On Thursday June 18, 2015, twenty eight corporate "Democrats" in Congress voted with their Republican chums to help pass fast tracking for the TPP and other future "free" trade agreements. This disaster for American workers and their families will go to the Senate for a vote. Call or write your Senators and let them know that voting for TPP fast track guarantees that you won't be voting for them when they are up for reelection and will be actively seeking to primary them.
Speaking of primarying, here's a list of the corporate Democrats who voted with the Republicans in Congress to pass TPP fast track.
Brad Ashford, NE-02
Ami Bera, CA-07
Don Beyer, VA-08
Earl Blumenauer, OR-03
Suzanne Bonamici, OR-01
Gerry Connolly, VA-11
Jim Cooper, TN 05
Jim Costa, CA-16
Henry Cuellar, TX-28
Susan Davis, CA-53
John Delaney, MD-06
Suzan DelBene, WA-01
Sam Farr, CA-20
Jim Himes, CT-04
Ruben Hinojosa, TX-15
Eddie Johnson, TX-20
Derek Kilmer, WA-06
Ron Kind, WI-03
Rick Larsen, WA-02
Gregory Meeks, NY-05
Beto O'Rourke, TX-16
Scott Peters, CA-52
Jared Polis, CO-02
Mike Quigley, IL-05
Kathleen Rice, NY-04
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-23
Kurt Schrader, OR-05
Terri Sewell, AL-07
Note that one of them, Debbie Wasserman Schultz just happens to be the chair of the Democratic Party. That should speak volumes about our "two" party system and why we need to elect candidates like Bernie Sanders.
On Friday June 12, 2015, our elected representatives in Congress heard our voices and voted to defeat Trade Adjustment Assistance, a component of the TPP sellout of American workers that gives it the veneer of compensating workers for jobs that the TPP helps corporations ship overseas. That defeat threw a temporary monkey wrench into the plans of the GOP and Obama to get TPP fast track passed quickly. Rest assured that both Obama and the GOP will be back in action this week to lobby Congress and attempt to get TPP fast track passed so that their corporate backers are well served.
I want you to keep those cards, letters and phone calls coming in to Congress to let your representatives know that your vote counts for more that corporate money.
Friday, June 12, 2015 is the day that Congress will vote on Fast Track/TPA. A yes vote opens a Pandora's box that will get all manner of "free" trade agreements enacted now and in the future. I have spoken out against "free" trade agreements for years, now it's your turn. Here is a link to the Congressional website, use it to contact your representative in Congress and express your displeasure with the TPP and the idea of fast tracking it without public scrutiny.
Tell your elected representatives that they can no longer count on your vote or support if they vote for fast track.
Let's face it folks, begging for a job isn't and shouldn't be part of the collective psyche of American workers! Sadly, that's what proponents of the TPP would effectively have our workers do. Nothing illustrates this more than President Obama's visit to the corporate headquarters of Nike Shoes, a business that has according some reports, a million or so contract workers overseas manufacturing its products compared to 26,000 U.S. workers in supporting roles. They made an offer to add a whopping 10,000 U.S. workers over the next 10 Yrs. if the TPP is signed. With their corporate HQ as a backdrop, Obama exhorted Democrats is Congress and the Senate to give him fast track authority to proceed with forcing yet another “free” trade agreement on American workers.
Obama keeps citing the exporting opportunities that the TPP could help bring about. He keeps misleading us into thinking that exporting is the only path to future prosperity. If the truth be known, the real export that “free” trade agreements enable is our jobs! The TPP adds a new dimension to the exporting concept by also exporting our right to self govern by setting up an international corporate kangaroo court to second guess any U.S. regulation that interferes with a foreign corp. doing business here.
Our nation has had the formula for middle class prosperity for years and that is to build it here and buy it here. You make that happen by instituting and or increasing trade tariffs back up to pre-Reagan era levels (gasp from conservatives) and tearing up many existing “free” trade agreements. Corporate owned propagandists call trade tariffs “protectionist” and in one sense, they are right, trade tariffs protect our jobs, our manufacturing infrastructure and our standard of living.
The free traitors who stand to profit from the job offshoring that the TPP would inevitably bring want you to think that exporting is the only path to jobs and prosperity. The truth is that if protected, we have more than enough self-generated supply and demand economic activity to insure a prosperous nation for many years to come without begging third world nations to buy small quantities of our products. It worked for our parents and grandparents, it can and will work for us. Remember, our jobs are ours to keep if we just hold onto them, without begging any foreign nation to buy our stuff.
