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ND-Dem's Journal
ND-Dem's Journal
March 31, 2015

How The TPP Agreement Could Be Used To Undermine Free Speech And Fair Use In The US

We've been writing a lot about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement over the past few years. There are many, many problems with it, but the two key ones are the intellectual property chapter and the investment chapter. ...neither the intellectual property section nor the investment chapter are really about free trade. In many ways, they're about the opposite ...

And, last week, Wikileaks leaked the investment chapter, which is focused on corporate sovereignty provisions, officially known as "investor state dispute settlement" or "ISDS" (named as such, in part, because the negotiators know it sounds boring, so they hope the public won't pay attention)... Sean Flynn has a very in-depth look at how the combination of these two chapters -- the IP chapter and the investment chapter -- could very likely threaten fair use (and, with it, undermine the First Amendment).

...the key part is this... The word "investment" in the investment chapter is defined incredibly broadly and explicitly includes "intellectual property" as well as "other tangible or intangible, movable or immovable property." It also, importantly, notes that an investment, for the purpose of ISDS, covers:

every asset that an investor owns or controls, directly or indirectly, that has the characteristics of an investment, including such characteristics as the commitment of capital or other resources, the expectation of gain or profit, or the assumption of risk.

And...it appears from the leaked text of TPP, the US would now be opening itself up to an ISDS challenge from a foreign owned company (remember: Universal Music is owned by a French company, Sony Music is owned by a Japanese company and Warner Music is owned by Russians...) that the fair use doctrine itself "expropriates" its "intellectual property" rights...

As we've noted, the Supreme Court itself has long argued that current fair use doctrine is a necessary "safety valve" in making sure that copyright does not violate the First Amendment. In other words, fair use is a key part of your First Amendment rights.

And yet... the USTR is basically putting in place a plan and system to undermine this, because the big copyright players are among the very few people who are allowed to see the negotiating text and to "advise" the USTR on what should be in it. Once again, it would seem like the most obvious way to deal with this would be for the USTR to release the negotiating documents, so that the public would be aware of what's being negotiated, and could discuss the possible consequences -- like how the current rules have the potential to undermine fair use and free speech. But, for reasons that the USTR still will not explain (perhaps because they reveal the USTR's true reasoning for such provisions), it refuses to do so.

March 31, 2015

Seattle City Council Unanimously Opposes Fast-Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Seattle city council just unanimously passed a resolution that comprises some of the strongest statements about the Trans-Pacific Partnership—and its twin proposal to speed the deal through Congress—a local governmental body has made. The TPP, a giant, hardly-transparent international trade deal currently being negotiated by the federal government, has inspired loud opposition from environmental and labor groups.

Despite what little we know about the deal, it would appear that all nine council members are wary of it, too.

Should Seattle have even stuck its nose in an international trade deal that we know so little about? Depends on who you ask, and we'll be unpacking more of what that means later. Council member Mike O'Brien, who helped bring the resolution before the council with Kshama Sawant, argued that even though the TPP doesn't "exist in a form we can meaningfully debate," the deal's lack of transparency is reason enough to decry it, and emblematic of a much bigger problem.

Sawant framed the debate as one of corporate interests versus human ones. "Basically anyone who supports the rights of human beings and the environment is on one side of the debate," she said. And Nick Licata said that Seattle's position will send a strong message to Washington, DC. "I believe that the nation is looking at Seattle's vote today," he said. "We will continue to see this kind of struggle going on in the future, and the only thing that will derail it is the mobilization of citizens in a democracy."


March 31, 2015

Bellingham, WA, City Council Unanimously Rejects Fast Track; Seattle Next;

Mar 26, 2015

On Monday night, the Bellingham, WA, City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling on Congress to oppose "fast track" for the TPP. With the Seattle City Council scheduled to take up a similar resolution this Monday, CWA activists and community allies need to take action.

Here are a few things we can do:

(1) Send an action alert to Seattle-based activists requesting that they email and call the City Council in support of a strong resolution against "fast track." The entire Council can be emailed at once with a message written to council@seattle.gov. The general phone number for the Council is 206-684-8566.

(2) Send an organizational letter in support of the resolution. If you don't have local staff to hand-deliver it, again, the entire Council can be emailed at once with a message written to council@seattle.gov.

