A peak behind the TPP curtain.

A peak behind the TPP curtain.

This week, Americans got a peak behind the curtain of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and what we found is frightening. On Thursday, Wikileaks published a complete draft of the “intellectual property rights” chapter of the TPP, and it poses a serious risk to free speech and information access. The document contains proposals that would change copyright and patent laws, so-called fair use practices, and the liabilities for alleged violations.

The provisions would stifle innovation, creativity, and information sharing, all under the guise of protecting intellectual property. And, many of the proposed changes are being suggested by US negotiators. Opposition to these restrictive policies is coming from other nations, like Canada, Chile, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

When our government has previously attempted to pass similar internet restrictions, like SOPA and PIPA, the overwhelming response from websites, online users, and other Americans forced our elected leaders to back down. That response is exactly why much of the TPP is being negotiated in secret, and it explains why US trade officials are asking to “fast-track” the agreement. Negotiators know that Americans would not support this deal, so officials want to push it through without even giving Congress the ability to amend it.

Unions, civil rights advocates, environmental activists, and many other groups are demanding that the details of the TPP are made public. Before this massive trade deal is signed, Americans have the right to know what it contains, and the right to demand that our elected leaders say “No” to the TPP.

Comments

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 40 weeks 1 hour ago

DAMN! I hate it when my messages get cluttered with that crap. Any suggestions, from the more tech-savvy among you? - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 40 weeks 56 min ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ Sorry to hear about the gibberish problem. I imagine it is very annoying. I understand you are using a Mac. The first thing I would try is to update my operating system. If that doesn't work try to update your browser. If that doesn't work, I'd consider investing in a PC.

(PS Investing in a PC wouldn't be a bad idea anyway. Especially if you own a business. Having both platforms available makes your equipment much more versatile. Also, it gives you the opportunity of familiarizing yourself with both operating systems. Most important of all, you have a backup system readily available in an emergency.)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 40 weeks 13 min ago

Thanks Marc. The more the merrier! - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 40 weeks 10 min ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ Great job, Alice! Excellent letter! Please allow me to offer an alternative. Some Representatives sites only allow shorter comments. This one is simple and straight to the point. Again, everyone feel free to write your own.

Dear

I am writing you today to express my concern about TPP legislation. From what I understand this agreement would set up international tribunals that would negate the national sovereignty of member countries. If this is true I demand that you firmly oppose this agreement. This agreement would nullify your authority in domestic matters. That is not why you were elected and I insist that you do not surrender the authority that We the People have entrusted you with.

Sincerely,

You can use this link to find your Representatives:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Use this link to find your Senator:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Use this link to write the President:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Good luck everyone!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

P.S. Marc's letter is an excellent option. Should you choose to use a shorter version of mine, I won't be offended. Or you can write your own. Most importantly, do something! - AIW

ckrob's picture
ckrob 39 weeks 6 days ago

AIW- hit the edit button under your misbehaving post. Place your cursor just past all the bad stuff and delete-key your way back. Then save again. Preview button lets you check before saving. I have not had the garbage effect you have had, altho' I use a Mac. It is up to date as to op-sys however.

Tom, it's 'peek.' However, the TPP does give me a pique!

producer1's picture
producer1 39 weeks 6 days ago

Keep the pressure up. We're demonstrating tomorrow in front of Orlando City Hall where our Mayor, Buddy Dyer, is part of the 600 trade advisors. we can win this battle.

Jerry Waxman

akunard's picture
akunard 39 weeks 6 days ago

What a shock! I thought most on this blog thought that letting the U.N. run around the Const. and tell the U.S. how to run this country was a good thing.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

Akunard, you conservative right-wingie-dingies can twist the meaning of this discussion all you want if it makes you happy. But it'll be a cold day in hell before I jump on the UN-bashing bandwagon. - Aliceinwonderland

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 39 weeks 6 days ago

This generation has already accepted a full range of policies without having adequate information, basing their opinions on misinformation campaigns and sound bites. One significant example is welfare "reform." We haven't even begun to talk about the consequences, perhaps especially of mandatory (super cheap) workfare replacement labor, which has been helping to phase out the middle class while suppressing wages overall.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

PLEASE WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS!! This is huge, and we must defeat it. Below is my letter, for all who would benefit from an example. If you like, just copy & paste my letter, substituting the names of your own representatives! I'm more than happy to make this easy & convenient for you. There has never been a bigger threat to life as we know it. - Aliceinwonderland

Dear Senator Merkley

I am writing to implore you to do everything in your power to kill the TPP. Our democracy is in bad enough shape without this so-called "trade agreement" putting corporations in charge of everything we depend on just to live. Look what corporate for-profit interests have already done to healthcare in this country! It is hard to imagine anything more contradictory to the interests of the middle class, let alone the working poor, than a so-called trade agreement that would kill workers' rights and minimum wage, and hijack social services in this country (i.e. the commons). This would rob us of any national or local legislative autonomy, while giving corporations the legal status of autonomous nations. It would nullify policies protecting things like food safety, internet freedom, the environment, the economy (via banking regulations), privacy and public health. Do you stand for democracy or for corporate fascism? Because when it comes to issues like the TPP, there's no middle ground. If you support this dangerous international "trade" agreement, you will be putting us all at serious risk for social & financial ruin, imposing a death sentence on many of us while condemning multitudes more to unimaginable suffering. You would be exposing all but the wealthiest Americans to a world of hurt. Haven't we been hurt enough already? Please kill the TPP before it kills us!