Yesterday, much to my disgust, I read a couple of news stories about Barack Obama (a.k.a. President Hope And Change) using a visit to the corporate headquarters of Nike Shoes as a photo opportunity/press conference to hawk the Trans Pacific Partnership and slam Elizabeth Warren (an elected who truly represents “hope and change”) for opposing fast tracking the TPP. During the speech, Obama used Nike's advertising slogan in reference to the TPP to tell Democratic electeds who oppose TPP fast track to “just do (approve) it.” Nike promised Obama that it would add 10,000 new jobs in the USA over the next ten years if the TPP was approved. Hmm, 10,000 U.S. jobs added to an existing 26,000 U.S. jobs seems paltry when compared to the one million contract workers overseas that the article stated Nike uses to make its products. Some quid pro quo huh?
In my humble opinion, the bottom line is that Nike wants a reduction in import tariffs on its shoes via the TPP. You see, like I've said all along, the TPP is a grab bag of goodies for lots of corporations, in exchange for a can of worms for our nation and we, the people. Call your electeds and tell them to oppose the TPP!
Just when it looked like the 2016 Presidential election was going to be a choice between a to-be-announced corporate Republican and a preordained corporate Democrat, independent Bernie Sanders announced that he is going to run for President as a Democrat. If that isn't a game changer, I don't know what is? Now we have a clear choice and can vote for someone who has spent his whole career fighting for the middle class and the poor. Bernie's track record shows that he is all action, not someone who utters a few noncommittal words or worse yet, says the words that you want to hear then in a stealthy way, sides with corporations, billionaires and Wall St. after the election.
Look, I've never been shy about expressing my strong disdain for middle class and poor people who support and vote for Republicans that only help corporations and billionaires. Similarly, I have equal disdain for middle class and poor voters who call themselves Democrats, but vote for “lesser of two evils” candidates that “compromise” with Republicans after the election. Voters in the second category effectively turn a two party system into a virtual one party system by limiting our choices to bad and worse. Kind of sounds like a 1950's Soviet style election doesn't it? The difference is that you have a choice of two people cut from the same corporate cloth?
Sadly, the people who prevent any substantive change in our country and doom us to a life of income inequality are the vociferous enforcers of the status quo who on social media and elsewhere, use fear as their weapon of choice. These people are nothing less than political bullies who are trying to force you to vote their way or else! Their phrase that enslaves is “If you vote for a third party candidate, the Republicans will win. Remember Nader in the 2000 election?” By running in a Democratic primary election, Bernie Sanders effectively eliminated that argument. The same people might now present the false argument that Bernie doesn't have a chance because conservative voters won't vote for him in a general election. My reply to that would be that Democrats shouldn't court Republicans by adopting their values?
The take away is this: The only way that Bernie Sanders doesn't have a chance is you don't vote for him in the primaries and in the general election. For true democracy, forget the bullies and vote for Bernie.
If you've been listening to my radio show or reading my columns on this website for any length of time, you know that I believe in encouraging you to think for yourself. That's why I am so upset with the way the Democrats are handling Hillary Clinton's long expected announcement that she is running for President. High up Democrats are literally falling all over each other in their rush to endorse her candidacy. Additionally, some organizations that I thought were progressive stopped talking about the prospect of running a certain progressive Senator from Massachusetts and want to turn her into a wing of the Democratic Party as if she were an inanimate part of a building. Ostensibly, they want to use this Senator, or should I say wing, or should I say Senator Wing to influence the now anointed Queen Hillary the first to run on progressive principles. That kind of talk, even if it is accompanied by the halfhearted phrase “or any potential candidates” discourages any potential progressive candidate from running and runs contrary to democratic principles.
Here are some solid reasons why we need to pick the next Democratic Presidential contender from a vast field of primary candidates:
There's been lots of talk about the Trans Pacific Partnership that many of you seem to be mentally tuning out. I have been surprised by the level of apathy on social media websites. It seems like progressives and union people are the only ones who are actively fighting the TPP. That's unfortunate because the TPP is the mother of all “free” trade agreements that has something in it that will hurt almost everyone except for billionaires and corporate CEO's.
I feel that the reason that many of you are so indifferent to the serious problems that the TPP will bring about is that the mainstream media has done a successful job of not covering stories about or discussing the implications of that agreement. The fact is that, for various reasons, the mega-corps that own the mainstream media want the TPP fast tracked because they stand to gain from the onerous intellectual property parts of it that will seriously restrict the free flow of ideas on the internet. Therefore, it is up to me and other alternate media folks to get the truth out before it's too late.
Since enlightenment requires active participation, I am going to ask you a few questions that will help you draw your own conclusions.
If the TPP is going to benefit the average American:
• Why is it being negotiated in secret where the only details that are available are whatever has been leaked? If the agreement is really good for us, why keep it a secret? I think that we all know the answer to that question!
• Why are only a handful of people, most of whom are corporate CEO types, involved in the super secret negotiations? Are they the only ones affected by the agreement? Don't labor unions deserve to have input on an agreement that will adversely affect their members and all workers for years to come? Don't we, the people deserve to have a say in our future?
