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(NOTE: Diarist has received written, blanket authorization from Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers to republish their work in its entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.)

If there was such a thing as the "Social Activism Hall of Fame," Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers would be amongst its initial inductees!


Mobilized & Winning, Now It’s Time to Escalate

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers,
www.PopularResistance.org
January 30th, 2015


Sign held by protestors in the U.S. Senate (January 2015)
The ‘Movement of Movements’ against Fast Tracking the TPP has the power to win

Since the President’s State of the Union message where he announced his plan to push corporate trade agreements and seek Fast Track trade promotion authority, the movement against Fast Track, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and globalized trade has grown. Instead of the bump in support that Obama expected after the State of the Union, opposition has increased inside Congress and in the grass roots.

Indications are that we are winning, and if we continue to mobilize over the next two months, we will win.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman miffed as Kevin Zeese and Dick Ochs hold banner behind him protesting Fast Track. Source Reuters.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman miffed as Kevin Zeese and Dick Ochs hold banner behind him protesting Fast Track. (Source: Reuters)
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A few words from Democratic Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) on White House domestic surveillance “reform.” (In a number of ways here, "less is more.")

After all that White House propaganda about domestic surveillance “reform” over the past 18+ months, a simple tweet, less than 24 hours ago, from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) (the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) tells readers far more than too many here reading this would ever acknowledge to be the inconvenient truth about this subject. Still.




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(NOTE: Dr. Giroux has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce his work in its entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community. Giroux is a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. Here's the LINK to his website.)

Easily one of Professor Giroux's most powerful posts!


Henry A. Giroux | Death-Dealing Politics in the Age of Extreme Violence

By Henry A. Giroux
Truthout | News Analysis
Monday, 26 January 2015 09:52

Truthout Artwork from Henry Giroux's

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

How a society treats its children is a powerful moral and political index of its commitment to the institutions, values and principles that inform the promises of a real democracy. When measured against such criteria, it is clear that the United States has not only failed, but it is on life support.

According to a report released by the Southern Education Foundation, for the first time in history, half of US public school children live in poverty, and the United States has the fourth highest child poverty rate among developed countries. Moreover, 1.3 million homeless children are enrolled in US schools, and the United States incarcerates young people at a rate and in numbers that are shameful. (1) As Jana Kasperkevic points out:

Those numbers are representative of the growing problem of child poverty in the US. Overall, one in five US children lives in poverty. It has only recently been dropping, with 14.7 million US children living in poverty in 2013, down from 16.1 million in 2012. In 2012, out of 35 economically developed countries, only Romania had a higher child poverty rate than the US. (2)
With the social contract all but dead, children no longer count for much in a society that makes virtues out of self-interest and greed, and measures success almost entirely in terms of the accumulation of capital. Under the regime of a ruthless neoliberalism, children and their working-class families have become the new casualties of a system that brazenly disdains the rule of law, compassion and a concern for others. Systemic inequality has become one of the weapons now used not only against working families and the middle class, but also in the war on youth.
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(Publishing Note: Wall Street on Parade blog co-publisher Pam Martens has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce their blog's posts in their entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.)


Evidence Grows Showing Wall Street as a Negative Economic Force

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
A Citizen Guide to Wall Street
January 27, 2015

U.S. Small Business Shrinking Since Great Recession

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Longitudinal Business Database)

Earlier this month, Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, published a stunning indictment of Wall Street as a job creating engine. Clifton reported that the U.S. now ranks 12th among developed nations in business startups with countries such as Hungary and Italy having higher startup rates. Of equal concern writes Clifton, “American business deaths now outnumber business births.”

Clifton has a theory on why America’s crisis in creating new businesses is a well-kept secret. He writes:

“My hunch is that no one talks about the birth and death rates of American business because Wall Street and the White House, no matter which party occupies the latter, are two gigantic institutions of persuasion. The White House needs to keep you in the game because their political party needs your vote. Wall Street needs the stock market to boom, even if that boom is fueled by illusion.”
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Commenting in a post by Meteor Blades here, on Tuesday, I noted the following…

There IS a countervailing political force...

...forming on the LEFT, contrary to "conventional wisdom." And, at this point, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are part of this vanguard.