(3) Recruit staff and supporters to pack the room during the City Council hearing and vote on Monday, March 30. The Council meets from 2:00 – 4:00pm, but people should show up by 1:45pm. If you have someone able to testify or are able to send some folks to help fill the room, please contact Gillian Locascio of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition at gillian@washingtonfairtrade.org or 206-227-3079.

We need you to help keep up the pressure on the state's delegation. This resolution is one small step.


March 31, 2015

Americans are stupid & don't know anything about TPP, say DUers; so do your part to inform them



Republicans in Congress want to work with the Obama administration to fast-track the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is the largest—and worst—trade deal you’ve never heard of, having been devised in secret by representatives of some of the world’s largest corporations.

It’s so big and has the potential to do so much damage, it’s been likened to “NAFTA on steroids.”

Will you help spread the word about fast track and the TPP by watching and sharing the video right now?

March 31, 2015

Rev. William Barber: "You & I were born for such a time as this"


Rev. William Barber, president of the NAACP in North Carolina, calls for a "moral movement" across America to defend our democracy from extremist state legislatures at the 2014 CWA Legislative-Political & Movement Building Conference

Full speech here:


"The March on Washington was not just a kumbaya meeting, it was a march for Jobs and Justice...The first part was designed to boost wages through jobs and training...the second was to provide income support...and the third was to bring a system of government health care to the elderly and the poor...

'By 1968 you couldn't use (n-word) so you start using code words like 'forced bussing,' like 'states' rights,' and then you get very abstract and you talk about 'cutting taxes,' and denying labor rights...it seems like you're talking about economic things, but the byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites, you're able to turn whites, particularly in the south, against blacks, and you undermine their ability to work together and thereby create a bloc of states that you can always control...

Now if you understand this history, and look at the attacks we're seeing today -- on voting rights, on labor, on education, on fair tax policies, you can see that what we are seeing is a reincarnation with a 21st century twist of the Redemption Movement of the 1800s, the white Southern Strategy of the 1900s -- but what you also must see is -- if they're fighting that hard against us, it must mean we're in the middle of a third Reconstruction...and the forces that are afraid of this kind of future are trying to deconstruct the possibilities...

If blacks and whites and latinos get together -- if they every learn the truth about economic reality -- if they understand that these plutocrats and the oligarchs that are buying them off are actually hurting them -- maybe, as my grandmother said, they will stop cutting off their nose to spite their face and they will come together."

We must fight extremism...change the public conversation...you don't negotiate until you fight...and I'm here to tell you from the ground...that people, even in the south, are ready for some truth talk. That if we come up with a language that's not about democrat and republican, red versus blue, liberal versus conservative...a language that destroys the myth of extremism, that these extreme policies only hurt a few people (i.e. lgbt, black...)...we start talking about these policies not just as being bad policies, but as immoral...we change the terms of the battle, shift the center of gravity...


March 31, 2015

Communications Workers of America President's comment on TPP

The following is a statement by CWA President Larry Cohen on the "leaked" chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that covers corporations. The leaked text, made public on March 25, reveals a giveaway to corporate special interests that must be stopped.(*)

The 56 pages of the Investor chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are worse than imagined and must be a wake-up call for our nation. Everything we read and learn makes "fast track" authority unimaginable. It's secrecy on top of secrecy.

The TPP is shaping up to be an exercise in words about citizen rights that are not enforceable versus expanded corporate rights to sue governments for supposed diminishment of corporate profits.

Section B of the leaked chapter documents new provisions of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the secret tribunal process that is above national law or courts.

It is ironic that the document demonstrates that the U.S. is leading the push for expanded Investor or corporate rights provisions while Australia is leading the opposition. The center-right Abbott government has forced inclusion of a footnote in the current draft that Investor State Dispute Settlement "does not apply to Australia."

Current ISDS action by Philip Morris, challenging Australia's plain packaging cigarette regulations designed to prevent cancer and heart disease, is likely part of the explanation for this footnote. This leaked chapter says as much about the corrosive effects of money and corporate interests in our political system as it does about trade.

These 56 pages must be a wake-up call for our nation. We must be defenders of democracy first and push aside the special interests of multinational corporations. The nice words in other parts of TPP are more than outmatched by this section, placing corporate rights over citizen rights and providing reparations for corporations versus government reports for other complaints.

