Skip to main content


If you were to read some of the audience’s comments in THIS diary, yesterday, you’d be misled to believe that Hillary Clinton’s “undecided” when it comes to her sentiments about Fast Track, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the other two corporatocratic, global trade deals (The TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] and Trade In Services Annex [TISA] to the General Agreement on Trade In Services [GATS]), currently on the White House’s agenda for passage on Capitol Hill.

Luckily, Sam Knight provides the audience with some clarity as he tells it like it is, earlier today, over at the The Intercept’s new “Unofficial Sources” blog—and accounting for Occam’s Razor–providing a pretty clear indication that Hillary’s positions on these 99%-job-killing trade deals are, almost certainly, directly aligned with the White House.

This site’s owner tells us Hillary’s a true liberal. While I know that’s somewhat of a certainty on most social issues, it sure doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to economic matters and foreign policy. With many of her State Department’s most senior staffers having passed through D.C.’s notorious revolving door of late, and now lobbying for Fast Track and the TPP on the Hill, how can it be?

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s Knight’s report from earlier this morning…

Continue Reading

[Diarist's Note: Gaius Publius has provided written authorization to the diarist to republish their work in its entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community. On a related topic, and of critical note: Bernie Sanders is formally kicking-off his campaign, today. Progressives--real Progressives--know what to do!]  


Gaius Publius: Hillary, TPP, the World of Money, and the Center for American Progress

Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism
May 25, 2015

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, Americablog, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. This piece first appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.

I’ll put the bottom line first. There is no way that Hillary Clinton is not a strong supporter of TPP and Fast Track. Read on for why.

There has been a lot written lately, including here, about the Democratic Party split between progressives and “progressives” — the former of whom have most of the people on their side, and the latter of whom have most of the money. Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Alan Grayson and others are firmly in the progressive camp, what’s being called the “Warren wing” of the party.

Most Democratic Party officials and electeds, however, are in the latter camp, which many call the “Wall Street wing,” though huge swaths of American (and foreign) moneyed interests, not just those on Wall Street, are supporters and controllers of that wing. To take just one moneyed interest — Big Oil — consider that:

•    Exxon is one of the largest owners of unmonetized methane (yet-to-be-fracked natural gas) in the country.

•    “Left-wing” support groups and think tanks like EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) strongly support (pdf) the “temporary” transition to natural gas as a bridge fuel.

•    By many reports both EDF and NRDC receive money in various ways, as well as advice, from the oil and gas industry and their advocates.

•    NRDC in particular is said to have had a hand in Obama’s new climate plan.

•    And … President Obama’s big climate plan — his “Clean Power Plan” (a very methane industry–like phrase) — happens to preference methane over everything else in our arsenal, including just quitting carbon in a World War II–style conversion and being done with it.

(continued below)
Continue Reading

[Diarist's Note: Wolf Street Publisher Wolf Richter has provided written, blanket authorization to the diarist to reproduce his blog's posts in their entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.]


The Global Trade Corporatocracy Slams into
Local Resistance

By Don Quijones
Spain & Mexico Editor at WOLF STREET

May 17th, 2015

Not everything seems to be going according to script for the self-anointed architects of the new global order. For years lobbyists and representatives of the world’s largest corporations and banks have been meeting with government trade negotiators from Europe, North America and Asia to patch together what could soon be the world’s two biggest ever “trade” deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The problem is that as more and more people learn about them, public opposition continues to grow — and with good reason.

If signed, these new deals will enshrine into international law a new system of semi-global, technocratic governance for the exclusive benefit of the world’s largest, richest multinational corporations and private investors. What’s more, in the eternal words of the U.S. Trade Rep Michael Froman, once they are passed, agreements like TTIP will become “the global benchmark for standards in a globalized world.”

For the world’s uber-class of super wealthy individuals and corporations, this is great news.

