Monday, February 8, 2016

February 8: National Toxic Trade Call In Day!

Let's FLOOD Congress with our calls! If you don't have the numbers of your reps handy, no worries: The Sierra Club has set up this toll-free number you can use to get a hold of those critters:


To refresh your memory about the TPP (yes, the MSM absolutely refuses to mention it), here's what Chris Hedges says about it:

“The TPP, along with the WTO [World Trade Organization] and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history,” Ralph Nader told me when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws.”........

And here's what Public Citizens says about the TPP:

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): More Job Offshoring, Lower Wages, Unsafe Food Imports
 Have you heard? The TPP is a massive, controversial, pro-corporate "free trade" agreement among the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Although it is called a “trade” agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP's 30 chapters, only six deal with traditional trade issues.

Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It's Worse than We Thought

In early November 2015, after seven years of close-door negotiations with the public, press and policymakers locked out, the final TPP text was released. In chapter after chapter, the final text is worse than expected, with the demands of the 500 official U.S. trade advisers representing corporate interests satisfied to the detriment of the public interest.The text reveals that the pact replicates many of the most controversial terms of past pacts that promote job offshoring and push down U.S. wages.

Yikes!! Please call today and ask a friend or two to call as well!! If you would rather send an email, just find your critter at either or

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Dumb and the Restless

"...The Bundy militiamen are like a Black September version of an Iron John forest retreat: a bunch of weepy middle-aged guys who dressed up in crisply pressed outdoorswear and took over a bird sanctuary so they could play outlaw for a few days while they "worked on themselves." 

 They gathered around a bonfire (there really was a bonfire) and presumably engaged in Robert Bly-style mythopoetic healing, getting back to their manly roots by stroking their rifles, wearing camo undies, and complaining about all the wrongs done to them by women/the federal government/wild birds/whoever. 

 About the camo: yes, the following actually happened. One of the militiamen, Melvin Lee, posted a video on Facebook (these guys are on social media more than most teenagers) where he complained about the popular misconceptions of the movement. "There's nobody in camouflage," said Lee, who was wearing a camouflage jacket. "Well, except for my jacket." 

 And yes, it did happen that Ritzheimer, who did remember to bring his paperback copy of the Constitution, actually sent out a tweet asking for care packages for things his compadres forgot to pack for their armed dude-seminar. They asked for socks, snacks, energy drinks (!), equipment for cold weather, snow camo, and "gear." 

 This was after Bundy had told reporters that the group was prepared to stay for "years" and had enough supplies to see them through. "We have food planned and prepared," he said."

 More at Rolling Stone   

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

An Example of Why the TPP would be a DISASTER

1/10 UPDATE: Please sign this petition to lawmakers, telling them to reject TPP.

The Keystone Pipeline company TransCanada has just filed a NAFTA lawsuit to challenge its rejection. It is seeking damages in the billions.

In December, the House voted to repeal the COOL (Country of Origin labeling for meat products). That's because the World Trade Organization authorized Canada and Mexico to impose one billion in retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. because of our country of origin labeling on meat. Such labeling was found to be a trade violation, impinging on the rights of NAFTA countries.

So, in other words, a foreign corporate tribunal determines what protections (or lack thereof) U.S. citizens will have - not states, and not Congress. National sovereignty is superceded.

Many have called the Trans-Pacific Partnership NAFTA on steroids. I believe it far excceds NAFTA on every level, and in ways that we can't yet know. The TPP is being aggressively promoted by huge, multi-national corporations , and their lobbyists who wrote the TPP.

Here's why, as explained by Public Citizen:

"..A major goal of U.S. multinational corporations for the TPP is to impose on more countries a set of extreme foreign investor privileges and rights and their private enforcement through the notorious “investor-state” system. This system allows foreign corporations to challenge before international tribunals national environmental, land use, health and other laws and regulations that apply to domestic and foreign firms alike. Outrageously, this regime elevates individual corporations and investors to equal standing with each TPP signatory country’s government – and above all of us citizens.

This regime empowers corporations to skirt national courts and sue our governments before tribunals of private sector lawyers operating under UN and World Bank rules to demand taxpayer compensation for domestic regulatory policies that investors believe diminish their “expected future profits.” Many of these regulatory policies are designed for environmental protection. For example, in 2012, the U.S. Lone Pine company launched a $250 million NAFTA investor-state case against a Canadian ban on fracking.

If a corporation “wins,” the taxpayers of the “losing” country must foot the bill. Over $400 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA-style deals alone. This includes attacks on natural resource policies, toxics bans, zoning and permits, health and safety measures, and more. In fact, of the nearly $14 billion in the 15 claims now pending under NAFTA-style deals, all relate to environmental, financial, public health and transportation policy – not traditional trade issues. Governments have paid out over $3 billion to investors in investor-state disputes under U.S. FTAs and bilateral investment treaties (BITs) – over 85 percent of this related to oil, mining, gas, and other environmental and natural resource disputes..."