The case for rejecting "fast track" authority for the TPP is now even clearer. "Fast track" or Trade Promotion Authority is only being considered by the U.S. Every other government is preserving its right to read the text before speeding its adoption. This chapter on Investment compels the U.S. to do the same.

CWA will redouble our efforts to participate in the broadest coalition ever to defeat "fast track" and the TPP. Our jobs, our living standards, our safety, our environment, our national sovereignty and our very democracy are on the line. We will stand up and fight back for as long as it takes.


March 30, 2015

what is powdered alcohol?

just ran across this bill authored by Pam Roach (WA R, Wingnutville)

2015 Senate Bill 5292: Protecting children and youth from powdered alcohol Introduced by Sen. Pam Roach (Auburn) (R) on January 19, 2015, For Bill Information, please click HERE. Referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee on January 19, 2015.
Referred to the Senate Rules Committee on February 23, 2015.

Passed 48 to 0 in the Senate on March 3, 2015

Is there such a thing? I've never heard of it.

March 30, 2015

Good news for today: After Daughters Act Up, Mom Makes Amends

When Birmingham, Alabama, mom Rebecca Boyd brought her 12-year-old daughter Ashley to see Cinderella on Friday night, she was hoping for a quiet movie night. But what followed was an incredibly frustrating evening.

At the theater two teenage girls took a seat behind Boyd and her daughter. “It started out with giggling, talking too loud, and kicking my seat,” Boyd tells Yahoo Parenting. “At one point I turned around and told them that we paid for the movie just like they did. They just giggled at me and continued with the same behavior.”

After the movie ended, Boyd sent Ashley to the car and approached the two misbehaving teens outside the theater. “I told them they needed to realize that their behavior affects others and they never know what other people around them are going through,” she says. “For instance my husband was just laid off from his job and this would be the last movie I could take my daughter to for awhile, and they had ruined that.” Boyd says she was aggravated by the way the evening played out but never placed any blame on the girls’ parents. “Kids will be kids,” she says. “They are not bad kids. They just made bad choices.”

But one woman was furious at the girls’ behavior — their mother.
The sisters were at the movie with their brother, who let their mom, Kyesha Smith Wood, know what happened. That night, Wood, whose daughter and stepdaughter were the girls in question, posted a note to Facebook. “This is a long shot, but I’m looking for a woman that was at Tannehill Premier tonight seeing Cinderella at 7 pm,” she wrote. Wood recalled the evening as her son explained it —the bad behavior, the confrontation — and said she was humiliated by the girls’ behavior. “If you are this woman, please message me. I can assure you that these girls are being strongly dealt with and appropriately punished. This rude, disrespectful, and awful behavior is unacceptable and they owe you an apology. My husband and I are having them write your apology letter tonight and we would like to pay for your next movie and snacks out of their allowance. Please message me if this is you. I apologize profusely for their disrespect.”

The post did eventually make it to Boyd. “I was very touched that Kyesha was not offended that I approached her girls,” Boyd says. “Her kind letter brought tears to my eyes.”

Boyd sent Wood a message over Facebook and when the two moms connected, they hit it off immediately. “I thanked her for correcting my girls in my absence and letting them know that they were wrong,” Wood told AL.com. “A lot of times people get nervous about saying something to a stranger’s kids. But it takes a village to raise our kids. We as a community need to hear this, that there are parents out there who still believe in old-fashioned methods.” And she told ABC 33/40 that she has the utmost respect for Boyd. “She is the most gracious and kind and forgiving woman and I’m so humbled by that,” she said.

Boyd returned the sentiments. “Everyone has had the experience I had at the movies, but it is rare to see parents respond like the Wood family has,” she says. “I have so much respect for them, and no hard feelings toward their beautiful girls.”

Boyd says she thinks the post resonated with parents because there aren’t enough examples of parents helping each other out. Facebook posts between parents who don’t know each other are so often judgmental or negative. “Parents need to stick together and watch after each other’s kids,” she says. “As parents we can’t be there all the time.”


March 30, 2015

German soldiers execute a communist, 1919


I just thought the kid looked so young & defiant.

also on the next page is a letter from Gandhi to hitler...

March 30, 2015

Net Exports of Goods & Services: telling graph

I can't get the graph to post, but it's very telling. Can anyone help?


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