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Gender: Female
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Tue May 11, 2004, 12:47 AM
Number of posts: 5,170

Journal Archives

The worrying secrecy surrounding TTIP must not be repeated . . .

I think this article spells out as well as an why secret trade negotiations are disturbing. As the aphorism goes, if you are not at the table, you are on the menu.

Barry Gardiner: We are principled free traders – but the worrying secrecy surrounding TTIP must not be repeated

* * *

So I was both confused and amused to learn that if I wanted to examine the current text of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement I would have to be escorted, by appointment, into a locked basement room in Victoria Street and would be granted access to the text only after signing a special confidentiality clause.

“Access was a privilege” I was told – not a right as I had naively supposed!

* * *

So what did I find when I finally probed into the massive ring-binder and all of its annexes? Well of course I can’t tell you that for fear of disciplinary and/or legal proceedings!

What I can tell you is what I did not find.

I did not find anything that reassured me that the US is committed to implementing the International Labour Organisation (ILO) declarations and conventions or developing a common platform in terms of labour standards or occupational health and safety practices within TTIP.

I did not find anything that convinced me that the US would respect the environmental protections and standards we have incorporated into EU law or the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing.

* * *

I did not find anything that reassured me that sovereign governments would not be subjected to supra-national commercial courts with an asymmetric power for large companies to sue nation states for passing legislation in the public interest, where those laws might damage their future profit.

More at link: http://labourlist.org/2017/01/barry-gardiner-the-worrying-lessons-from-ttip-must-be-remember-for-all-future-trade-agreements/
Posted by OrwellwasRight | Mon Jan 9, 2017, 04:22 PM (2 replies)

Progressive v. Liberal?

Lately I have seen a number of article stating that Americans are abandoning the term "progressive" in favor of using "liberal" again.

This particular article is half a year old, but you get the drift (too lazy to search for another): https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/voters-reclaim-the-liberal-label/2015/06/19/feeca592-168e-11e5-89f3-61410da94eb1_story.html

What I don't understand -- and yes I am a Gen Xer who lived through the era in which the Republicans tried to turn the word liberal into an epithet -- is that the people who write these articles seem to think that progressive = liberal.

I have never understood it that way, and neither have any of my contemporaries in my sphere (yes, anecdotal evidence).

To us, "progressive" has always mean MORE liberal, MORE lefty, you know, people who want substantial, not incremental change. This is confirmed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus being the furthest to the left caucus on the Hill and the Progressive Democrats of America being the left alternative to the DLC.

"Liberal" on the other hand has always meant anything from barely left of center to more mainstream Ted Kennedy.

The term progressive has always been used in my world to distinguish from the more moderate left.

So why do they keep writing articles implying that the words mean the same thing?

Is this a Boomers think they are synonyms v. Gen Xers think they are distinguishing terms scenario, in which Boomers reverted to "progressive" because they were embarrassed to be "liberals" but didn't understand that to younger people, there was a difference? What do Millennials think?

What is your experience?
Posted by OrwellwasRight | Fri Feb 12, 2016, 09:25 PM (11 replies)

Workers Unite for Democracy Against Corporate Courts

New on Huffington Post: ISDS is a threat to all of us. Why? Well, read this:

"Why is the AFL-CIO standing in strong solidarity with the workers of Uruguay in that country's fight to protect its democracy against policy intervention by foreign corporations? We believe that the people, through their elected officials, should be the ones to determine which policies are best for their health, their environment and the general welfare.

Unfortunately, a major foreign multinational corporation is using the investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision of the Switzerland-Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to challenge such democratic decision making in Uruguay. Specifically, the suit is challenging Uruguay's plain packaging law.

* * *
Just how much of a threat to democracy is ISDS?

Forbes magazine says, "that's actually the point and purpose of the agreement, to protect investments from whatever nonsenses might cross the synapses of the body politic."

The libertarian Cato Institute calls it "a subsidy that mitigates risk for U.S. multinational corporations."

And a leading American lawyer, once named "Dealmaker of the Year," has tried to raise the alarm about the danger of investment treaties like the Switzerland-Uruguay BIT at issue here, calling them "weapons of legal destruction.""

Let's be clear: global corporations are not being pushed around by governments. Quite the contrary. They are trying to control our economies. We do not need to given them more power through our trade agreements like TPP, TTIP, and TISA. Please speak up during this election season and let your preferred candidate know that you want him or her to OPPOSE ISDS.

Where can you read more about this? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/celeste-drake/aflcio-uruguayan-workers-_b_5775474.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics
Posted by OrwellwasRight | Tue Sep 9, 2014, 10:01 PM (2 replies)

Workers Speak Out About the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)!

Please watch this video, spelling out the dangers of the TPP if the corporations get to write the rules! Be sure to sign the petition at the end and share this video in your own networks!