A Two-Tier Global Justice System

Thanks to the inclusion of the investment protection charter – A.K.A. the Investor State Dispute Settlement (or ISDS) – foreign companies and big investors will be able to sue national governments in private arbitration tribunals for profits they might lose as a result of local or national laws or regulation.

As The Guardian columnist George Monbiot writes, “while the rest of us must take our chances in the courts, corporations across the EU, US and vast swathes of the Asia-Pacific region will be allowed to sue governments before a tribunal of corporate lawyers.” They will be able to challenge the laws they don’t like, and seek massive compensation if these are deemed to affect their “future anticipated profits.”

(continued below)
Continue Reading

As Gaius Publius noted in his post here this past Sunday evening

…I’ve been writing about the split — the chasm, really — between progressives and “progressives” in the Democratic Party for at least a year, and…[others] have been documenting the sins of money-bought “Democrats” like the DCCC since forever.

Some want that split to heal, and some want it to widen. Democrats who want it to heal are motivated by two main interests, it seems. One is the desire, understandable enough, to keep government out of the hands of Republicans, who really are the greater evil, if only by a little.

The other interest, though, is more insidious and far less defensible. If the party pulls together, those whose careers are tied to the success of its money-soaked DLC wing will see those careers advanced — in some cases, spectacularly.

The losers in all this? Unbailed-out mortgagees; students with crushing personal debt; the soon-to-explode bomb of poverty among soon-to-retire 401k-holders — the jobless; the poor; the barely-making-it in a Nike and Apple “made in Asia” economy. The bottom 80% who are going nowhere or going down. The traditional constituents, in other words, of the real Democratic Party as constituted in the pre–Bill Clinton years.

Who wants the split in the Democratic Party to widen? Anyone who wants progressive change in America at a non-incremental pace. And everyone, voter or activist, who no longer wants to reward “professional Democrats” — self-serving, money-serving women and men — for their constant and regular betrayals…

So, guess who wins if the President and the turncoat Dems in the Senate and House shove these job-killing (and, yes, people-killing, which the Big Pharma-related pricing protections currently in the TransPacific Partnership draft, in and of themselves, will "accomplish") trade agreements (the TransPacific Partnership, a/k/a “TPP”, the TransAtlantic Free Trade Agreement, a/k/a “TTIP/TAFTA,” and the Trade In Services Annex to the General Agreement on Trade in Services, a/k/a “TISA”) down our throats? Well, that’d be the same triangulators within our Party that have brought us to the foreign trade precipice where we’re standing, right now.

Matt Taibbi, as usual, not pulling any punches (which is why I admire his work), has just made a few observations about this, and I hope you’ll consider reading much more about his thoughts on these matters over at RollingStone.com. In the meantime, here are some excerpts...

Continue Reading

As many like to describe it, “Politics is a contact sport.” So, to say there already have been some major, full-dress, contact scrimmages within our own Party, of late, between the centrist/right side and the more left-leaning side of it, would be to understate what was referenced by Gaius Publius in Sunday evening’s post at Daily Kos, “Gaius Publius: Sanders Raises $3 Million in Four Days; Will He Split the Party?.”

Then along comes author Robert Draper, in his 5,000-word feature in the May 17th edition of the New York Times Magazine, “The Great Democratic Crack-Up of 2016,” chock-full of some of the most incisive statements (okay, maybe not “chock-full,” but there are more than just a couple of sentences interspersed throughout the piece quoting Markos’ pearls of wisdom, with which I am astonished to say I wholeheartedly concur) I’ve read from Daily Kos’ fearless leader; and I have to ask myself: Is this the same guy who’s been pushing the status quo, 2016 'inevitability meme' for the past year?

Kudos to Markos on this. Bigtime! Then again, while Mr. Moulitsas’ statements unconditionally and strongly support Edwards’ candidacy over Van Hollen’s run in the upcoming Maryland Democratic Senate Primary election, to say the piece, overall, tilts somewhat in Mr. Van Hollen’s (status quo) favor (look no further than the sub-headline of the story, for starters) would be, I think, a fair assessment of the article.