• How can we believe our electeds when they claim that the TPP will bring jobs to our country when previous “free” trade agreements like NAFTA were also ballyhooed as bringing jobs here, but actually cost us many jobs? How often do they expect us to fall for that lie? Why do supposedly pro-labor Democrats Like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama always seem to join hands with corporate Republicans in trying to foist job killing “free” trade agreements on us?
• How can any politician who considers him or herself a real American support an agreement that gives up our country's sovereignty by setting up a mechanism that lets a foreign corporation sue U.S. regulatory agencies in an international kangaroo court if the agency enforces any regulation that interferes with the foreign corporation making a profit? The founding fathers of our country declared independence from England to become a sovereign nation, how can we allow our electeds to give up our sovereignty to foreign corporations?
I leave you with one final question to carefully consider.
If the TPP is so good, why does it need to be fast tracked and rushed past any scrutiny? I think that you know the answer to this question and all of the previous questions and now know that you have to take an active part in stopping a disastrous agreement before it's too late.
Once again, the GOP noise machine and their slobbering mainstream media sycophants are fully revved-up about ObamaCare. Flush with their victories and newly gained majorities in Congress and the Senate, they are making yet another assault on a program that has signed up more than eight million people. That's eight million folks who for various reasons, wouldn't otherwise have access to health insurance. In our pay for play, everything for a buck system, that translates to eight million souls who wouldn't have access to any kind of meaningful health care.
Now if you think that from the tone of the previous paragraph, this is just another defend the Affordable Care Act article, you just might be wrong! Just because the GOP and many conservative sock puppet “organizations” (that are really thinly veiled operations financed by billionaires) have been making endless politically motivated attacks on ACA, it doesn't mean that the way ACA was “compromised” down from a potentially single-payer plan didn't create legal and ethical holes in it that invited those attacks! Although to his credit, President Obama is the first President to seriously address what amounts to a health care crisis in our nation and actually get a law passed covering people under sixty five, I resent that he made almost every aspect of it negotiable. The more he compromised, the more the GOP and those sock puppet organizations found fault with it and said so in endless TV propaganda ads. Which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “No good deed shall go unpunished.” Although ACA did some great things like preventing insurance corps from rejecting people for pre-existing conditions, the finished product was a compromised to death shadow of itself!
Here's some of what's wrong with the Affordable Care Act from my perspective:
I could continue for pages but in the interest of brevity, I won't. Let's just end things by saying that if the purpose of health care reform is to actually provide health care for every person in our country, than we needed single-payer health care. If the purpose of health care reform is to really control the rising costs of health care, than we need to nationalize every aspect of health care and transform it from a big corporate business to a profession! As things now stand, ObamaCare is basically the health care version of trickle-down economics. It looks out for the interests of insurance corps. first by providing them with a mandated by law customer base and leaves those customers with ever increasing premiums! Come to think of it, didn't trickle-down also happen when Wall St. and the banksters were bailed out, while ordinary folks remained unemployed? Food for thought, huh?
Do you remember the good old days of broadcast news when real journalists weren't afraid to deal with real and big issues? The broadcast journalists of the late sixties and early seventies covered major news events with a semblance of fairness and integrity. Do you remember when the staff of news magazine shows did genuine investigative reporting about issues that had a direct bearing on our health, safety, well being, personal rights and freedom? I remember a slew of news magazine stories in the early 70's about employee pensions being in danger. Those stories helped protect pensions by causing public outrage. These days, the national news media just echoes right-wing shill organization attacks on Social Security, Medicare and employee pensions and news magazines tend to cover Hollywood gossip stories.
Now that I've complained about the sorry state of our national broadcast news media, let's take a look at local broadcast news. What passes for broadcast “journalism” in my part of the country, the Tampa Florida market, is sad indeed. I'm sure that it is representative of most other local markets. Local stations cover the usual crime stories that are part and parcel of the business. They do a great job on weather coverage, which is essential in our neck of the woods. Where they fall down is in the area of consumer and investigative stories. They seem to be waging a war of the roaches, with each station visiting restaurants that failed Health Department tests for cleanliness, etc. I have a suggestion for stations that call that consumer reporting, instead of playing count the roaches cover major consumer stories! How about a thorough and not superficial story on why the dropping price of oil that lowered the price of gas at the pump didn't lower the sharply rising cost of food in the Supermarkets? After all, food corporations used rising fuel prices as a rationale to help cause an increase in prices in the first place! How about suggesting a story to your national networks about rising costs versus Stagnant wages?
National broadcast networks and local stations have to start serving the real needs of their viewers as opposed to their advertisers or other corporate special interest groups. If they continue along their current paths, alternative media people will be more than happy to fill the void and disseminate truthful and relevant newscasts, talk shows and news magazines.
Have you noticed that there's no one on Talk Radio who speaks for John and Jane Q. Public? I want to change that situation. When I go into the studio and get on the air, I say the things that you've always wanted to say. The big corporate interests have their lobbyists, I want to be your voice. Just think of me as your guy fighting for your interests.
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Headlines for 7/31/15