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Sincerely...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

Ckrob, thanks for the suggestion. I tried it. Soon as I hit the "Edit" button, the crap disappears; but then when I re-post, it's back again. Oh well! I appreciate your effort anyway. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

Right on Jerry! I'll be there in spirit. Raise hell. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 6 days ago
Quote akunard:What a shock! I thought most on this blog thought that letting the U.N. run around the Const. and tell the U.S. how to run this country was a good thing.

akunard ~ I have no idea where you got that notion. Certainly not from me.

All I said is that it was the U. N.'s job to intervene in foreign disputes and not the job of the U. S. They have no business sticking their nose in any domestic matters of any sovereign nation--with the narrow exception of the abuses of human rights.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 39 weeks 6 days ago

Yeah Akunard

you thought ...

Never mind what you thought.

There's a LOT wrong with what you thought.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 6 days ago

Aliceinwonderland: Are you pasting from a word processor?

"If using MS Word it is suggested to:

Nevermind 1. but if you are curious...go to the web site below.

2. Copy and paste the text from MS Word into "Notepad" - plain text editior - which removes MS Words external formatting

3. For a Mac I think the equivalent to Notepad is textedit - correct me if I'm wrong there

4. Then copy and paste the text from "Notepad/textedit" into the post.

5. Format the text etc within blogger

6. And publish"

http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/blogger/R1_VAHPlTVk

or, if you are using any other word processor you might try this as well. Word processors generate extra formatting code that doesn't fly well with somethings...like typing out a program in any computer programming language in a word processor is not recommended...and they recommend using a plain text editor like notepad (in Windows) or TextEdit (Apple) if not using an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 6 days ago

Aliceinwonderland: If you are not blocking javascript then try clicking on Disable rich-text at the bottom left of the Comment box. If you are blocking javascript then you won't get the "Disable rich-text" and you won't be using rich-text anyway. Either way, you will be able to enter text and it should work.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 6 days ago

Aliceinwonderland:

Here's another suggestion from a blogger at another blog site: If you're using a MS-Word:

"
Edit your post, in Compose mode.
Select the entire post.
Hit the "Remove formatting" button, in the toolbar.
Reformat everything, as desired.
Finally, Save the reformatted post.
"
http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2007/05/please-dont-use-microsoft-word-to....

That was in 2007 so if you are using a later version you might have to change the steps a bit. I don't use MS-word but use LibreOffice instead...it's an open-source (free) ms-word-like suite of programs.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 6 days ago

Oh no! It looks like some drunk young black lady knocked on the wrong rednecks door looking for help after she crashed her car at 4:00 am. One thing led to another and now guess what... George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin all over again. Oh no, say it isn't so!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/15/us-usa-crime-dearbornheights-idUSBRE9AE0I020131115

This is obviously an isolated tragic incident please, please don't try to put a racial spin on it again. Arggg! Enough already! NO MEDIA CIRCUS!!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 6 days ago

Apropos to #20 ~ It does however demonstrate one thing... This is probably the only time Mr. Wafer ever used his gun. Look at all the hardship it has caused him and Renisha; and, for no reason. One life lost, the other changed forever. Makes you wonder how many people actually successfully protect themselves with gun ownership, versus those who become victims? One split second mistake and a life is taken. Is it really worth the risk?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

Marc! I'm surprised at you! Forget the media circus; these murders are most definitely racist. How can you deny the obvious?! Don't you recognize a pattern here?!!! These stupid, paranoid white folks need to get a grip... on themselves, not their guns. The perpetrators always skate free, as if shooting unarmed black teenagers (for no reason!) was somehow justified. I am sickened and outraged by these murders and would love to see the killers punished, to the full extent of the law.

There is no justice in America. We live in a country where people can get life in prison with no parole for petty drug offenses. One such case involved a kid who stole a $150 jacket from Walmart! Life in prison without parole! (Heard about this tonight in fact, on Democracy Now.) Yet a schoolteacher who rapes a fourteen-year-old student serves only thirty days in the slammer, while these redneck hillbillies can use black teenagers for target practice without consequence. What in the hell's wrong with this picture?!

That story has been circulating for days now; maybe a week or longer. Yet you sound surprised, like it's new to you. Where ya been, my friend?! - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

Palindromedary, thank you for taking the time to offer all these suggestions. I'm copying & pasting them into a "tech support" file for future reference. However I'll confess, being not the slightest bit tech savvy, I can't understand most of what you are saying. However my husband is much more in tune with this stuff than I am, so your efforts are not wasted. He seems to understand enough of it to help me implement your advice. I had a vague sense that it was something like what you've described; an encoded something-or-other. Anyway, your response is much appreciated. From previous posts of yours, I'd already gathered that you are very skilled in this area. With luck, we'll nip this in the bud. Again, thanks! - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 6 days ago

Thanks, AIW, but I'm no expert...far from it..I just use the Google search to find things that fix my problems. I didn't know how much you knew about computers. Good luck!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 6 days ago

DAnneMarc: Thanks for that link. That is the first time I've heard about this. I don't always listen to the news so I obviously missed that one. What a shame! Some racist clown, with a security clearance no-less, kills someone at his door. Big brave super-hero, huh? Chicken-sh!t coward, I'd say. Afraid of a woman on the other side of his door? What a wuss! Why didn't he just close the main door if he felt threatened? No, you just can't kill someone like that unless you are in imminent danger by that person. Self defense is a case. But that was no self-defense.