Learn more about the TPP here: http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade/Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Free-Trade-Agreement-TPP

Honor workers in the US and globally today by standing for their strength against corporate oppression!

Posted by OrwellwasRight | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 11:15 AM (66 replies)

Buying American -- Does It Matter?

This blog post argues yes -- that it's not just a slogan your grandfather throws around. To help create demand-lead growth (as opposed to supply-side, trickle-down, voodoo economics), you can take small steps to buy local, buy union, & buy American. And your efforts will add up!

Wear Jeans? Why "Made in America" Matters to You


“Buy American.” “Made in America.” In today’s interconnected world, those ideas might seem more like leftovers from the Cold War – not important maxims for America’s future. After all, young Americans are drinking Colombian coffee in the morning, skyping with friends in the UK at lunch, buying a made-in-China iPhone in the afternoon, and drinking Italian wine in the evening. The idea of “Buying American,” or economic patriotism, might seem quaint, if not outright ridiculous.

Fact is, making things in America isn’t an obsolete idea. It’s how we built this country into the largest economy the world has ever seen. And it’s imperative for America’s future.

In 2011, the US had a trade deficit of nearly $560 billion, fully $295 billion of which was a deficit in goods trade with China. These deficits are not just about dollars; they represent our ability as a nation to make the things we consume and the products and technology we need to defend ourselves. The iPhone may represent itself as proudly “designed in the USA,” but for how long? Eventually, the designers and engineers want to be close to the production lines—it’s simply more efficient. And if none of those production lines are in the US, the good design and engineering jobs soon won’t be either. And for those of us concerned about job creation, giving up on manufacturing is simply silly—there’s not a one-to-one relationship between designers and those who physically make the product anyway.

When we rely on other countries to make the products we want—from food to clothing to computers, our own capabilities and technical, innovative, and productive capacity decline. The US did not become the wealthiest country in the world by accident. It happened because of deliberate policy choices, hard work, and ambition. We can ensure there are good jobs, with decent pay and benefits, for Americans of all levels of education and ability, but we need that hard work and ambition—the right policy choices—and to avoid accepting that the current state of affairs is the best we can do.

More at link: http://www.wearvenley.com/blogs/youthmonuments/6772026-wear-jeans-why-made-in-america-matters-to-you

Posted by OrwellwasRight | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 10:33 PM (5 replies)

I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled


Best thing you'll read in a week. Things you thought and said yourself, read elsewhere, and a bunch you know are true but never thought of before -- all in one place and completely convincing!!! Please share this widely!

I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled
By Steven Pearlstein, Published: September 29

I am a corporate chief executive.

I am a business owner.

I am a private-equity fund manager.

I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.

I am a job creator and I am entitled.

I am entitled to complain about the economy even when my stock price, my portfolio and my profits are at record levels.

I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.

I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.

***more at link***

Posted by OrwellwasRight | Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:20 PM (4 replies)

Artur Davis: Voter ID Laws Don't Disenfranchise Anybody


In case you missed this earlier this week, which was probably easy to do unless you subscribe to the Heritage Foundation's Youtube Channel (ick) or caught it on CSPAN radio like I did, Artur Davis gave a nauseating interview to the Heritage Foundation explaining why he is now a Republican. It included all the usual stuff about how Democrats are out of touch with mainstream America, the healthcare bill sucked, Obama broke his promises, etc.

What really galled me of all the horrible things he said, however, was when he talked about how all the new Voter ID laws don't disenfranchise anybody. Unfortunately, as you can tell if you watch this clip, this is an edited interview. They played a longer version on CSPAN radio which was even worse than this. His reasoning included that he himself "needed an ID to get into a recent TV interview," that "we all need them to get on an airplane," and that he "could not go to work in Washington without showing an ID." The final one is a blatant lie. He used to work at the US Capitol, which everyone can get into without showing an ID. Why? Because we have a constitutional right to petition the government. They can't screen us out by requiring that we have an ID on us, and they don't (massive security, magnetometers, and X-ray machines, yes, but ID no).

Likewise, we don't have a constitutional right to get on a plane or into a TV station, but we do have a constitutional right to vote, so those are not even comparable (as a former member of the Judiciary Committee and Harvard Law Graduate should know). These comparisons to "we all show our ID every day" kill me. Yes, if you live a certain lifestyle, you may show your ID many times a day. But if you are 85, let your driver's license expire 10 years ago, do not travel out of the country or by plane, or write checks, you may not have any government issued photo ID. I.e., these people assume "all Americans" are middle class, so they cannot comprehend someone who isn't. It's bullshit.

I was just appalled and wanted to throw up at how much he has abandoned the people he used to represent.

Posted by OrwellwasRight | Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:51 PM (19 replies)
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