After reading Draper’s feature, I do believe that the Edwards-Van Hollen race really is a microcosm of what’s happening within the Democratic Party on the national level.  And, that’s why it may just be the definitive must-read for anyone following the internal sturm und drang throughout the entire Democratic Party, this year.

Judge for yourselves…

Continue Reading

[Diarist’s Note: Gaius Publius has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce their posts in their entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.]

Here’s a reality-based statement for anyone that’s been at Daily Kos since late 2007, and actually experienced the “primary wars” here the following year: It’s self-evident, "if past experience is any indication of future performance" that, based upon ongoing comments by site ownership and the content of this community’s front-page, for over a year now–never mind recent, reinforcing comments regarding same made by the Daily Kos’ “powers that be” over the past few days, here– that until Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, or any other Democratic candidate in the 2016 Presidential primary, for that matter, demonstrates that they’re a real threat to the “inevitability meme”;  i.e.: the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in next year’s general election,  diaries such as this will be “tolerated.”

For now. (Again…“ if past experience is any indication of future performance”…)

And, to argue that there is no steadily-building rift within our Party, when there are well north of 100 caucuses and coalitions on Capitol Hill, with the New Democrat Coalition being one of the most cohesive and most powerful of all, is to deny the existence of major issues- and philosophically-related threads that run through our country’s politics, of which even Daily Kos’ readers are reminded many times per week, and virtually every time there’s a vote on a major piece of legislation there, too.  

But, I’ll let blogger Gaius Publius explain the details better than I ever could. (Today, he definitely does speak for me!)


#            #            #

Continue Reading

For the moment, at least (pending any SCOTUS activity on this case), this is a huge win for the American Civil Liberties Union, and for Americans, in general.  

Meanwhile, as you'll read about it further down the page, in Baltimore--and throughout the country, for that matter--phone surveillance remains downright obscene! (And, not being a lawyer, I'm not even sure that today's Appeals Court ruling will apply to the FBI, DHS, and local law enforcement, who are now, officially, at the forefront of domestic phone surveillance, per our government's pronouncements of same at the beginning of this year. In other words, the courts are a few years behind what's actually happening at the local level, here at home.) First, the breaking news from the U.S. Court of Appeals...


Appeals court strikes down government's phone surveillance program

Brad Heath and Richard Wolf
USA TODAY
1:31 p.m. EDT May 7, 2015

A federal appeals court declared on Thursday that a National Security Agency program that sweeps up logs of Americans' phone calls is illegal, representing the most significant setback yet for the long-running surveillance operation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York said the program "exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized" under the USA Patriot Act, which the government has maintained permitted that massive data collection.

"The statutes to which the government points have never been interpreted to authorize anything approaching the breadth of the sweeping surveillance at issue here," Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for the three-judge panel.

"The sheer volume of information sought is staggering," the court said, extending to "every record that exists, and indeed to records that do not yet exist."

The challenge was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union nearly two years ago after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed the program's existence. Since then, a federal judge in Washington has said the program is likely unconstitutional, and two other federal appeals courts are reviewing it....

Kossack gjohnsit has an earlier post on this breaking part of the story up on the Rec List, HERE.

#            #            #
Continue Reading

Claiming, “It’s the caucus’ decision but Senator Reid thinks Senator Schumer has earned it,” Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) spokesman, Adam Jentleson, confirmed that his boss has endorsed Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) as his successor, in the past hour.

As the NY Times just reported it: "Mr. Reid conspicuously passed over Senator Richard J. Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat from Illinois, who is also in line to replace Mr. Reid."


Harry Reid Endorses Schumer as Next Minority Leader

Ashley Parker
New York Times
March 27th, 2015   12:22PM EST

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, shocked his colleagues Friday morning by announcing that he would retire at the end of his term.

And then, hours later, he sent another ripple through the Democratic political world when he endorsed Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, to replace him.

“I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,” Mr. Reid told the Washington Post, in an interview at his condo in Washington’s West End...