While I don't agree 100% with the Modern Monetary Theorists' school of economics, I do think we must be somewhat extreme in our demands (on the left), to counteract the extreme and downright draconian forces on the right, because any faux political "consensus," as we've witnessed it in recent years, and to date, has just been pushing this country farther and farther to the (extreme) right.

In other words: "Incrementalism" ain't cuttin' it! (Inherently, by supporting that mentality, we've reached a point where the door is about to be NAILED SHUT on far too many sane political/economic/military matters, as you read this.)

But, there are a few, somewhat dim lights of hope on the horizon.

Case-in-point: Bernie Sanders', et al, naming of leading Modern Monetary Theorist economist Stephanie Kelton as lead economist to the (minority) Democratic side of the Senate Budget Committee...



UMKC’s Stephanie Kelton is named chief Democratic economist on the Senate Budget Committee

By STEVE ROSEN
The Kansas City Star
12/30/2014 4:43 PM

Stephanie Kelton, an associate professor and chairwoman of the economics department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been named the chief economist for the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee.

Kelton announced on her Twitter account that she had accepted the chief economist position. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Each party has its own chief economist on the budget panel, which among other things oversees the Congressional Budget Office.

“We’re very excited to have her on our team,” Warren Gunnels, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, told the Washington Examiner. He noted that Kelton has “very strong academic credentials.”…

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The Trans-Pacific Trade (TPP) Agreement
Must Be Defeated

By Bernie Sanders
Reader Supported News
03 January 15

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.

The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world.

Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.

Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.

The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories. These corporately backed trade agreements have significantly contributed to the race to the bottom, the collapse of the American middle class and increased wealth and income inequality. The TPP is more of the same, but even worse.

During my 23 years in Congress, I helped lead the fight against NAFTA and PNTR with China. During the coming session of Congress, I will be working with organized labor, environmentalists, religious organizations, Democrats, and Republicans against the secretive TPP trade deal.

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Here’s the link to join almost 50,000 people who’ve already signed the petition to “stop another trade deal disaster!”
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Want to do more to fight these trade deal disasters?

To learn more about how you may join/support Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey and Congresswoman Maxine Waters in their uphill fight against these draconian foreign trade agreements, currently on our government’s agenda, click HERE.
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[Diarist's Notes: Wolf Richter has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce his blog's posts in their entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.

To learn more about how you may join/support Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey and Congresswoman Maxine Waters in their uphill fight against these draconian foreign trade agreements, currently on our government’s agenda, click HERE.]


LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

The ugly ramifications of the Trade in Services Act (TiSA)

by Don Quijones
WolfStreet.com
December 25, 2014


By Don Quijones, freelance writer, translator in Barcelona, Spain, and editor at WOLF STREET. Mexico is his country-in-law.  Raging Bull-Shit is his modest attempt to scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media.

Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.

At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.

If signed, the treaty would affect all services ranging from electronic transactions and data flow, to veterinary and architecture services. It would almost certainly open the floodgates to the final wave of privatization of public services, including the provision of healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, already privatized companies would be prevented from a re-transfer to the public sector by a so-called barring “ratchet clause” – even if the privatization failed.

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From the Guardian, Wednesday morning…


Federal officials may use little-known civil rights statute in police shooting cases

Department of Justice and FBI have for weeks been examining the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III and now Dontre Hamilton

Paul Lewis in Washington
The Guardian
Wednesday 24 December 2014 08.39 EST

The families of at least four unarmed black men killed this year by police are pinning their hopes on possible federal prosecutions under a little-known civil rights statute that has only occasionally been used to indict officers in such cases.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI and local US attorneys’ offices have for weeks been examining the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and John Crawford III – all of whom were killed by police officers who grand juries later decided not to indict on state criminal charges.

Late on Monday, the DOJ announced it would review a fourth death: that of Dontre Hamilton, who was shot 14 times by a police officer following a confrontation in a park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in April.

The review was launched after the Milwaukee district attorney announced that Christopher Manney – the police officer who shot Hamilton, and who has since been fired – will not face charges.

In all four cases, federal officials are considering whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges under a section of the US code that prohibits public officials from depriving an individual of constitutional rights under “color of law”…

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I’ve burned through quite a few hours this weekend—since Friday, in fact—writing a piece which, I’ve just realized, parallels much of what University of Texas/Austin Professor Emeritus Walter Dean Burnham and UMass/Boston Political Science Professor and Senior Roosevelt Institute Fellow Thomas Ferguson published this past Wednesday, over at Alternet.org: “Americans Are Sick to Death of Both Parties: Why Our Politics Is in Worse Shape Than We Thought.

