What Congress does when we're not watching...

What Congress does when we're not watching...

While the media was focused on Chris Christie and “Bridge-gate”, Congress moved closer to accepting a massive, international trade agreement. On Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators proposed legislation to give the Obama Administration the power to fast-track the Trans Pacific Partnership and other controversial trade deals. The White House welcomed the fast-track proposal, and issued a statement saying, “We need to use every tool we have to knock down trade barriers.”

If this legislation passes, the President could push through the TPP and other deals, and Congress would only get an up or down vote on whether or not to approve them. The TPP is the largest of these proposed deals, as it includes the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, and nearly all of its provisions have been negotiated in secret. The few sections of the TPP that have been leaked have exposed the danger of this trade deal – to our jobs, our environment, our civil rights, and even our national sovereignty. This massive trade agreement would even allow mega-corporations to challenge U.S. regulations that stand in the way of their unending greed.

We don't need free trade, which drives down wages and sends more American jobs over seas, we need fair trade. And, we certainly don't need to give corporations any more power to put profit over people. Congress must never give up their power to debate and amend trade agreements, and they must stop the Trans Pacific Partnership from destroying our jobs, our civil rights, and our national sovereignty.

Comments

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 31 weeks 5 days ago

Thom, maybe I oughta try calling you sometime while you're on the air. I would love to ask why you're still so Obama-friendly, knowing he's behind the TPP... even to the point of wanting to fast-track it! Between that and his hit lists with murder-by-drone, I've had my fill of President Obama. I am ashamed of myself for having squandered my vote on this smooth-talking fascist. "Change we can believe in" has turned out to be little more than a clever sales pitch.

I think Loren Bliss was onto something. According to Mr. Bliss, our last presidential election was just a total farce. Staging Romney as Obama's opponent guaranteed Obama's second term, which was the agenda all along. I feel duped, and I am very afraid for our future. We've been conned on a massive scale. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 31 weeks 4 days ago

Well I hope everyone has written the President and their congressmen on this issue. I sure did; and, did my best to get everyone I know to do the same. That is about all we can do in this matter. Even if fast-tracked, I'd be shocked if the thing passes. Although, I'm fairly certain that if it does pass, it will be without the vote or approval of any of my congressmen. Of course, if fast-tracked, another confirmation letter against the legislation will certainly be in order from all of us.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 31 weeks 4 days ago

As I have been saying, ubiquitous media shapes water-cooler dialogue and with it, the dialogue on Capital Hill. Without control of it, no other issue in the interest of the people will ever be dealt with legislatively. We MUST be on guard. Every time a corporate media circus is created in the left hand, (not to be confused w/ left) the right hand (not to be confused w/ correct) is up to no good. The scariest thing is that the powers elite, (the unholy marriage of Wall Street [Dems] and Dirty Energy [Repubs]) have gotten very good at distracting us on the one hand while using the distraction to cement their bidding in the Public Mind with the other. In this case they’re using Bridge Gate to slither around our awareness of the TPP while at the same time cementing a SHillary presidency. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until all who call themselves ‘progressive’ realize that at the national level, we have no more hope of reforming the Dems from within than we would the Mafia. We need our progressive voices with influence to start educating the people re. Candidates like Kshama Sawant. With both Dems and Repubs in Congress receiving approval ratings lower than dog poo and cock roaches, and POTUS and SCOTUS ratings at all time lows, with a little help from progressive voices like Thom’s we could turn the tide and force Corp. media to either cover them or lose ratings so fast their vapid chatter would be sucked into the void.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 31 weeks 4 days ago

Alice- I couldn't agree more. I voted for him the first time, and would have a second...if I hadn't lived in a hopelessly red state, just to keep Romney out. Having heard a lecture on the 'illusion of separateness' carefully strategized and orchestrated by elites of both parties and Corp. CEOs, given by a guy (who's name escapes unfortunately) who was allegedly an intern in the Clinton Admin., I am hopeless about the National Dem Party. Locally, not necessarily, depending on where you live. My Dem. Gov. is trying to ram a pipeline down our throats and as far as marriage equality, well, you can forget it. At any rate, I truly think that we must hope for a peaceful solution, and hope to rebuild in a sustainable, peaceful way after the Great Collapse.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 31 weeks 4 days ago

treason |ˈtrēzən|
noun(also high treason )
the crime of betraying one's country, esp. by attempting to kill the sovereignty of or overthrow the government. (definition taken from macbook dictionary)

