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Is the TPP Dead? Have We Won?

By Dennis Trainor Jr, www.PopularResistance.org | February 3rd, 2014

An interview with Kevin Zeese, organizer with Flush the TPP and Popular Resistance.

It has been 20 years since NAFTA, (North American free Trade agreement) went into effect with the promise of more equality, more jobs, and a better, more prosperous and peaceful world for all of us.

Given that NAFTA has contributed to a world that is a negative image of what was sold to us, it is no surprise that the global elite and the Obama administration have been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in secret.

While the corporately controlled mainstream media ignore the implications of the TPP story, independent media and activists have come together as part of a growing movement of movements to organize, educate, and resist the fast track authority so important ant to the Obama administration.

Have we won? Is the TPP dead?




Top 5 Ways to Spot a Liar Using Past Presidents as Examples – Abby Martin

Abby Martin speaks with BTS producer Manuel Rapalo about the top five characteristics of a liar, including body language and verbal signals, using past presidents as prime examples.




Obama’s State of the Union Address Failed to Look at Roots of Income Inequality

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGTc49VH1Z8

TRNN: Obama’s address failed to look at roots of income inequality.  President Obama’s State of the Union address focused on expanding economic opportunities by raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable and increasing economic mobility… During the previous five years of the current economic recovery income and wealth inequality has not only increased, but accelerated. That’s according to economist Thomas Hickey and Emmanuel Saez. Joining TRRN to unpack all this is David Cay Johnston.  He’s a pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter and a contributing editor to Newsweek

Q. David, do you think President Obama’s focus on expanding educational opportunities and raising the minimum wage are sufficient steps to narrowing the income gap?

David Cay Johnston: No – not even close.  It’s important that we restore the minimum wage. We’re not talking about raising it, we’re talking about restoring it.  Back in the mid sixties it was almost eleven dollars an hour [in today’s dollars].  And, education is certainly very important and too much neglected in this country.  We have put huge barriers to bright but poor and middle-class children getting a first-rate education – especially college.  But, we have much more fundamental problems than that.  Many of these problems involved things like government rules that hardly anybody knows about that take money from the many and redistribute it to the few. The use of tax dollars to build factories, office buildings, and shopping malls are the rules that allow multinational corporations, not domestic, not mom-and-pop corporations, but multinational corporations to actually profit of their corporate income taxes by delaying payment of them for thirty,forty, fifty years and having you and I let down deposit that money will be government to collect interest, while the value of the tax they owe erodes…

Q. David you previously published an article in nationalmemo.com titled “Inequality Rising – All Thanks To Government Policies.” What federal policies are most responsible for the income and wealth gap in your opinion?

David Cay Johnston: First and foremost we have shifted the income tax burden in this country down. And understand that the share of income that people in the middle class the upper middle class are paying is higher now than it was in the early sixties, while for people at the very top it’s much lower.  That means people can’t save, they can invest…




Mind Control in American Politics – James Corbett

https://youtu.be/5eInuuLp1Dw

Having been immersed in the left/right facade their entire lives, many have begun to see the world and those around them through that prism. Either someone is on the same “side” as they are, or they are the enemy. There is no room for nuance, no subtle distinctions to be made, no room for alliance or cooperation on matters of great import. Perhaps most devastatingly, there is now little room for any analysis of the powers behind the political throne, the oligarchical financial interests that could care less whether this or that President has a “D” or an “R” next to their name, whether a Prime Minister is “Labour” or “Conservative,” whether an MEP identifies with the “left” or the “right.” Deprived of this understanding of the real nature of political power, the public is truly powerless to identify the real problem at the root of today’s political crisis, let alone even begin to address it.




Take Action NOW to Topple the TPP (takes only 1 minute)

https://youtu.be/aHbf8rI3Gsk

Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that if the people knew what was in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it would be impossible to get it signed. The Obama administration is going to great lengths to make sure that people do not know what is in the TPP before it gets signed into law, and have made “fast tracking” the TPP bill a top priority.