You can't even kill someone who actually manages to break into your home unless they are armed and/or there is an imminent threat that they will kill you. Now there could be a case whereby if the intruder was much bigger and more powerful than you...their superior strength could kill you..as in a man intruder of a woman living alone...and you might have a case.

Problem is that we hear of these rare occasions of misuse of guns and it gets all the press and that threatens gun ownership. And you can bet it won't stop with the more powerful high tech weapons. After all this was a low tech shotgun. So, where will the anti-gun people stop? When all guns are banned? Then where will it head after that? Ban knives? Cars? Gasoline? Bic lighters? (Some kid in SF on a bus was set afire because he was wearing a dress). Guns don't kill people...people (usually very deranged people) kill people. And that's true whether they are sporting a gun or a knife or can of gasoline and a lighter.

I wonder if Wafer was on some sort of psychotropic drug as all the other killers were? Maybe they need to ban psychotropic drugs! Or, at least screen people a lot better than they do now. And I agree with you, DAnneMarc, we need more psychiatric institutions to treat these people. But not just with psychotropic drugs...they need to be monitored and more carefully screened than what the current medical doctors are doing now.

Our medical doctors have long been gravitating to pill pushers who just want to get you in, then out, of their offices...hooked on dangerous...or perhaps ineffective, drugs that the pharmaceuticals strongly entice doctors to prescribe. Guns don't kill people....people on dangerous psychotropic drugs kill people.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 6 days ago

Was Obamacare a wag-the-dog smoke-screen in the attempt to distract us from TPP? While we are all being scared to death (in some cases, I'm sure) over Obamacare...web site failures...etc..they may have been just trying to hide TPP while they secretly slip it into law. What's next invading Iran? Announcing that aliens have landed their space ship somewhere in an undisclosed area?

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 39 weeks 6 days ago

50 years after the murder of JFK it is becoming clear who our real enemy is and that the war on terror is a sham meant to keep us off balance and off track. It will not stand.

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 6 days ago

I find it hard to comment on the TPP as like you I know nothing about it. We only see what is leaked and that might not be accurate. What happened? Governments seem to do what they want pushing things through without public consultation. just look at the ACA. Did anyone know what was in it when they signed it in to law.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 6 days ago

Kend - Here you go again, putting the ACA in the same category as the TPP. Willful ignorance. If you read my looooong post the other day, describing the TPP in detail, you would know something about it. There's a big difference, Kend, between the ACA and the TPP. The ACA is something we're better off with, because it opens the door a crack for universal single-payer to eventually slip through. Meanwhile the TPP is part of a scheme to make this even more of a third world country, leaving us even more disempowered and impoverished. - AIW

David in Vegas's picture
David in Vegas 39 weeks 6 days ago

While I disagree with Thom on most policy decisions, I recognize and give thanks for his dilligent efforts in finding critical information like that presented in this post. Very Well done! Please, in this, let us put aside our differences and do what needs be done to make the rest of America aware of this situation. (As well as communicating our displeasure directly to our representatives.)

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 6 days ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ Like you I don't watch much TV. I had the news on Friday trying to find out if it was going to rain Saturday and Sunday and Wallah! As far as I am can tell it may have indeed been racist, although with alcohol and drugs involved who knows what really happened? Again, the only eye witness who survived is the perpetrator. Also, as far as I am concerned you can take the redneck out and shoot him. NP! Supposedly he was the only sober person at the scene; and, there was a door between him and the girl. In my book that makes him responsible for anything that happened. What type of man pulls a gun on a woman anyway; especially, a drunk and injured one on the other side of a door? Give me a break! It was probably murder; and, likely may have had racist overtones. Nevertheless, all I'm saying is please don't make a bloody media circus out of this. It's not going to do any good. If anything it's just going to stir the pot of racism in this country and that is the last thing we need when we need to come together and address far more pressing problems. Lets face it, how many drunken black ladies get shot asking for help on the porch of white men every year in this country? Hummm? Hardly an epidemic. Besides you know and I know that the media craves anything they can turn into a white v black issue just to piss people off at each other and boost ratings. You also should also know that as long as people have different colored skin there will always be tensions that can be easily ignited along those lines. Like Loren Bliss said, the people of this nation have been so dumbed down and oppressed they are receptive to accepting any scapegoat the media wants to toss their way. The media doesn't give a crap about black people. They just want them to watch their channel, hate white people; and, visa versa. It's good for ratings! If this story took place in Harlem between two black people it never would have made any news. I'm still waiting to hear about the shooting that took the life of a 9 year old black girl, her mother, and two black male bystanders in my neighborhood over the summer. Chances are they were gunned down in cold blood by a black man. It may have even been an accident. They might have gotten in the way. That type of racial genocide happens every week where I live. Very real and very deliberate murder of black people. Although you will probably never hear a word about it where you live. Do you really think the media cares at all about black people?

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 6 days ago

Alice yes you are right they are completely different. What is the same is how they are implementing them.

David in Vegas's picture
David in Vegas 39 weeks 6 days ago

There are many points to be made on either side of this argument but lets not get into ACA here. What we would like you to consider (and I think this is Kend's point above) is that contrary to Obama's assertion that this would be an 'open' administration, they continually make key (critical) decisions in the shadows denying the people a right to input on such decisions. TPP is one issue where we agree that these secret negotiations are bad and given their intent on the earlier efforts to regulate the internet, our Government is not to be trusted - because they are hiding the process and information.