Put simply, I would submit that any one who votes for or “fast track”s the TPP, including Obama, is committing treason.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

macbook -- Doesn't that come from one of the key fascists - Steve Jobs and Apple?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

Has anyone ever seen the dems extolling the virtues of free trade? I know a lot of them are all for it, but I never here them defending it. I know when the use it the word protectionism they have a derogatory tone in their voice, but never say why. The right uses the Smoot-Hawley (sp?) act as phony an argument as it is, but the dems seem really quiet.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 31 weeks 4 days ago

Jobs or Gates...hard to avoid. Got sick of Gates' viruses and not geeky/patient enough to build my own. My old one was a custom, but still windows...

Reed.Young's picture
Reed.Young 31 weeks 4 days ago

capitalist:

1. a person who has capital, especially extensive capital, invested in business enterprises.

2. an advocate of capitalism.

The latter is exactly what the caller said a capitalist is, but Thom repeatedly said that his definition was "wrong." It isn't wrong. Definition #1 is closer to Thom's emphasis on using capital to earn more capital, but it notably does not say exclusively using capital, and it certainly does not require "sitting on one's butt waiting for a check." The phrase "especially extensive use of capital" could allow or suggest that investment-only model, but nothing in that definition *requires* that capitalists do not do any work in addition to the investment of capital. The caller seems to have been correct and Thom, incorrect. In terms of the conventional usage.

Yes, definitions of words change as the conventional usage changes, and if I recall correctly from previous Thom Hartmann Programs he does have a thorough and fairly sensible argument for using "capitalism" and "capitalist" the way he does, but it is still his usage, not The Correct Definition which is how he portrayed it just now. So his insistence that the other, quite common usage is simply "wrong" comes off as obstinate and arrogant, whereas if he explained "I use the words capitalism and capitalist like so for the following reasons" those reasons might be very enlightening. It might even occasionally persuade "2. an advocate of capitalism" not to advocate it or identify with it so much, or in some way reassess their assumptions, an outcome that I doubt will result from just insisting that they're using words incorrectly. Especially since they're in fact not using those words incorrectly, and he is.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 31 weeks 4 days ago

"SHillery" presidency... great satire, Sandlewould!! I'd love a woman in the oval office, just like I always felt about a first black president. But not just any woman will do. - AIW

Kend's picture
Kend 31 weeks 4 days ago

Every decade governments seem to think they know better than the people who elected them. Kinda scary.

On a lighter note. I walked to my Safeway down the street in Scottsdale, AZ. In the middle of the Safeway is a new wine bar. Yes I can now stop for a glass of wine while I am buying my milk and eggs. Sitting at the wine bar was a civilian guy there with a gun on his hip. God Bless America. I love this place. At home we cant buy or sell any alcohol with food anywhere. It can only be bought in a liqiuor store.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

You should go to Greece. You can drink on the beach and at nudie bars.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

Reed Young -- what makes a definition correct? Is it because it is a dictionary produced by a fascist?

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 31 weeks 4 days ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:"Change we can believe in" has turned out to be little more than a clever sales pitch.

That sales pitch translates to "Change we should all be afraid of...very afraid of!"

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 31 weeks 4 days ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:"Change we can believe in" has turned out to be little more than a clever sales pitch.

That sales pitch translates to "Change we should all be afraid of...very afraid of!"

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 31 weeks 4 days ago

Our chances of stopping this Obamanation of a treaty are about the same as our chances of restoring constitutional governance: zilch, bupkes, nada, nol, none. But we still gotta try...

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

Continuing my #14 comment. For example, when a multi-national corporation bought out Merriam-Webster in the 1980's the definition of fascism changed. It eliminated the part of the definition about the merging of state and private interests. It only changed in some versions. In two merriam-webster dictionaries I own, it is gone completely. That is, the word private (or anything similar) is not in any of the multiple definitions. My sister had some dictinaries that still included the concept of public and private merging interests.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 31 weeks 4 days ago

I liked your "Arnold"ism re change we can be afraid of... FYI, 'SHillary isn't mine, picked it up in Thom's chat. If you can, you should drop in durring the show. very entertaining..AND educational!

dbengtson's picture
dbengtson 31 weeks 4 days ago

The TPP is disgusting and shameful and must to be stopped. Any senator that votes in the affirmative, regardless of party affiliation, needs to be exposed and defeated at their next election. Corporations are taking over our planet and they have no souls. They only worship money and greed.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

My comment #21 was sent too early, I am trying to make it more readable.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

I think Obama made significant changes. They changes were not nearly as significant as I would like. I hate his love for free trade. He drank too much Clinton kool-aid. The changes I liked and would vote for am because of them:

1 Chrysler saved

2 GM Saved

3 AHCA passed (AKA Obamacare); (because of blue dogs like Max Baucus it was not a single player plan; to get Sen Baucus to sign it, Max's county got single payer.)

4 Middle class tax cut

5 Went from losing 750,000 per month to 30 straight months of job gains (in spite of Republican governors cutting 4.5 million jobs)

6 Education spending increased

7 Laws against hate crimes strengthened

8 CHIPS expanded (Children’s Health Insurance Program)

1 Chrysler Saved

9 Forced through Child Labor Laws

10 consumer protection agency formed

11 Credit card reform

12 Predatory lending to soldiers restricted

13 Troops paid for stop loss time

14 Torture stopped

15 VA spending increased

16 Women allowed to serve on subs

17 Equal pay for women

18 Nuclear arms reduction proposal

19 BP cleanup fund

20 EPA strengthened

21 FDA powers broadened

22 Healthcare for 9-11 responders funded (during Bush Term it was ignored)

23 DADT was repealed

24 Within 24 hours of his inauguration in 2009, he ordered that the financial statistics of the top 400 families should be treated like everyone else's; that is, they should not be a classified government document.

25 When the congress was adding Part D to Medicare (the prescription drug assist; I think it was in 2004) the democrats tried to pass an amendment to help fund it by a 1% income tax on incomes over 1 million.

26 In 2009-10 when Obama lost his filibuster proof senate, the senate had a record number of filibusters (380 or so); during LBJ's 6 year reign as senate majority leader there was one.

27 The bills that were filibustered would have helped our economy for both the long and short term. My favorites were the card check bill, the Disclose Act, stopping waivers for the Buy American Act of 1936 and the credits for bringing jobs back (no credits for tearing down factories to send jobs overseas.

28 Republicans supported the Reinhart-Rogoff Study used to push austerity throughout the world; The study was a total scam supported by Pete Peterson who wants all the social security money invested on wall street. It was easy to suck in democrats and the general public because too much debt being a bad thing makes intuitive sense.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 31 weeks 4 days ago
Quote Reed. Young:an advocate of capitalism" not to advocate it or identify with it so much, or in some way reassess their assumptions, an outcome that I doubt will result from just insisting that they're using words incorrectly. Especially since they're in fact not using those words incorrectly, and he is.

Reed. Young ~ I have to differ with you. I heard the same phone calls. By your own definition--that an advocate of capitalism is a capitalist--does not apply in this situation. To be a legitimate advocate of anything you have to know what it is you believe in. As Thom so eloquently demonstrated to everyone, these fervent "capitalists" confused the word "capitalism" with just about everything under the sun except for "capital." Not that this is anything new in this country. We have "conservatives" who don't have a clue what the word conservative means. We have "Christians" who don't have a clue what Christ taught. We have people screaming to "support our troops" who don't have a clue what the troops are fighting for. We have racists who don't have a clue as to why they hate other races. We have defenders of Democracy and Freedom who can neither define the words or recognize when those conditions no longer exist. We have defenders of the Constitution who are clueless as to what is written in it.

I believe that the term they use to describe believing in things that you don't understand is "superstition." Thom called it a religion; and, as such, he is right. Personally, I admire the fact that he points out to people every chance he gets how they are being mislead by the commercial media into believing all manor of superstitious nonsense that makes them more gullible and susceptible to the vast exploitation that they experience without even knowing they are victims. Kudos, Thom! Kudos! Becoming emotionally aroused over catch phrases without any understanding of what they mean is a technique as old as time that has been used to divide, subjugate, and control the masses. What we sorely need are more leaders and teachers like Thom to shed light on this public darkness.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 31 weeks 4 days ago

Loren Bliss ~ "Obamanation of a treaty." You are truly one of the most gifted political critics I've ever had the pleasure to read. Thanks for that one. I think it might get repeated around here.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 31 weeks 4 days ago

chuckle8 ~ You mentioned Chrysler twice. Not that I'm complaining. I'm a Chrysler man from way back to 1949. Point well taken though.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 31 weeks 4 days ago
Quote dbengtson:The TPP is disgusting and shameful and must to be stopped. Any senator that votes in the affirmative, regardless of party affiliation, needs to be exposed and defeated at their next election.

dbengtson ~ Very well said! I might add that we might add that sentiment in the letters and emails we send to our congressmen on the TPP. Thanks again!

Reed.Young's picture
Reed.Young 31 weeks 4 days ago
Quote DAnneMarc:I have to differ with you. I heard the same phone calls. By your own definition...

No, the definition is not mine. I made sure to link to the source in the first word of that post for the exact reason that nobody may imagine that I'm just making up a definition to suit myself. I found that definition on dictionary.reference.com and I don't claim that it is "the" definition, but it is close enough to the common usage to be some lexicographers' best attempt at "the" definition. So I admit that it might not be exactly or absolutely right, but it's close enough that I find it wrong of Thom to insist (especially since he never cited his own source) that such definition is absolutely wrong. In fact, the caller's usage of capitalism and capitalist are among several correct definitions of those words. To borrow a phrase from Danforth Quayle, both are "valid lifestyle choices" and Thom merely prefers different definitions, which are also correct. His preference is not the only right usage of those words, a concept I know he understands and appreciates as it applies to other subjects, when he isn't being pedantic.

Quote DAnneMarc:...--that an advocate of capitalism is a capitalist--does not apply in this situation. To be a legitimate advocate of anything you have to know what it is you believe in.

Between numerous interruptions, the caller did state what he believes capitalism is and why he is a capitalist, and the fact is that the caller was not wrong this time, Thom was.

Quote DAnneMarc:Personally, I admire the fact that he points out to people every chance he gets how they are being misled by the commercial media into believing all manner of superstitious nonsense that makes them more gullible and susceptible to the vast exploitation that they experience without even knowing they are victims.

So do I. But I think that confidently proclaiming things that are wrong is best left to Republicans and I just mean to help him stop doing that.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 31 weeks 4 days ago

Wow! Like that's what we need, another "NAFTA." Sheesh! When will they ever stop screwing over the American people? When will they stop turning America into another third world country of surfs, where there is no quality of work of product? I've put up with this crap for thirty three years now, and I'm just so sick and tired of it. Unbelievable! President Obama should know better.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 31 weeks 4 days ago

Says Sandlewould: "I would submit that anyone who votes for or 'fast tracks' the TPP, including Obama, is committing treason." And I agree, absolutely. This thought has occurred to me too, more than once. However I've much stronger feelings about the killing of our sovereignty being an act of treason than the overthrow of the government. What we are getting from this government is taxation without representation. Under such circumstances, I question whether overthrowing it would fit that definition, since our president's support of the TPP (ditto many members of Congress) is treasonous by design. - Aliceinwonderland

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 31 weeks 4 days ago

Does anyone know the names of the Democratic Senators involved in this bipartisan group in favor of fast-tracking more wealth to those who don't need it? I only know of Baucus. You may ask why does it matter?

I'm quite sure if voters in my district knew the content of the Ryan Budget Plans and the fact that our Tea Party House Rep. Thom Reed has voted yes on them, it would be the end of his government gravy train ride. With that logic in mind, the TPP is every bit as heinous as Ryan's fantasies. So let's expose the names and deeds of these deadbeats and replace them with third party candidates such as Kshama Sawats....as sandlewould suggests. But as sandlewould also pointed out, we need progressive voices like Thom's to overcome the corpse media and another equally hideous road block on repeal of free trade known as the Chamber of Fascist Commerce.

The funny thing about Obama's involvement in all of this, not only will the Teapublican Party still despise him, even after signing such an anti-labor law, which they love, most of his base will too.....what the hell?

As a side note, back in 2010, Democrats lead by House member Gene Taylor pushed legislation to repeal NAFTA.....the Chamber of Republican Fascists beat it down.

So I say, expose the enemy of the working people by name and replace them with Democratic Socialists.

Like Loren Bliss says, "we still gotta try."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 31 weeks 4 days ago

Johnnie D, I so appreciate your sentiments. I can't even find words that will do justice to the depth of my anger towards Obomba, over his attempts to fast-track the TPP. Ditto his endorsement of indefinite detention without trial, and murder-by-drone. Constitutional scholar my ass. Obomba hasn't upheld or protected jack shit, constitutionally speaking. His presidency has been a disaster. We The People are being raped, en masse. Been that way since the reign of that senile actor. - AIW

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 31 weeks 4 days ago

There has been opposition, but I think we've reached the point where the poor and middle class are so deeply divided, pitted against each other, that we lose track of the policies and the politics chosen on our behalf. Consider how Democrats and much of the media marketed to libs have been promoting H. Clinton to run for president, and contrinue to adore Bill Clinton -- powerful anti-New Deal/Great Society supporters of NAFTA. Put "bold progressive" stickers on the lapels of any "free trade" pols, and they'll be heros to much of the middle class -- a middle class that has consistently voted for the agenda that is phasing out the middle class. In the 1980s, the Reagan Republicans set out to "dumb-down America," and it looks like they succeeded. The important thing is to keep (what's left of) the middle class from paying any attention to the consequences of these policies (primarily, poverty).

Kend's picture
Kend 31 weeks 4 days ago

Interesting that Dem presidents always seem to go a little right in there second term. in Canada we have no term limits so our politications don't change as much. I wonder if would be different if you didn't have term limits.

Chuckle I am not sure that ACA is a good thing yet. time will tell though. I agree with Thom. He mentioned once that he still thinks America is going to end up with a Canadian style state by state single payer system. Like Romney started.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

DAM -- Thanks for the editing. I ran into all kinds of problems going from Excel to Word, then table to text.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

I only point out that it is serf not surf because surfing here in California is a positive thing.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 31 weeks 4 days ago
Quote Kend:Interesting that Dem presidents always seem to go a little right in there second term. in Canada we have no term limits so our politications don't change as much. I wonder if would be different if you didn't have term limits.

Kend ~ I have no problem with no term limits... As long as we have vigorous Campaign Finance Reform and Move to Amend on the books first... Sounds like a great idea!

Kend's picture
Kend 31 weeks 4 days ago

DAnne we also don't have fixed election dates so they are called and about 75 days it's over so less time for corruption. I don't know how you can stand them tell lie after lie for a year before the election.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 31 weeks 4 days ago

The measure in question is so new it has yet to be assigned a bill number. Here is the official summary (http://www.finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=7cd1c188-87f...) and here is the full text (http://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/TPA%20bill%20text.pdf). Until it is numbered, the proposal is known as "TPA-2014."

Membership of the Senate Finance Committee is here: http://www.finance.senate.gov/about/membership/, 13 Democrats and 11 Republicans. The fact the measure is passing out of committee means a majority on the committee supports it, but I was unable to find a record of the committee vote.

An opponent -- or at least an opponent last year -- was Sen. Sherrod Brown, but unless memory fails me he was the lone voice of reason on the entire committee.

I know one of the anti-Working Class Democrat senators is Washington state's Maria Cantwell, whose rationale is the state benefits enormously from free trade. (This is a partial truth -- but only to the extent the related jobs, mostly in shipping, are unionized. By contrast, non-union workers at Seattle-Tacoma [Sea-Tac] International Airport are amongst the worst paid people in the state.) Like her senatorial partner Patty Murray, Cantwell is a Barack-the-Betrayer-type Democrat who orates like a progressive or a semi-progressive when in Washington state, then votes like a fascist in Washington D.C., TPA-2014 being a case in point.

Meanwhile free trade has abolished hundreds of thousands of living-wage jobs in the state -- the real numbers are virtually impossible to obtain -- which in turn has forced all these displaced workers into low-income, often minimum-wage jobs. (Yes Washington state has the highest U.S. minimum wage, but its $9.32 an hour is not a living wage, especially in Seattle, which has one of the nation's highest living costs. Hence the success of Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative Party with its demand for a $15 minimum wage.)

Hope this helps everybody: best I can do on short notice, especially with it Friday night and all my former D.C. sources either dead or retired.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 31 weeks 4 days ago

Fabian, I'm puzzled by the closing sentence of your last post: "The important thing is to keep (what's left of) the middle class from paying any attention to the consequences of these policies (primarily, poverty)." From paying attention to the consequences... is that really what you intended to say? Or are you speaking from Reagan's point of view? If you're not referring to Reagan's agenda, please enlighten me as to how the middle class is better off ignoring the consequences of these abusive policies; policies whose architects they were dumb enough to vote for. - Aliceinwonderland

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 31 weeks 4 days ago

Loren -- Does anyone confront Sen Cantwell with the question of how many more jobs there would be if all those products they are importing were made in the state of Washington? It sounds like the dockworkers, like Walmart workers, are accelerating the race to the bottom.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 31 weeks 4 days ago

The correct definition of a word is the current definition. Language is a living thing, people don't talk the way dictionaries are written, dictionaries are written according to the way people talk. The current definition of "capitalism" is what Thom would concede to be "free enterprise". Thom has a very narrow, very specific definition of capitalism known, apparently, only to himself - and therefore completely irrelevant.

This quibbling over semantics is just a waste of time. You gotta, in order to have a discussion, agree on what terms mean. If he says "capitalism" only applies only to the relatively passive economic activity of investors then fine. We just have to find another word for what the rest of the world calls "capitalism" and move on with the discussion.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 31 weeks 4 days ago

You're less likely to get caught lying in so short a time, Kend.

Do you have publicly financed election campaigns? That's what we need here. That would reduce a lot of corruption in the government.

Kend, you want drunks with guns on their hips?

Just giving you the raspberries.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 31 weeks 4 days ago

We gotta get the word out! If this passes we're done for!

When FTAA was first being considered it also was secret. Then somebody, I think it was Lori Wallach, got a copy of the text and put it on the Internet and they backed off on it.

We need more leaks from Snowden.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 31 weeks 4 days ago

Since Clinton's presidency, "global" and "trade" have become two of the dirtiest words in my vocabulary.

I wish, with all my heart, that more Americans could adopt the mind set that we vote with our money. I dream of a day when most (if not all) businesses in this country are worker-owned cooperatives; when privately-owned businesses with absentee owners are but a relic of the past; when a majority of us elect to spend our money at these cooperatives, buying American-made products as much as possible. People do themselves and their fellow citizens no favors buying all this imported crap without knowing or caring who made it, or where it comes from.

Before NAFTA, I took American-made products so for granted. I would have thought it jingoistic and silly to insist on stuff made here. Oh, how my perspective has changed! Enormously. - Aliceinwonderland

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 31 weeks 4 days ago

There is good reason to get a knot in your stomach when pols use the word, "reform."

Kend's picture
Kend 31 weeks 4 days ago

Mark we do have publicly funded election campaigns but they are talking about getting rid of it. It works on how many votes you have in the last elections but Our system is very complicated. We also have tax breaks for private donations. We also have more than two parties. Believe it or not we have a separation party as some in French speaking Quebecers want to separate from Canada. The Canadian government has to give them election money as they are an official party. It is insane. Most Canadians are nothing like me they don't pay much attention to politics here. Corporations can't donate like they do there it really doesn't come into play Here. Some have been caught donating X amount per employee in there name which is not allowed.

I don't want anyone carrying guns at home. It thinks it's nuts. I have to say the guy with the gun wasn't drinking he was just at the bar. I don't know if it's allowed. What I like though is that each state has different rules. At least if you don't like it you can more to a place that is governed the way you like it.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 31 weeks 4 days ago

I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. This is merely the continuation of the agenda implemented back in the 1980s, expanded by Clinton. Nothing has changed. The austerity agenda, supported by the middle class, is now reaching the middle class. Predictable, inevitable, and there's nothing we can do about it.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 31 weeks 4 days ago

It is Congress that determines legislation, not the president. I think that what the president is doing at the moment is something that he successfully did before -- He'll indicate that a certain policy is going to be passed, even though he does not say he supports it, and waits for the public backlash. There's a very good reason for this. Remember, back when he first ran for office, he repeatedly stated that there would be little he could achieve unless We the People got to our feet and demanded it. We have an unusually oppositional Congress (to the degree of shooting down their own bills merely because the president said, "Sounds OK to me.") Congress only blocks President Obama's proposals. The only thing that will make Congress reconsider is public pressure (by whatever means necessary) to reconsider. Through all the years that middle classers have been whining, they have actually had the power and means to organize, march on DC if necessary, to force their representatives to actually represent them. The middle class has the power to shut down the country by Monday, if they felt like it. If they do nothing, then nothing is all they'll get.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 31 weeks 4 days ago

Anyone who frets that workers don't have much power should consider those who were pushed out of the job market entirely. In the US, they no longer even have the most basic human rights (per the UN's Universal Declaration) to food and shelter. American workers actually have the power to change our trade policies, employment laws, etc. They have the power to shut the country down by Monday, going on strike, if that's what it takes to make Congress listen. They just don't feel like it.

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 31 weeks 4 days ago

Number 10 needs a little work. Yes, Obama put in the consumer protection bureau only to have Richard Cordray come out a few months ago and tell the public that they hadn't better expect much should they bother to take the time to contact his office. In other words, that bureau has had its teeth ripped out. And I can't help but wonder who did that? Our illustrious president?Typical Right-wing baloney: Agencies in name only giving the illusion that everything is functional when, if you bother to look behind the curtain, you will find that NOTHING is functional these days except that there is a massive robbery going on right under our comatose noses.

I didn't vote for him for a second term; I went Green. I'm refusing to support ANY Corporate Demo-rats. And my conscience doesn't bother me a bit.

I can't help but wonder when this country is going to stop the self-delusion and get out and fight these slime balls off. I read a really good Chris Hedges article last week and he warns if we don't get out in the streets, we are going down the tubes for sure. I agree with him. I don't know what is wrong with Americans that they are just standing by and letting all of this happen. What in heaven's name are they thinking???

richinfolsom's picture
richinfolsom 31 weeks 4 days ago

Fast track to a flat world! I just received several chain emails with the non-sensical anger against the liberal ACLU tearing apart the Christian society founded by Jeffeson. It is my policy to respond with a thoughtful and cordial message reminding the sender how their and my jobs are being outsourced - and all the symbols of Christmas trees and nativity scenes in public parks isn't going to change one thing.

We live in a time of mass hypnosis. our lives are filled with mass market messages with interludes of what we are told is the news we need to know. It's all rigged, partially by chance, partially by market surveys and mass marketing psychologists with subjects wearing heart rate monitors while testmark commercials and products. Riding at the helm of the machine are highly aggressive CEO's with their MBA hound dogs riding shot gun.

The same crowd has been convinced to despise unions and aside from a few tea party sponsored crazies, don't get involved. They shop at Walmart supporting doing away with the minimum wage and like the days of a John Wayne western believe everyone should fend for themselves.

Thom reminds me that despair is not an option. It's hard. To keep the faith.

The business henchmen are committed to increase short term profits even if means destroying the social framework. Common people of Greece, France, and others have swarmed to the street in protest. Americans, however, stew in the mass media contrivances. Complain, take their Zoloft and stomache antacid, and wonder off each day to their low paying job with lop or or none benefits - and send emails complaining about the liberal media.

What will it take to wake up? How much pain will it take to create a peaceful movement? Is America capable of a peaceful wake up call?

maybe then we will take action ....

Keystone would be way worse than we thought!

We already know that the Keystone XL pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen. But, it turns out that the impact of that tar sands pipeline could be even worse than we thought. According to a new study by the Stockholm Environmental Institute, Keystone could add four times more carbon pollution to our atmosphere than the State Department originally estimated.

From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"In an age rife with media-inspired confusion and political cowardice, we yearn for a decent, caring, deeply human soul whose grasp of the problems confronting us provides a light by which we can make our way through the quagmire of lies, distortions, pandering, and hollow self-puffery that strips the American Dream of its promise. How lucky we are, then, to have access to the wit, wisdom, and willingness of Thom Hartmann, who shares with us here that very light, grown out of his own life experience."
Mike Farrell, actor, political activist, and author of Just Call Me Mike and Of Mule and Man