48 to 45 percent, an unsettling development as the candidates enter their final stretch of primaries

Donald Trump has reduced Hillary Clinton's national lead to just three points—down from five last week—underscoring the grim prospects of the presidential election, a new poll released on Tuesday reveals.

The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll finds that Clinton now leads Trump nationally 48 to 45 percent, an unsettling development as the candidates enter their final stretch of primaries, two of which are taking place Tuesday in Kentucky and Oregon. Last week, Clinton and Trump were found to be in a dead heat in three swing states.

Politico reports:

Clinton dominates among minority voters. The Democratic front-runner leads Trump by a 75-point margin among black voters, 84 percent to 9 percent, and holds a 37-point advantage among Hispanic voters, 65 percent to 28 percent. Women also favor Clinton, while Trump leads among men and white voters.

The survey also notes that Clinton's rival, Bernie Sanders, beats Trump by 53 to 41 points in a hypothetical match-up—a much wider margin than the former secretary of state.

Brad Friedman: How Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the ​Democratic Nomination

The Bradblog


The Democratic Party may end up nominating Bernie Sanders, particularly if he keeps winning primaries between now and mid-June -- and more polls show Hillary Clinton tied with or losing to Donald Trump in head-to-head matchups.

Is there still a realistic path for Bernie Sanders to secure the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination? My guest today on The BradCast says "Yes!" and explains how it would, could and, in his opinion, should happen.

But first, some breaking news as the state of Maryland decertifies the results of the April 26th primary election in Baltimore, due to a number of troubling and currently unexplained "irregularities" brought to their attention by election integrity advocates; the Obama administration issues historic new regulations concerning the release of methane which, our own Desi Doyen describes as "a very big deal"; and Donald Trump and Paul Ryan meet to smooth over disagreements as the GOP continues to coalesce behind their presumptive Republican nominee.

Then, I'm joined by Huffington Post columnist, attorney, author and University of New Hampshire Asst. Professor Seth Abramson to discuss his latest column headlined: "Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination -- No, Seriously".

Jon Stewart's Assessment

Robert Parry: Neocons and Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill


Hillary Clinton wants the American voters to be very afraid of Donald Trump, but there is reason to fear as well what a neoconservative/neoliberal Clinton presidency would mean for the world

For centuries hereditary monarchy was the dominant way to select national leaders, evolving into an intricate system that sustained itself through power and propaganda even as its ideological roots shriveled amid the Age of Reason. Yet, as monarchy became a dead idea, it still killed millions in its death throes.

Today, the dangerous “dead ideas” are neoconservatism and its close ally neoliberalism. These are concepts that have organized American foreign policy and economics, respectively, over the past several decades – and they have failed miserably, at least from the perspective of average Americans and people of the nations on the receiving end of these ideologies.

Neither approach has benefited mankind; both have led to untold death and destruction; yet the twin “neos” have built such a powerful propaganda and political apparatus, especially in Official Washington, that they will surely continue to wreak havoc for years to come. They are zombie ideas and they kill.


So, the Democratic Party seems to be betting that Hillary Clinton’s flood of ugly TV ads against Trump can frighten the American people enough to give the neocons and the neolibs one more lease on the White House – and four more years to wreak their zombie havoc on the world.

Thomas Frank: None of the Bankers Think Hillary Clinton Believes Her Populism,


What is the core philosophy of today's Democratic Party and does it serve anyone's interests other than a wealthy elite? Thomas Frank lays bare Democrats' abandonment of their purported values -- and the role this has played in entrenching economic inequality -- in his sardonic new book, Listen, Liberal. Order your copy by making a donation to Truthout today!

Thomas Frank, Metropolitan Books: A puzzling and contradictory microclimate of virtue surrounds Hillary Rodham Clinton -- a mystic bond between high-achieving US professionals and the planet's most victimized people. Nothing is more characteristic of the liberal class than its members' sense of their own elevated goodness.

"You see corporations making record profits, with CEOs making record pay, but your paychecks have barely budged," Hillary declared in June 2015, launching her presidential campaign. "Prosperity can't be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers." On she talked as the months rolled by, pronouncing in her careful way the rote denunciations of Wall Street that were supposed to make the crowds roar and the financiers tremble.

"None of them think she really means her populism,"
wrote a prominent business journalist in 2014 about the bankers and Hillary. The Clinton Foundation has actually held meetings at the headquarters of Goldman Sachs, he points out. He quotes another Morgan Stanley officer, who believes that "like her husband, [Hillary] will govern from the center, and work to get things done, and be capable of garnering support across different groups, including working with Republicans."

How are the bankers so sure? Possibly because they have read the memoirs of Robert Rubin, the former chairman of Citibank, the former secretary of the Treasury, the former co-head of Goldman Sachs. One of the themes in this book is Rubin's constant war with the populists in the Party and in the Clinton administration -- a struggle in which Hillary was an important ally. Rubin tells how Hillary once helped him to get what he calls "class-laden language" deleted from a presidential speech and also how she helped prevent the Democrats from appealing to "class conflict" in a general election -- on the grounds that it "is not an effective approach" to the "swing voters in the middle of the electorate."
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