Lets stay focused and get this information out because very few know what is going on here.

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 6 days ago

DAnne, you said a couple of days ago that you choose not to work 16 hours a day. You mention you would rather work for some one else and leave all your work problems at work. So why is it when I choose to take all that risk and do all that hard work you want me to share MY wealth with you. That is why we will never agree on anything. I believe what I earn is mine, of course I have to pay my fair share of taxes like you but I shouldn't have to subsadise you because you don't feel like keeping up to my work habits. Should I?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 6 days ago

Palindromedary ~ Same here. It is hard to believe race was the only motivating factor in this cold blooded murder. When I first read the story I wondered if the guy wasn't impaired myself. Of course, some white people are so out of touch with black people that I can see over reacting to one showing up on your doorstep at 4:30 in the morning. I've seen white people over reacting in line at the grocery store in broad day light. But with a gun behind a door--he must have been really out of touch? This guy must have either had a huge inferiority complex or a huge gun fetish; or, both. (Often they go hand in hand.) Either way I don't cut him any slack--even if it was some kind of an accident. He had no business pointing that gun at anyone behind a closed door. Common sense says that if you suspect the person is dangerous you don't open the door you call the police. The woman apparently wanted help anyway. Calling the police would have solved both their problems. The way I understand it he owned this weapon illegally. That means no license, no registration, and no basic operating safety proficiency test. Like Aliceinwonderland and I discussed before, those steps should be the basic lawful requirements for gun ownership in any responsible society. Of course, this case goes to show that even with those laws there will be some who get around them.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 6 days ago
Quote Kend:DAnne, you said a couple of days ago that you choose not to work 16 hours a day. You mention you would rather work for some one else and leave all your work problems at work. So why is it when I choose to take all that risk and do all that hard work you want me to share MY wealth with you. That is why we will never agree on anything. I believe what I earn is mine, of course I have to pay my fair share of taxes like you but I shouldn't have to subsadise you because you don't feel like keeping up to my work habits. Should I?

Kend ~ When I said I don't want to own and manage a business I only gave you the main reasons for that decision. Paying higher taxes goes with the territory. I didn't mention it because higher wages also goes with the territory. I'm not particularly interested in either cofactor. However, if I were to work that much harder, and earn that much more, I certainly wouldn't complain about paying higher taxes.

As far as what you mean by "subsadise you" I can only guess. If you are talking about paying for the commons you are damn right you have to cough up that money. As a business owner you use a far greater percentage of the commons than I ever could. You pound the roads with huge trucks, you tear up railroad tracks with heavy trains, you drain the power grid with heavy equipment, you drain the reservoir with massive water demands, you use up government representatives valuable time negotiating your trade deals and regulating your commerce, and sometimes you benefit from the army's blood and equipment overturning foreign regimes for your benefit. In Canada the commons include universal health care that takes care of your employees so that you don't have to pay out of your pocket for rip-off insurance company premiums. You pay into public retirement programs so you save money on pensions. Yet you have the gall to complain about the pittance you pay for all these services and goods that if left up to you would leave you penniless, in dept, and out of business. You better get your priorities straight buddy and stop taking for granted the fortune you are allowed to have for all that hard work because the fact of the matter is that you would never have it if it wasn't for the benefits that the commons provide you--practically for free. Don't forget, no matter how much you are taxed for the commons, it is the private tax payer that shoulders the biggest burden. They owe you nothing! You owe them big!

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 6 days ago

DAnne. You are doing what you get mad at me for. If you are talking about business taxes that is a whole new animal. I was talking about personal taxes. I personally don't use anything anymore than anyone else. Why does paying more taxes come with the territory. That is my whole argument . Why should you benefit from my hard work.

As far as business taxes believe me I pay. I pay for a business licence , corporate taxes, a racking permit, fire inspection permit, sprinkler permit, corprorate vehicle inspections, corperate vehicle plates, hydraulic inspecttion permits, higher utility rates for corporations,, dangerous goods permit, don't even get me started on the accounts I have to pay for just to count the money I make.

what I have learned on this blog is although the left hates people like me. You need me. You need me to risk ever thing I owned and work endless hours to subsadise you so you can go to your 7.4 hour a day jobs with your 5 weeks holidays. you need me to worry all night long so you dont have to. But it is just never enough. You have the RIGHT to everythiing I have and you won't be happy until you get everything I have. 90% of my money at any level is insane.

As far as Canadian universal health care. I pay for that in the massive taxes I pay. We all do as we should. the government does make any money they just spend Ours. I also pay about $200 per employee per month for addition coverage. Remember we just have basic care from our provinces. That doesn't cover meds, eye care, dental, ambulance, etc. most Americans think we get free health care here it isn't free unless you don't work.

SteveS's picture
SteveS 39 weeks 5 days ago

The TPP is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever devised (because it's being written by the big transnational companies), and it prompted me to write formal letters to my senators and congressional representative. I also phoned their offices and sent individual email messages to them. It has to be stopped.

Sadly, it shows that President Obama is a corporatist at heart and that he doesn't care about democracy. Either that, or he's hopelessly out of touch with what's going on.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 39 weeks 5 days ago

Kend, try a different subterfuge, surely you can do better than that. You couldn't begin to compare ACA to TFPP. ACA was negotiated and worked out openly. The media reported on its progress constantly. The information was available for the public to access and the media reported on it and it was passed only after much negotiating with Congress. Anybody who didn't know about it just didn't bother to look or didn't even listen to the news.