Their article is now, easily, at or near the top of my personal list of the most important pieces about our country’s politics (and socioeconomics) that I’ve read all year. I'd say it's second in import only to French economist Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which is almost as lengthy as “War and Peace” (Ferguson’s and Burnham’s article is a mere 2,500+/- words).

Kossack Phoebe Loosinhouse covered a part of this story in her great post, currently on the Rec List, “The Dems Check Engine Light Just Came On,” as you read this. But, when you revisit it with Burnham’s and Ferguson’s analytical overview—the additional stats they provide in their narrative give readers much deeper and far more stunning historical context, to say the least—they powerfully explain that what happened in this year’s mid-term election was not just about Democrats: “It likely heralds a new stage in the disintegration of the American political order.”

Think about who's just stated this. Then, read it again...


[The results of the 2014 mid-term elections] “...likely heralds a new stage in the disintegration of the American political order.”

–University of Texas/Austin Political Science Professor Emeritus Walter Dean Burnham
and
UMass/Boston Political Science Professor and
Senior Roosevelt Institute Fellow Thomas Ferguson

Alternet
December 17, 2014

Perhaps more importantly, while Ferguson and Burnham approach their conclusions from an extremely well-annotated, (political) scientific standpoint, the fact of the matter is that they are echoing many of the most recently-published sentiments of Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, as well as The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, among others, from this past week; as you’ll soon realize, further down, below.

When all’s said and done, everything you’re reading here confirms the guidance of Democratic Party pollster Stan Greenberg, about whose work I’ve written a post, which I've referenced many times since, over the past few years.

If nothing else, I hope this post makes Democrats (at least) think real hard about what the hell they’re doing; meanwhile, many (again, no links; no need to call out anyone) have already opted to become stenographers for the Democratic Party status quo’s “inevitability meme,” at least when it comes to our country’s 2016 presidential politics.

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I’m in the mood to rant this weekend. Bigtime. Pretty much have been all week, in fact. But, luckily for you, my dear readers, I’ve been busy in the real world.

I really don’t think many in our country are connecting the dots between the just-passed CRomnibus government spending/funding bill and the administration’s fervent support of those “big three” agreements currently on our nation’s “foreign trade” agenda: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA a/k/a TTIP), and the Trade In Services Annex (TISA) to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). But, in my heart of hearts, and if you’ve been listening carefully to—not to the spin, but to the substance of--these developing travesties, I truly believe we may be hearing the ringing of the virtual death knell for the maintenance of any semblance of real democracy in America, as you read this. (After clicking upon the links, above, and reading the material therein, I believe readers will find that this is not an exaggeration; it really is that bad.)

Frankly, even Matt Taibbi didn’t bring up the inherent nexus between these two matters in his latest piece over at the Rolling Stone website, published on Saturday, “Dodd-Frank Budget Fight Proves Democrats Are a Bunch of Stuffed Suits;” but he did do a hell of an incisive job telling it like it is as far as the CRomnibus Bill’s passage—and the bullshit theatrics surrounding it--are concerned.

(For the record, according to Princeton University Political Science Professor Emeritus Sheldon Wolin’s definition of “Inverted Totalitarianism,” a key characteristic of the inverted totalitarian state’s public political discussion is that it reverts to a purely theatrical mode devoid of actual substance and reality. But, I’ll let Taibbi and Moyers explain how that is so. Since they both do a far better job spelling it out for us than I ever could.)  

Friday, in the episode of his show titled, "Democrats Bow Down to Wall Street," Bill Moyers, along with Harper’s Magazine President and Publisher John R. MacArthur, spent a substantial amount of time explaining how the CRomnibus bill’s passage and draconian U.S. foreign trade policy are, indeed, joined at the hip as far as failed, status quo, neoliberal economics and politics are concerned.

(Again, please click upon the link to my “rant” in the first sentence of this post, for a little more on this.)

Taken together, Taibbi’s, Moyers’ and MacArthur's analysis get my vote for this weekend’s must-reads/must-see tv.