I'm sure the Republicans won't say anything about this in their upcoming, 2016 campaign propaganda push, so at least this should put an end to the presidential election discussion about whether or not the Democratic Party is (also) controlled by Wall Street.

#            #            #

Continue Reading

[Diarist's Note: Gaius Publius, via Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith, has provided the diarist with authorization to reproduce their post, in its entirety, for the benefit of the Daily Kos community. As noted below, this piece first appeared over at Digby's joint. Also, a huge h/t to Kossack Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, whose DKos diary from this past Monday (SEE: "Obama Campaign Alumni Form New Astroturf Group to Promote TPP") gets a nice nod from Gaius Publius, below.]

Paraphrasing the last line of one of W.C. Fields' greatest jokes: "...We know what you are. We're just trying to determine your price."


Gaius Publius: Astroturf “Progressive” Support
for the TPP – Meet “270 Solutions”

Posted by Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism
March 13, 2015

Yves here. It’s become routine to expose some of the supposedly organic proposals that come out of the Tea Party as actually sponsored by the Koch Brothers and other big corporate interests. We didn’t want to leave Democrats out in the cold in the astroturfing game. Gaius Publius discusses one ecosystem: a consulting firm, “270 Strategies” and one of its phony creations, the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs.

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, Americablog, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook.A version of this piece first appeared at digby’s Hullabaloo. GP article archive here.

Recently did a piece looking at the Democratic consulting shop “270 Strategies” — a group that’s been characterized as involved in “astroturfing” by the Daily Kos diarist Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees. Her (or his) headline was:


“Obama Campaign Alumni Form New Astroturf Group
to Promote TPP”

That’s accurate, but a little confusing. There are actually two groups involved. Obama campaign alumnae (or alumni) — Lynda Tran, Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird — are founding partners of the PR and digital consulting shop “270 Strategies.” And the “astroturf” group is their client (or brainchild), the “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs.”

(continued below)
Continue Reading

[Diarist’s Notes: First of all, a big hat-tip to the folks over at Daily Kos’ own Evening Blues (especially Kossacks Joe Shikspack and Johnny the Conqueroo, for their tireless work) for bringing this latest, breaking Snowden/NSA document leak story to the community’s attention.

CommonDreams.org has published an excellent summary of the story, released this weekend, on Saturday by The Intercept in the U.S., and on Sunday by the Sunday Star-Times in New Zealand. It is the latest of four massive, National Security Agency stories that have appeared in print over the past four weeks.

Personally, while I have published more than a dozen posts here over the past three years about the Five Eyes global network, and the reality that the U.S. public is well aware that the NSA runs massive surveillance operations around the globe, many reading this latest breaking news may overlook the implications within this story as they relate to our government’s “Collect it all!” policy, right here at home. I’ll be publishing a long-overdue piece in follow-up to that last statement later this weekend.  

A continuous theme that I’ve fully documented about the Five Eyes network is that the Five Eyes partners/nations facilitate their partners' surveillance dirty work (see footnotes at bottom of this post) by “legally” circumventing domestic surveillance restrictions in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (i.e.: the Five Eyes partners). Interestingly, one of the maps in the Sunday Star-Times visually indicates that the NSA's surveillance of Hawaii is facilitated by a New Zealand-based station. (Ooops!) Another fact unmentioned in these latest stories is that the NSA has approximately 2,000 of its employees onsite at General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, the U.K.'s version of the NSA) locations throughout Great Britain. More about all of this later. In the meantime, lucky for us, Common Dreams' version of this breaking story was published complete with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.]


#            #            #

The summary from CommonDreams.org...


NSA Global Spy Stations Revealed: 'Sniff It All, Collect It All, Know It All, Process It All, Exploit It All'

Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams
Saturday, March 07, 2015

Latest documents leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden offer new insight into mysterious 'domes of Waihopai' and the global spy network of which they represent only a part


The Five Eye spy bases around the world.

The Five Eye spy bases around the world.