The contents of TPP aren't even revealed to MEMBERS OF CONGRESS and, yeah, it's hard for you to comment on something you know nothing about, it's hard for Congress to critically appraise and negotiate and approve or disapprove of something they know nothiong about and it's hard for the American (or Canadian) people to give consent to something they know nothing about.

The fact that noone knows anything about it, if nothing else, IS the issue regardless of the contents and any reasonable person would have to conclude that there must be something very not kosher with the contents for it to be kept so quiet.

Anything else, Kend?

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 5 days ago

The contents of the ACA. Where released just a few weeks before the vote. Hardly enough time to read it properly before the vote. It didn't matter what was in it they would have passed it anyway. Didn't Nancy Pelosi say you have to pass it to find out what is in it.

you are going to get your universal health though no matter how many lies where told to get you to vote for it. I warned you, if you think health care is expense just wait until it's free. The bottom line is everyone will have health care. i have to admit something had to be done it is crazy that everyone wasnt covered. I am just saying you have no idea what that is going to cost you. That is if you are working of course. If your not it is truly free.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 5 days ago
Quote Kend:If you are talking about business taxes that is a whole new animal. I was talking about personal taxes. I personally don't use anything anymore than anyone else. Why does paying more taxes come with the territory.

Kend ~ Again, you are mistaken. The more money you make in wages the greater demand and responsibility you have for the commons. Perhaps 90% could be negotiated. Anything above 50% at a certain level will have the desired effect. Higher personal income also drains the commons at a faster rate then lower income. A person living in a studio apartment in the ghetto doesn't use the sewer, street maintenance, lighting, garbage, and police patrols like someone living in a 5 bedroom house in a wealthy residential neighborhood. You know I can't for the life of me understand what goes through the mind of someone like you. Do you have no concept of how lucky you are and how dependant you, your family, and your property is on the commons? My father would routinely work overtime to get into your level of income. Then he would have a cow when he got his paycheck and saw the majority of the pay increase disappear as a result of his higher tax bracket. It would force a normal man to settle for regular time work; thus, increase the demand for the labor force. (ie create jobs.) Unfortunately my father wasn't an "normal" man. Neither are you. Like you higher taxes did nothing to stop him from going back for more. You want to work that much harder then you have to shoulder the tax burden that comes with the higher pay. So does everyone else. My father accepted it. Why can't you? Get used to it. Stop whining like a school girl. Very immature!

Quote Kend:That is my whole argument . Why should you benefit from my hard work.

Kend ~ That is the most short-sighted, greedy, and clueless question I have ever heard. I don't benefit from your hard work, society does. Are you telling me that your only motivation for putting in those long hours is to fill your pockets? You feel no need whatsoever to serve your community? You don't even feel that you owe anything to the society that has made your wealth possible? If so it amazes me that you have been able to run a successful company because putting yourself in you customers shoes is an essential skill required for success. Kend, you are obviously drinking the Reich Wing Kool Aide that claims that every man is an island and it's every man for themselves. Wake up my friend. You live in a society; and, whether you want to admit it or not, you depend on that society for every nano bit of sustenance in your life. The fact of the matter is that every penny you pay in taxes comes right back to you in services and resources that make your lifestyle possible. Wake up and smell the coffee--you are not an island, and if you were truly left to fend for yourself you would be dead before sunset.

Quote Kend:As far as business taxes believe me I pay. I pay for a business licence , corporate taxes, a racking permit, fire inspection permit, sprinkler permit, corprorate vehicle inspections, corperate vehicle plates, hydraulic inspecttion permits, higher utility rates for corporations,, dangerous goods permit, don't even get me started on the accounts I have to pay for just to count the money I make.

Kend ~ Now it is you who are confusing business with personal taxes.

Quote Kend:what I have learned on this blog is although the left hates people like me. You need me. You need me to risk ever thing I owned and work endless hours to subsadise you so you can go to your 7.4 hour a day jobs with your 5 weeks holidays. you need me to worry all night long so you dont have to. But it is just never enough.

Kend ~ You are right! People like me do need people like you. However, you need people like me far more than people like me need people like you. The last thing people like me need are greedy parasites who suck up our limited resources and money and don't want to pay their fair share of the burden. We need people like you who are willing to carry their own weight. People like you--who are really like you--we need like we need a hole in the head.

Quote Kend:As far as Canadian universal health care. I pay for that in the massive taxes I pay. We all do as we should. the government does make any money they just spend Ours. I also pay about $200 per employee per month for addition coverage. Remember we just have basic care from our provinces. That doesn't cover meds, eye care, dental, ambulance, etc. most Americans think we get free health care here it isn't free unless you don't work.

Kend ~ Oh, boo hoo! The owner of our company pays more than $1K/mo for coverage per employee and that doesn't even come close to what you get with your tax contribution. Nothing you've mentioned is covered with our coverage either Our employees have had a $5K deductible to pay for any service. That includes simple office visits and all the other services that you take for granted. Fortunately that debacle is ending with the ACA and our new insurance is a bit more practical. We are told that thanks to the ACA the quality of coverage should increase while the price should decrease in the future. The owner of our company doesn't whine about any of this much worse situation than what you are talking about. Of course he is a man about it and not a sniveling little brat.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 5 days ago

Marc, that's an excellent, well-thought-out reply. You make many valid points. In fact, there's virtually nothing in that long post I can see to argue with. So please let me explain where I was coming from, and what fueled the kind of response I'd given your previous post. I'll keep this as brief as I can.