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[Diarist’s Note: This is the first post in a three-part series on articles of note that have appeared online over the past 48-72 hours. The stunning similarities between these three pieces speak for themselves. Part II is linked here: “New York City: Aggressive ‘Broken Windows’ Policing but Carte Blanche for Banksters,” Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives Blog (12/6/14). And, Part III is accessible here: "State Terrorism and Racist Violence in the Age of Disposability: From Emmett Till to Eric Garner," Henry A. Giroux, Truthout, (12/5/14).]

As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi notes it in, “The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate,” (and as University of Missouri at Kansas City economics and law Professor Bill Black and McMaster University communications and cultural studies Professor Henry Giroux have also commented about it, this weekend) it took a century-and-a-half after the conclusion of America’s Civil War (and countless thousands of unreported and underreported murders of people of color by America’s status quo in the interim) and the local police murders of an 18-year-old kid walking down a street in suburban St. Louis and a guy selling “loosies” on the streets of Staten Island, among many other outrages, to shine the brightest of lights on the brutal, institutionalized realities of our three-track society, and of the overarching theme of institutionalized racism that runs rampant throughout it.

In this chapter, Matt Taibbi looks at the murder of Eric Garner and refers to his book, “The Divide,” much like economist Simon Johnson did back in 2009 and 2010, in his seminal essays on our country’s Quiet Coup, and our Two-Track Economy; and, like so many others, including Black and Giroux over this past weekend, all of them have written about our two-track justice system. All accurately observe that there’s the uber-wealthy, and then there’s everyone else. However, the reality—as the actions, underlined by the police-shootings and arrest statistics of most local, U.S. police departments will confirm it--is we live in an institutionally racist, three-track society: there’s the one percent, the upper-middle and lower-middle classes, and the poor (the majority of whom happen to be “conveniently” comprised of people of color).  

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This is the second post in a three-part series on articles that have appeared online over the past 48-72 hours. The stunning similarities between these three pieces speak for themselves. Part I is linked here: “Taibbi: “The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate,” Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, (12/5/14). And, Part III is accessible here: "State Terrorism and Racist Violence in the Age of Disposability: From Emmett Till to Eric Garner," Henry A. Giroux, Truthout, (12/5/14).

[Diarist’s Note: Bill Black is the author of, ”The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One,” and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Professor Black has provided written, blanket permission to the diarist to reproduce his posts in their entirety for the benefit of the Daily Kos community.]


New York City: Aggressive “Broken Windows” Policing but Carte Blanche for Banksters

Bill Black
New Economic Perspectives Blog
December 6, 2014

New York City exemplifies two perverse criminal justice policies that drive many criminologists to distraction. It is the home of the most destructive epidemics of elite financial frauds in history. Those fraud epidemics hyper-inflated the housing bubble and drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession. The best estimate is that the U.S. GDP loss will be $21 trillion and that 10 million Americans lost their jobs. Both numbers are far larger in Europe. The elite “C Suite” leaders of these fraud epidemics were made wealthy by those frauds through bonuses that measured in the billions of dollars annually.

The most extraordinary facts about the catastrophic fraud epidemics, however, is New York City’s reaction to the fraud epidemics. Not a single Wall Street bankster who led the fraud epidemics has been prosecuted or had their fraud proceeds “clawed back.” Not a single Wall Street bankster who led the fraud epidemics is treated as a pariah by his peers or New York City elites. New York City’s elected leaders have made occasional criticisms of the banksters, but Mayor Bloomberg was famous for his sycophancy for the Wall Street banksters that made him wealthy. In 2011, Mayor Bloomberg attacked the “Occupy Wall Street” movement for daring to protest the banksters.

“I don’t appreciate the bashing of all the hard working people who live and work here and pay the taxes that support our city,” said Bloomberg, during a press conference in a Bronx library.

“The city depends on Wall Street.”

“Jamie Dimon is one of the great bankers,” said Bloomberg. “He’s brought more business to this city than any banker in (the) modern day. To go and picket him, I don’t know what that achieves. Jamie Dimon is an honorable person, working very hard, paying his taxes.”

Bloomberg also questioned why the protestors were picking on wealthy bankers and other corporate titans.

It is, of course, depraved to claim that because banksters are made wealthy through fraud and pay a small portion of that wealth in taxes they should not be held accountable for those frauds because they are important to local finances...
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