A new batch of Snowden documents offer an unprecedented look into the close relationship of the surveillance agencies of the so-called "Five Eyes" nations and how a close look at a secretive base in New Zealand reveals new details about a global network of listening stations are operating to fulfill the NSA mantra on communications data which says, "Sniff it all, collect it all, know it all, process it all and exploit it all."

(continued below)
Continue Reading

A couple of stunning reports have been published over the past few days that, contrary to popular propaganda belief, tell us that cops have killed more Americans than wars (if one doesn’t take into account the hundreds of thousands of people, other than U.S. soldiers killed in action, that have died), and our “new normal” economy has “killed” more Americans than cops (a 5%+ uptick in suicides since 2008, which amounts to an additional 1,800+/- deaths per year, in the U.S., alone; which also includes 18 to 22 suicides of U.S. veterans, daily).

The status quo’s oppression—and, yes, outright, state-sponsored murder and negligent manslaughter--in its many ugly forms, regrettably, is not the new normal. It’s the old normal. What’s “new” here is that at least a few more people are finally beginning to see it for what it is.

Continue Reading

[Diarist's Note: Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce her blog's posts, in their entirety, for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.]


The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals

Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism
March 2, 2015

Elizabeth Warren is clearly getting on the Administration’s nerves.

The Massachusetts senator has come out forcefully against the misleadingly named trade deals, the TransPacific Partnership and its ugly sister, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Mind you, these treaties are not about trade. Trade is already substantially liberalized and in keeping, only five of the 29 chapters of the TransPacific Partnership deal with tariffs.

What these pacts are primarily intended to do is strengthen intellectual property laws to help US software and entertainment companies, along with Big Pharma, increase their hefty profits, and to aid multinational by permitting the greatly increased use of secret, conflict-ridden arbitration panels that allow foreign investors to sue governments over laws that they contend reduced potential future profits. I am not making that up.

Warren focused on the so-called investor-state dispute settlement process in a Washington Post op-ed last week. We’ve discussed these panels in gory detail in previous posts.

That article led the White House to issue a “lady doth protest too much” rebuttal that we’ll shred shortly. But let’s first review the state of play.

The Administration had no luck in the last Congress getting so-called “fast track” authorization for the TPP due to widespread opposition. It wasn’t just that Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to table it in the Senate. John Boehner made it clear that he couldn’t get the votes in Republican-controlled House to pass it either. Over 200 representatives, including some Republicans, signed letters or otherwise voiced reservations about the trade deals, and another 30 to 40 were believed to be against it. Although the Administration has tried to claim otherwise, the opposition goes well beyond the small cohort of “progressives”.

Part of the reason for the Congressional revolt is that the Administration has made it impossible for Congress to review the drafts properly. But another is that even some conservatives are willing to come out against these agreements as pork for big multinationals. For instance, the right wing think tank Cato supported the Warren op-ed:

An important pillar of trade agreements is the concept of “national treatment,” which says that imports and foreign companies will be afforded treatment no different from that afforded domestic products and companies. The principle is a commitment to nondiscrimination. But ISDS turns national treatment on its head, giving privileges to foreign companies that are not available to domestic companies. If a U.S. natural gas company believes that the value of its assets has suffered on account of a new subsidy for solar panel producers, judicial recourse is available in the U.S. court system only. But for foreign companies, ISDS provides an additional adjudicatory option.

As a practical matter, investment is a risky proposition. Foreign investment is even more so. But that doesn’t mean special institutions should be created to protect MNCs from the consequences of their business decisions. Multinational companies are savvy and sophisticated enough to evaluate risk and determine whether the expected returns cover that risk. Among the risk factors is the strength of the rule of law in the prospective investment jurisdiction. MNCs may want assurances, but why should they be entitled to them? ISDS amounts to a subsidy to mitigate the risk of outsourcing. While outsourcing shouldn’t be denigrated, punished, or taxed – companies should be free to allocate their resources as they see fit – neither should it be subsidized.

(continued below)
Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site