What fueled my agitation was remembering a post you'd made months ago, during my sabbatical from this blog. Even when I wasn't participating, I still would take occasional peeks just to see what y'all were up to. Sometime last spring or maybe earlier, you'd stated you thought Zimmerman was innocent. It made my head explode. Not only that, it completely baffled me.

That aside, Marc, I still agree with everything said in your last response. Should you choose to explain what convinced you of Zimmerman's "innocence", I'd be very interested in what you have to say. But I'm not trying to make it mandatory. We're on the same page most of the time anyway. - Aliceinwonderland

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 5 days ago

DAnne, seriously are you kidding me. First of all people in bigger house pay for the infrastructure when they buy the house then they pay more property taxes. So you know weathly people don't use the bathroom more. Just because I make more doesn't mean I have a bigger responsibility to the commons. That's what you want And believe. I do believe in the more you make the more you pay but there should be a cap of about 35%, here in Canada we have a 50% cap a little highrr than I lIke but then again we get FREE health care.

I guess every time this comes up it bothers me that anyone thinks there are untitled to my hard earned money. It just doesn't seem right to me.

what is missing now a days is because we pay soooooo much in taxes not as many people donate there time and money. Most feel they gave enough through there taxes. Here in Alberta all of our air ambulances are funded with donations Nobody pays for those rides. I personally donate every year to them because I believe in it. When I bitch about taxes it isn't the roads and healthcare I am bitching about it is one of 500 government "department of we don't need it" I hate paying for. I am tired of money tax dollars to stupid studies we don't need. They just did one on if teenagers drink will they be more likely to have sex. Come every teen age boy knows the answer to that.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 39 weeks 5 days ago

How is it that some people can work 16 hours a day and still find time to participate in these blogs? I work 0 hours a day, because I am retired, although I have other things to do ...but nothing like dedicating 16 hours a day actually working. The employers would all be nothing if they didn't have their employees to make money for them.

Employers need to get off their high horses and egoistical and egotistical, self-congratulatory, braggadocio pulpits and fess up to the fact that none of them would be worth "spit" if it wasn't for their employees making all the money for them. But "spit" is just about what the employers want to contribute to their worker's well-beings. Just because someone "gets lucky" in getting an offer that puts them into a position of controlling others in the endeavor of making money doesn't mean that they are especially worthy of it any more than any of his/her peons are. He is only "just luckier than they are". And don't think your employees don't know this already. It's something they won't tell you up front. But they know. It's what they are thinking but won't say to your face. They'd likely get fired.

Makes one wonder why the secretaries are not the CEOs or owners of some businesses instead of the simpletons who hires them. Much of it has to do with various things like a super ego, good luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right ambitions, being calculating and devious, and perhaps even being lucky enough to inherit enough money to get started in running one's incipient empire.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 5 days ago

Kend, your constant rants about how much healthcare is going to cost us have gotten SO OLD. Again, it is willful ignorance, and neither I nor Marc or Mark S. will let you get away with it.

If you really wanna know how we can pay for healthcare in this country, try reading the excellent article Marc posted about a week ago, on that very subject. I'll include it here for your convenience:

An article by Physicians For A National Health Care Program

"Medicare for All" would cover everyone, save billions in first year: new study wrote: Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.

That’s the chief finding of a new fiscal study by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. There would even be money left over to help pay down the national debt, he said.

"Medicare for All" would cover everyone, save billions in first year: new study wrote: Friedman says his analysis shows that a nonprofit single-payer system based on the principles of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 45 other lawmakers, would save an estimated $592 billion in 2014. That would be more than enough to cover all 44 million people the government estimates will be uninsured in that year and to upgrade benefits for everyone else.

“No other plan can achieve this magnitude of savings on health care,” Friedman said.

"Medicare for All" would cover everyone, save billions in first year: new study wrote: “These savings would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to our health system, including the achievement of truly universal coverage, improved benefits, and the elimination of premiums, co-payments and deductibles, which are major barriers to people seeking care,” he said.

"Medicare for All" would cover everyone, save billions in first year: new study wrote: Over the next decade, the system’s savings from reduced health inflation (“bending the cost curve”), thanks to cost-control methods such as negotiated fees, lump-sum payments to hospitals, and capital planning, would amount to an estimated $1.8 trillion.

"Medicare for All" would cover everyone, save billions in first year: new study wrote: Friedman said the plan would be funded by maintaining current federal revenues for health care and imposing new, modest tax increases on very high income earners. It would also be funded by a small increase in payroll taxes on employers, who would no longer pay health insurance premiums, and a new, very small tax on stock and bond transactions.

“Such a financing scheme would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, restore free choice of physician, guarantee all necessary medical care, improve patient health and, because it would be financed by a program of progressive taxation, result in 95 percent of all U.S. households saving money,” Friedman said.

Friedman’s findings are consistent with other research showing large savings from a single-payer plan. Single-payer fiscal studies by other economists, such as Kenneth E. Thorpe (2005), have arrived at similar conclusions, as have studies conducted by the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accountability Office in the early 1990s. Other studies have documented the administrative efficiency and other benefits of Canada’s single-payer system in comparison with the current U.S. system.

Friedman’s research was commissioned by Physicians for a National Health Program, a nonprofit research and educational organization of more than 18,000 doctors nationwide, which wanted to find out how much a single-payer system would cost today and how it could be financed.

