Archive for Corporatocracy
Wikileaks press release this week on the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and its Intellectual Property provisions draft:
Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states…
In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”
“This is a textbook case of how corporations attempt to influence our democracy, election after election. No. Seriously. They have a textbook.”
If we can help Boulder succeed, whose town gets helped next?
From your friends at Upworthy:
Melissa Harris Perry’s panel analyzes corporate taxes and overseas tax havens. Tech and pharma leeching off the American taxpayer’s largesse.
Kudos to the doggedly determined Tom Burnet, who’s been pushing for an improvement to Beecham’s Curve for going on ten years. The weird 90-degree on Haywood Road has been a confunction for as long as anyone can remember, and it’ll soon be home to a great little traffic light. Without Burnet’s efforts, NCDOT wouldn’t have had a plan ready to go.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will be appointed by President Obama to be the next US Secretary of Transportation. I’m guessing this’ll change the way the NC General Assembly approaches seizing Charlotte’s airport. If all goes well, it may affect the way our own airport situation unfolds. Due to shoddy bill drafting, the transfer of the asset from Asheville to an independent authority is held up by the Federal Aviation Administration. Some would like to blame Asheville for “foot dragging”, but the fault lies in a poorly written piece of legislation. Secretary Foxx might want to have a look at it.
Speaking of transportation, that guy who’s been holding out on selling land to connect French Broad River Park with Carrier Park has finally struck a deal with the city. This is an important connection, and it brings us one step closer to the multimodal transportation network we need in order to provide affordable transportation options as well as economic development. Y’all know the Swamp Rabbit Trail down in Greenville? “A scholarly study in 2012 estimated that more than 350,000 people annually used the trail and that area businesses increased their sales from 30 to 85%”.
As we await Art Pope’s tax plan for North Carolina, keep this in mind: “Families with moderate and low incomes pay more sales and property taxes, as a share of their incomes, than higher-income families because they spend a higher proportion of their earnings on taxable goods and housing. Thus, increased sales and property taxes would shift a larger share of the responsibility for paying for schools, health care, and other services onto those with relatively less ability to afford it.”
We’re also moving toward the end of public education as we know it, with your tax dollars funding the shift.
“Senate Bill 337 and a parallel bill in the House would strip the State Board of Education of its responsibility for overseeing charter schools and set up an 11-member governing board mostly of charter school advocates appointed by the governor and the legislature.”
Since the board would not be bound by conflict of interest laws, members would include profit-making charter school operators who would then be in a position to shape policies favoring their own private economic interests, including the blocking of applications from potential competitors.
The legislation would allow charters to hire fewer teachers with professional credentials – scoffing at the concept of teacher professionalism that has been a point of pride among successful charter schools. It would further jeopardize the status of teachers who, thanks to the Republican legislature, are already staring at the loss of tenure, shorter contracts and fewer teaching assistants.
In addition to disenfranchising college students, the elderly, and minorities, the NCGOP’s voter suppression efforts will also smack NC’s transgendered citizens in the face: “Some transgender citizens might present poll workers with IDs that do not match their current gender, and poll workers could decide that the ID does not pass muster. Those citizens would not have their votes counted.”
In the aftermath of the Bangladesh garment factory disaster, Matthew Yglesias caught a world of criticism for these comments in Slate:
It’s very plausible that one reason American workplaces have gotten safer over the decades is that we now tend to outsource a lot of factory-explosion-risk to places like Bangladesh where 87 people just died in a building collapse.* This kind of consideration leads Erik Loomis to the conclusion that we need a unified global standard for safety…
I think that’s wrong. Bangladesh may or may not need tougher workplace safety rules, but it’s entirely appropriate for Bangladesh to have different—and, indeed, lower—workplace safety standards than the United States.
The reason is that while having a safe job is good, money is also good [and] in a free society it’s good that different people are able to make different choices on the risk–reward spectrum.
Yglesias ignited a firestorm. But targeting him or any individual actor for similar comments misses a larger point.
“How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this … What does it take to get you to move towards even a hearing? Even considering shutting down banking operations for money laundering?”
Where is the line? Sorry, that’s Justice. Treasury will not even speculate. Treasury has no opinion. Not their job to even have one.
The world will not actually end tonight when all of these forced budget cuts come down the pike. They have to be phased in by the end of the year if nothing happens between now and then and, as with all things, once it goes from the hyper-partisan theater of Congress to the agencies responsible, actual thought can be put into play to soften the blow to the average person, save as many jobs as possible, and generally make do, as we Americans are supposed to be so good at. Read More→
I thought I should point out that the constant flood of mailers crowding the mailboxes of people in the 115th district in support of Nathan Ramsey are straight from the Koch Brothers.
Americans for Prosperity is the sister group of FreedomWorks. Both originated from the original Super Pac, Citizens For A Sound Economy. When it split, Dick Armey took control of one group, and David Koch the other. They have operated in synchronous orbit around Washington DC ever since, and they represent perhaps the most powerful corporate lobbying force in the nation. Read More→
Anyone who saw it will know what I’m talking about. That was one of the most awkward speeches I’ve ever seen at a National Convention, personifying a grumpiness, confusion, and factual ambivalence that exemplifies the approach being taken by the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee. The entire Convention theme was predicated on a strawman argument, and last night was virtually policy-free. Romney and surrogates spun his polling weaknesses hard in an effort to move the numbers. Likeability, Bain, minorities, women, and Medicare were repackaged and trotted out as though none of the substantive issues raised by skeptics had any merit. The whole scene was a focus-grouped exercise in creating a narrative. If that narrative had any relation to the factual reality you and I occupy, it was wholly accidental.
I saw a great tweet from Sam Spencer: “You know whose empty chair will be at #dnc2012? Osama bin Laden’s.”
Next, of course, it’ll be time for the Democrats to build a narrative of their own. While I don’t expect them to make the Convention a policy wonk’s wet dream, I do expect that they’ll actually say what they would do differently from a Romney administration. I expect they will say that returning to Bush style supply-side/trickle-down economics is just continuing to set us up for more income inequality and more debt. I expect they’ll say that the Affordable Care Act is insuring millions of people who weren’t insured before. I expect they’ll note that nuclear nonproliferation is a good thing. I expect there to be a lot of policies noted and sold as part of the narrative. There may also be a healthy chunk of factual information about the economic crisis President Obama inherited and the attitude of Congressional Republicans who had no intention of allowing the President to succeed. The GOP has said that this demonstrates a lack of leadership and willingness to accept responsibility. It’s a basic Karl Rove tactic that boils down to accusing the other guys of your own bad behavior.
The narrative is likely to focus on how Mr. Romney is a flip-flopping corporate raider and how President Obama needs four more years to fulfill the hopes of his supporters. It’ll focus on the many successes of the administration while casting the GOP as a fringe party made up of radicals and funded by the 0.1%. It will ignore that Wall Street got away with the 2008 collapse.
Anyway, here’s an open thread. It can be whatever you want it to be. Use the facts, or just spin up a fictitious golem. Bring a fleshy argument or an empty chair.