January 22nd marks the beginning of a ten-day push by groups who work on a wide variety of issues to stop Congress from granting the President Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The push culminates in an Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP onJan 31- with events and actions being planned all around the world.

The TPP has been called NAFTA on Steroids, and if you hate the concept of corporate personhood, consider that from leaked chapters of the TPP text we know that if the TPP passes, we will all be getting used to the phrase corporate nationhood.

How?

Signatories to the TPP, which now include the US, most of the Pacific rim countries, in addition to Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, and Canada will agree that trade a binding tribunal made up of 3 corporate judges will settle dispute and supersede, for example, the US Constitution.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret pact between the EU and the US known as Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment. However, BBC is reporting that the European commission is slamming on the brakes and has “launched a three-month public consultation on the proposed investment rules for firms, responding to fears that they could give big firms too much power to block unfavorable government policies.”

To help topple the TPP, please take do the following NOW (it takes only one minute):

1.  Go to stopfasttrack.com and follow the quick and easy instructions to contact your Congress representative.  While you are there, click the link to share on Facebook.
2. Visit FlushtheTPP.org to join or create local actions. January 31 is an Intercontinental Day of Action.

Together, we can and will stop the TPP. It has already been delayed. But this month, the President is putting increased pressure on members of Congress to give him Fast Track. He may succeed if we don’t raise our voices too.

CLICK HERE TO STOP FAST TRACK – https://www.stopfasttrack.com




Chris Hedges: What Obama Really Meant Was …

Chris Hedges | Truthdig | Jan 21st 2014

Obama NSA speechTHE PRESIDENT: A small, secret surveillance committee of goons and thugs hiding behind the mask of patriotism was established in 1908 in Washington, D.C. The group was led from 1924 until 1972 by J. Edgar Hoover, and during his reign it became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI agents spied upon and infiltrated labor unions, political parties, radical groups—especially those led by African-Americans—anti-war groups and the civil rights movement in order to discredit anyone, including politicians such as Henry Wallace, who questioned the power of the state and big business. Agents burglarized homes and offices, illegally opened mail and planted unlawful wiretaps. Bureau leaders created blacklists. They destroyed careers and sometimes lives. They demanded loyalty oaths. By the time they were done, our progressive and radical movements, which had given us the middle class and opened up our political system, were dead. And while the FBI was targeting internal dissidents, our foreign intelligence operatives were overthrowing regimes, bankrolling some of the most vicious dictators on the planet and carrying out assassinations in numerous countries, such as Cuba and the Philippines and later Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, Chile, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Throughout American history, intelligence services often did little more than advance and protect corporate profits and solidify state repression and imperialist expansion. War, for big business, has always been very lucrative and used as an excuse to curtail basic liberties and crush popular movements. “Inter arma silent leges,” as Cicero said, or “During war, the laws are silent.” In the Civil War, during which the North and the South suspended the writ of habeas corpus and up to 750,000 soldiers died in the slaughter, Union intelligence worked alongside Northern war profiteers who sold cardboard shoes to the Army as the spy services went about the business of ruthlessly hunting down deserters. The First World War, which gave us the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act and saw President Woodrow Wilson throw populists and socialists, including Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, into prison, produced $28.5 billion in net profits for businesses and created 22,000 new millionaires. Wall Street banks, which lent $2.5 billion to nations allied with the United States, made sure Wilson sent U.S. forces into the senseless trench warfare so they would be repaid. World War II—which consumed more than 50 million lives and saw 110,000 Japanese-Americans hauled away to internment camps and atomic bombs dropped on defenseless civilians—doubled wartime corporate profits from the First World War. Why disarm when there was so much money to be made from stoking fear?