Kend's picture
Kend 39 weeks 5 days ago

I truly hope your right Alice. time will tell.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 5 days ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:Should you choose to explain what convinced you of Zimmerman's "innocence", I'd be very interested in what you have to say.

Aliceinwonderland ~ That's a long story. Here goes. When I first heard the story I, like most people, assumed George Zimmerman was guilty of a hate crime. Everything the media said suggested that was an open and shut case. (To tell you the truth at first I did my best to avoid the story and participating in discussions about it because quite frankly senseless racial violence makes me sick to my stomach.)

One day I had the task of taking my vehicle in for regular maintenance. The appointment was early in the morning and I made the mistake of not bringing a book with me. While I sat in the waiting room the television was broadcasting the trial of George Zimmerman. I was stuck watching it for two and a half hours. During that time I heard enough evidence to convince me that Zimmerman was innocent. That is innocent of cold blooded premeditated murder. I thought he was guilty of aggravated manslaughter. His main mistake began when he got out of his vehicle and pursued the "suspect." Unfortunately, other than being stupid that isn't really a crime; yet, it is enough for me to discount the "self defense" claim.

The defense, with the recorded evidence and witness testimony provided, did an excellent job of proving that Trayvon physically attacked Zimmerman after Zimmerman confronted him. After they did that I realized that Zimmerman was going to walk. Watching the trial changed my opinion 180 degrees. Remember, originally I--like you--assumed Zimmerman was guilty as charged. Unlike many people I made that assumption on the facts that were presented to me. I firmly believe that many of the people who believe he was guilty wanted to believe he was guilty. They wanted a scapegoat. They wanted blood for blood. They didn't care about the facts. Go back and listen to some of the posts here on that topic. Some insisted that everyone lied and made up their own likely scenarios that had nothing to do with the facts, reality, or logic. And that door swung both ways too. Many people I've spoke with that believed Zimmerman was innocent didn't have a clue as to why as well. It was just because he was white and that was the color they were betting on. It was really quite an amazing Cultural phenominon. Loren Bliss's Moron Nation. That's why most of the people I've discussed what I've learned with don't want to hear or believe the facts. They already know "the truth" and don't need any facts to cloud that. Very disturbing; although, in many ways, I can see where they are coming from. Nevertheless Alice, I think that I can assure you that if you were to see the evidence in that courtroom like I did, with your objective mind, you would have changed your mind too.

Like I said before--Zimmerman was guilty of aggravated manslaughter. I don't know if I would have called it self defense because he had no business getting out of his car in the first place. It wasn't like he was walking home minding his own business when Trayvon attacked him--it was he who was chasing Trayvon. If I was on the jury I wouldn't have bought the "stand your ground" defense in this case. You don't chase a man with a gun and end up shooting him when he confronts and attacks you and not call that a crime. However, it certainly wasn't premeditated first degree murder by any means. Perhaps I was mistaken if I had said he was completely innocent. Sorry for the misunderstanding. In my opinion he was only innocent of the charges against him.

Of course I do understand how the system can tie the hands of the jury. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is a handicap that is designed to protect the wrongfully accused from the full fury of the system. It is truly a shame that the system doesn't equally protect everyone like it did Zimmerman; especially, in the case of black men. That is a fact that is irrefutable. In this case the jury was walking a very thin line between jurisprudence, lack of solid evidence, racial tension, and revenge. Considering the circumstances, I think they did a fairly good job.

In the end, this tragedy was the result of two people who both made bad decisions that were to some degree or another quite probably fueled by racial tension. Racism is a form of hatred; and, hatred of any kind has a way of making people stupid. If Trayvon did the smart and logical thing like run as fast as he could to his relatives house he would still be alive. If George thought clearly, stayed in his car and waited for the police Trayvon would still be alive. To be brutally honest turning to confront a stranger in the dark at night is just as stupid as Zimmerman getting out of his car. Sometimes it takes two to tango.

In that light, I can also say that in the recent case Ranisha was no angel either. Driving around after smoking weed with three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system showed that she had little respect for human life as well. What would have happened if she ran over and killed some innocent people with her car that night? It was very possible you know. She did crash her car. I suggest we all remember that little fact when the media tries to turn this story into a circus frenzy of racial hatred. I hope and pray that doesn't happen. I've seen enough protest on the streets about stupidity and not enough about tyranny. (By the way, the mere fact that the media actually covered the Trayvon Martin riots and protest should send up a red flag that the whole story was a Red Herring.) Oh, well, enough of blaming the victims. I really hate to do that. Makes me feel like the very people I detest. I hope that answer wasn't too shocking. Still friends?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 5 days ago

Of course we're still friends, Marc, but we'll just have to disagree on this one. And I strongly disagree. In other people's homes, on their TV screens, I caught glimpses of the Zimmerman trial. I also read articles about it as well as hearing Democracy Now's version of the story. The fact is, Mr. Z was a disaster waiting to happen. This man had a long history of violent behavior, includng domestic violence. Even after the asshole was aquitted, the violence didn't stop. During some kind of family squabble, he punched his father-in-law in the face. His wife, last I heard, was suing for divorce. This guy is nothing but trouble. He is clearly a bully and a predator, as well as a racist; just your all-around trouble magnet.