 The so-called "economic recovery" has essentially been a jobless one; the jobs that have been "created" are lower in wages, and include part-time jobs and temporary positions. Pensions have gone the way of the Dodo bird. But with the TPP, the job losses would exceed the job losses from NAFTA. And Congress will be cutting 700 million out of Medicare to pay for job "re-training."  Retraining? To work where? As what, burger flippers at McDonalds? Somehow I don't see Corporate America suddenly going on a domestic hiring binge! Especially when they can outsource their work to the third world, and not have to deal with those pesky safety and environmental standards.

With TPP, the jobs that actually remain here will tend toward the lower-paying and unstable.

All of us must contact our congressional critters - such as they may be - and make clear our opposition to this corporate coup d'etat. If you have time for only one issue to deal with right now, make that issue the TPP. Unless everyone rises up, this thing will be a done deal and we will be screwed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Hopi and Their Prophecies

The Hopi are an amazing culture, and their wisdom has largely been unheard. This is by Gary David from Ancient Origins, and I think you'll find it fascinating. There is also a Part 2. Excerpt:

 Many Hopi spiritual elders (singular, kikmongwi) claim that we are living in the final days of the Fourth World. For more than 60 years, different Hopis have predicted various Earth changes that signal the conclusion of the current age and the onset of the Fifth World. In 1970, Dan Katchongva, Sun Clan leader from the village of Hotevilla, who died at age 112, spoke about deteriorating conditions of our time:

  We have teachings and prophecies informing us that we must be alert for the signs and omens which will come about to give us courage and strength to stand on our beliefs. Blood will flow. Our hair and our clothing will be scattered upon the earth. Nature will speak to us with its mighty breath of wind. There will be earthquakes and floods causing great disasters, changes in the seasons and in the weather, disappearance of wildlife, and famine in different forms. There will be gradual corruption and confusion among the leaders and the people all over the world, and wars will come about like powerful winds. All of this has been planned from the beginning of creation.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

In This Week's Annoying News....

Let's jump right in, shall we? Armed protesters have taken over a building at a wildlife preserve in Oregon. One them is Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. According to CNN:

The group is inside part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns after gathering outside for a demonstration supporting Dwight and Steven Hammond, father and son ranchers who were convicted of arson.

Prosecutors said the Hammonds set a fire that burned about 130 acres in 2001, to cover up poaching. The father and son were sentenced to five years in prison. 

In addition to their mental health issues and problems with destruction of public property, this bunch believes that they are entitled to graze their cattle on public lands and shouldn't have to pay. Yes, the libertardian position is that using public commons to make private profits is A-okay. This apparently is what they consider living independently (without gubmint interference), and pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, etc. How much do you wanna bet that they also receive the ridiculously excessive government subsidies for livestock "producers"?

Meanwhile, federal officials are doing nothing, saying that they are monitoring the situation. Because hey, it's white guys - wingnut militia types armed to the teeth. How fast do you think the National Guard, FBI, and swat teams would be swarming the building if this was Black Lives Matter? Or the Occupy movement? Or "environmental terrorists"?

Then, in more annoying news, Marco Rubio had his silk panties all in a knot when it was revealed that for once, the U.S. government had spied on Israel instead of the other way around. Yes, the furious Rubio stomped his little feet and waved in his little fists in the air, vowing that there would be hell to pay! America's "strongest ally" is being targeted, he didn't sob.

Although Israel's spying on America has been ongoing and relentless, Rubio felt no need to complain about that. Nor has he previously shown any concern about the NSA spying on the private communications of, well, everyone in the world, saying "Everyone spies on everyone, it's just a fact".

But hey, when you're going after AIPAC money, politicians like Rubio turn into snarling watchdogs for privacy. Well, at least where Israel is concerned, anyway. 
As with most of our congressional prostitutes, the American public's interests aren't even on their radar screens.

And that makes a good segue into the fact that most of us working class serfs are worse off than ever, in spite of the meaningless trumpeting to the contrary by the tools at the Fed:

..while Yellen and her colleagues, with their Inspector Clouseau magnifying glass, are unable to find inflation, there is plenty of evidence of deflation of the wages Americans are earning. NELP found this past Labor Day that wages in the 800 lowest-paying occupations they surveyed had actually declined by 5.7 percent from 2009 to 2014. Mid-level wage-paying positions saw a 2.6 decline in the real median wage while the best-paying jobs saw a 3 percent slide.

  We are settling into a new feudalism where income disparity and wealth inequality are actually accelerating, and hardwired into the economy. As more Americans adjust to their diminished economic standing, they are paying more and more of their shrinking income for higher rents.