The rise of the Iron Curtain and nuclear weapons provided the justification by big business for sustaining a massive arms industry, for a huge expansion of our surveillance capabilities and for more draconian assaults against workers and radicals. The production of weapons was about profits rather than logic. We would go on to produce more than 70,000 nuclear bombs or warheads at a cost of $5.5 trillion, enough weapons to obliterate every Soviet city several times over. And in the early days of the Cold War, with Hoover and Joe McCarthy and his henchmen blacklisting anyone with a conscience in government, the arts, journalism, labor unions or education, President Harry S. Truman created the National Security Agency, or NSA.

Throughout this evolution, Americans were steadily shorn of their most basic constitutional rights and their traditions of limited government. U.S. intelligence agencies were always anchored in a system of secrecy—with little effective oversight from either elected leaders or ordinary citizens. Meanwhile, totalitarian states like East Germany offered a sterling example of what our corporate masters might achieve with pervasive, unchecked surveillance that turned citizens into informers and persecuted people for what they said in the privacy of their homes. Today I would like to thank the architects of this East German system, especially Erich Mielke, once the chief of the communist East German secret police. I want to assure them that the NSA has gone on to perfect what the Stasi began.

[read full post here]




Microsoft, Facebook: Obama’s NSA Proposals Don’t Go Far Enough

President Barack Obama announced reforms to the way the National Security Agency collects digital information in a speech at the Justice Department on Friday. The proposed changes include more oversight by the Executive Branch, reworking national security letters that force private companies to turn over customers’ information to the NSA and an end to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows for bulk metadata collection. RT’s Meghan Lopez talks to Matthew Kellegrew, a legal fellow at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, to see if the president’s proposal goes far enough to appease privacy advocates who have been critical of the NSA since Edward Snowden began leaking information on the spy agency last year.




Thievery: How Congress Keeps Stealing From Our Retirement Benefits and Social Safety Net

Steven Rosenfeld| Alternet | Jan 21st 2014

government_stealing_moneyCongress has a nasty habit that’s not going away. It has been stealing a few billion here and a few billion there from earned retirement and safety net payments, overlooking whether those benefits have been promised or are even sufficient.

As the House and Senate passed its $1.012 trillion 2014 budget last week, veterans were blindsided when they learned that Congress had cut cost-of-living increases for retiree pensions by 1 percent. A master sergeant who served 20 years could lose $80,000 in his lifetime, said Col. Mike Barron of the Military Officers Association of America.

The cuts will affect 1.1 million retirees, 400,000 of whom retired after 9/11, and save an estimated $6 billion. “It’s deferred compensation,” Barron said. “You are changing the rules of the game in the middle of the game. It’s very unfair. It’s a clear breach of faith with us.”

But it’s not just military retirees who are prey to Congress’s petty thievery. In the Senate, there are competing Democratic and Republican proposals to extend unemployment insurance (UI) for 1.3 million longterm jobless people. Unemployment is another earned benefit that people pay into from years of work. The UI extension would be funded by taking money that now goes to Social Security disability recipients, so someone could not receive both unemployment and disability.

The GOP plan, proposed by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, cuts off all disability benefits—so there is no so-called double-dipping. The Democratic plan, from Majority Leader Harry Reid, cuts back disability payments dollar for dollar, deducting whatever amount is received in unemployment. Eleven million Americans received disability benefits in December.

This Hunger Games mentality of playing off groups of deserving people against each other for earned social insurance is part of Congress’ nasty habit. The other nasty piece is what Congress has been doing since the 1980s with Social Security cost-of-living formulas: chipping away at yearly increases.

Going after promised pensions, or shaving back retirement benefits, or tinkering with cost-of-living formulas is hardly confined to Congress. It’s become a budget-balancing tactic that shadows government employees nationwide, and has equivalents in the private sector as workers pay more for their benefits.

In terms of magnitude, the several billion dollars involved in the military pensions and disability cuts pale compared to what’s at stake when tinkering with Social Security’s inflation formula.

When President Obama presents his 2015 federal budget next month, one of the biggest questions is will he again propose using a stingy cost-of-living increase formula for future Social Security payments, known as the chained CPI (consumer price index).

[read full post here]




Marianne Williamson Discusses Her Congressional Campaign and Why the System Needs Reform

Marianne Williamson discusses her congressional campaign and why the political system needs reform of the heart and mind in this uncensored interview with Sean Stone on Buzzsaw. She outlines her goals for public office, the label of “new age,” running as an independent, and the dark lessons of the 1960’s in this full length discussion.

GUEST BIO:
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Bestsellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Bestsellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.
Marianne’s newest book, A Year of Miracles:Daily Devotions and Reflections was released in December 2013. Marianne’s other books include The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman’s Worth, Illuminata, Healing the Soul of America, A Course in Weight Loss, The Gift of Change and The Law of Divine Compensation.
Marianne is a candidate for the U. S. House of Representatives from California’s 33rd District.

www.marianneforcongress.com




MUST SEE: Judge Jeanine Utterly Destroys Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYo6uuf3cqY

With this week’s issuance of the bipartisan investigation report on Benghazi, a raging Judge Jeanine Pirro confronts Hillary Clinton, head-on, for Clinton’s duplicity and negligence as Secretary of State.




Obama’s NSA Reforms Are “A Bouquet of Roses” to the Intelligence Agencies; Julian Assange Responds To NSA Reforms Speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIZ0uudhYZg

Earlier today, President Obama outlined reforms of America’s controversial surveillance tactics – which had ensnared millions of people’s phone calls, texts and emails around the globe. After praising the NSA and its importance to security, he admitted it made mistakes in its collection of private data.  Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans. President Obama also asked the Congress to establish an independent privacy defender in the federal courts, to increase the supervision of intelligence work.

Michael Ratner: By portraying NSA surveillance as “patriotic,” President Obama ignores the violations of Americans’ constitutional rights

Julian Assange:   This president has been dragged kicking and screaming to today’s address.  He’s been very reluctant to make any concrete reforms. Unfortunately today, we also see very few concrete reforms…




Nigel Farage: We Are Now Run By Big Business, Big Banks and Big Bureaucrats

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on 15 January 2014.  Below is the transcript:

Well I have to congratulate you, Mr Samaras, for getting the Greek presidency off to such a cracking start. Your overnight successful negotiation in the trilogue on MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive), I’m sure we’ll have them dancing in the streets in Athens, no matter that your country, very poorly advised by Goldman Sachs, joined a currency that it was never suited to, no matter that 30% are unemployed, that 60% of youth are unemployed, that a neo-nazi party is on the march, that there was a terrorist attack on the German embassy.

No don’t worry about all that because the trilogue on MiFID has been a success. And, in many ways, it sums up the two Europe’s: the Europe that’s talked about in here by the dreamers who want to impose a new United States of Europe with an identity and a currency, and the real world out there.

And you come here Mr Samaras and you tell us that you represent the sovereign will of the Greek people? Well, I’m sorry, but you’re not in charge of Greece, and I suggest you rename and rebrand your party – it’s called ‘New Democracy’, I suggest you call it ‘No Democracy’, because Greece is now under foreign control.

You can’t make any decisions, you’ve been bailed out, and you’ve surrendered democracy, the thing your country invented in the first place.

And you can’t admit that joining the Euro was a mistake – of course Mr Papandreou did that didn’t he, he even said there should be a referendum in Greece and within 48 hours, the unholy trinity (troika) that now run this European Union had him removed and replaced by a ex-Goldman Sachs employee puppet.

We are run now by big business, big banks, and in the shape of Mr Barroso, big bureaucrats.

And actually that’s what these European Elections are really going to be all about. It’s going to be a battle of national democracy versus EU State bureaucracy.

Whatever you may say in this chamber, the people out there don’t want a United States of Europe, they want a Europe of sovereign states, trading and working together.

And I believe the European elections are going to mark a watershed. Up until now everybody has thought, much as they may not like, the development of the European Union, that it was inevitable. That myth of inevitability will be shattered by the European elections this year.