Mr. Z stalked that kid, who tried to get away from him, at least initially. I guess it's kinda hard to outrun an SUV, or whatever Mr. Z was driving that night. Frankly Marc, I think it's incredible that you'd be so judgmental of what a 17 year old kid would do while caught in such a scary, threatening encounter as this, at no fault of his own, after being hunted down like some sort of game animal by this predator. Mister Z somehow decided Trayvon was a criminal... Based on what? Walking while black, in a gated neighborhood?! Just mindless knee-jerk assumptions of Mr. Z's, that a black teenager didn't "belong" in that particular neighborhood, and therefore had to be up to no good. Assumptions based on nothing. And let's not forget all those phone calls Mr. Z made to the police, before killing Trayvon, when they told him to back off and leave the kid alone; advice Mr. Z chose to disregard. Innocent, my foot. Had Zimmerman taken the advice of the police in the first place, Trayvon would still be alive.

Anyway Marc, there is simply no way you're going to convince me that stalking a perfect stranger at night without provocation, then confronting him with a gun, didn't amount to premeditation. I don't know every miniscule detail of the case, or who took the first swing; no one really does. But no doubt, Trayvon was terrified. Who wouldn't be?! Whatever he did during that fatal encounter had to have been in panic, a futile effort at self defense. As I see it, Trayvon did absolutely nothing to cause his death.

I totally get it, Marc, how the media exploits these cases without giving a flippin' damn about black people. I see how racism gets used as just another wedge issue by the corporate media, along with abortion, gay marriage, guns and so forth, all to keep us distracted, divided and clueless while the oligarchs plunder away. But that doesn't change the fact that for black teenagers nowadays, this country remains an unsafe place to live, a virtual war zone. Black kids in America are way more likely to end up dead by violent means or in jail than their white counterparts. Maybe this is a symptom of a much bigger problem, rather than an isolated issue. But it deserves to be acknowledged by us white folks honestly and with due respect; certainly not trivialized as less-than-urgent, or minimized in any way.

Guess I'm talked out for now. Anyway Marc, we don't have to agree all the time. You're still one of my favorite blog buddies. Life goes on... (SIGH) - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 39 weeks 5 days ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ Thanks for the reassurance. Also thanks for your side of the discussion. I had no idea Mr. Z had such a "personality disorder." Personally, I do my best to limit my exposure to such miserable people. I can't say I have much experience with such types of personalities at all. I'm very grateful for that. You might remember such individuals here totally caught me off guard and left me with a rather shall we say perplexed reaction. After hearing what you've learned I have to admit that my suspicions that the man is actually guilty may have taken another flip flop. To me, such individuals are quite the mystery. I can't for the life of me understand what makes them tick.

However, what I suspect, what is admissible evidence in a court, and what really happened are not necessarily the same things. In a court, as you know, the burden falls on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed. The sad fact in this matter is that the chief witness in this case is conveniently no longer able to testify. The system has flaws, but it is the best system possible; and, I don't want to change it. In the Zimmerman case the prosecutor had a daunting task. From what I saw, he did everything possible to trip up Zimmerman and failed. A case is only as good as the evidence. In this case, despite our emotions, there was absolutely no concrete evidence to suspect that anything Mr. Z said was a lie. And, even if your suspicions are right, Mr. Z could have simply told the truth without incriminating himself. What his intent was wasn't on trial. Only the facts of what happened were.

As far as Zimmerman is concerned--if your suspicions are right, and I'm sure they are--the man still has to stand trial in the court of Karma. As I have learned in the past that is a court in which no one escapes justice. I am sure that it is only a matter of time before Mr. Z brings about his own judgement. He will fall by his own hand of stupidity. In the same way O.J. brought about his own judgement, Mr. Z will undoubtedly bring about his. (By the way, O. J. was another person who I was sure was guilty right up to the time I watched the trial and then flip flopped. Remember, all the defense has to do is to raise the slightest doubt and the accused walks. A good defense attorney is a wizard at raising that doubt.) Nevertheless, I firmly believe that you can escape the imperfect judgement of men rather easily; but, you can never escape the truth that lies in your own heart.

PS Please don't ask me about my experience with O. J. That was a really long time ago and I don't remember the details. All I remember was that my opinion was changed. I tend not to let emotions get in the way of my opinions. I try to be as objective as possible. In that way, my opinions are easy to change when the given facts change. I hate to admit I was wrong; but, I hate being wrong even more.

Mary H.W.'s picture
Mary H.W. 39 weeks 5 days ago

The Trans-Pacific Partnership should be referred to as the Trans-Pacific PIRATE SHIP.......And should be sunk before it has a chance to leave the dock.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 39 weeks 4 days ago

Mary, how succint! I concur. - Alice I.W.

Earth's credit card has been maxed out!

If Earth's resources were a credit card, we have already maxed out our entire allocation for this year. The think thank Global Footprint Network announced that August 19th was “Earth Overshoot Day,” meaning that all the resources we use after that day exceed what our planet can produce in a single year.

From Screwed:
"If we are going to live in a Democracy, we need to have a healthy middle class. Thom Hartmann shows us how the ‘cons’ have wronged this country, and tells us what needs to be done to reclaim what it is to be American."
Eric Utne, Founder, Utne magazine
From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"With the ever-growing influence of corporate CEOs and their right-wing allies in all aspects of American life, Hartmann’s work is more relevant than ever. Throughout his career, Hartmann has spoken compellingly about the value of people-centered democracy and the challenges that millions of ordinary Americans face today as a result of a dogma dedicated to putting profit above all else. This collection is a rousing call for Americans to work together and put people first again."
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO