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Who could have predicted that the global tax evasion by the world’s ultra-rich, made public this week with the release of the Panama Papers, was ushered in with the help of a free trade agreement?

Senator Bernie Sanders did.

In fiery speech before the U.S. Senate in 2011, Bernie Sanders declared his “strong opposition” to the “unfettered free trade agreements” with Korea, Columbia, and Panama—agreements that were being pushed for by both President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ current rival for the Democratic nomination.

“Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens,” Sanders stated. “And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse.”

gop-humping_nEach and every year, the wealthy and large corporations evade $100 billion in U.S. taxes through abusive and illegal offshore tax havens in Panama and other countries.

According to Citizens for Tax Justice, “A tax haven . . . has one of three characteristics: It has no income tax or a very low-rate income tax; it has bank secrecy laws; and it has a history of non-cooperation with other countries on exchanging information about tax matters. Panama has all three of those. … They’re probably the worst.”

Mr. President, the trade agreement with Panama would effectively bar the U.S. from cracking down on illegal and abusive offshore tax havens in Panama.  In fact, combating tax haven abuse in Panama would be a violation of this free trade agreement, exposing the U.S. to fines from international authorities.

In 2008, the Government Accountability Office said that 17 of the 100 largest American companies were operating a total of 42 subsidiaries in Panama.  This free trade agreement would make it easier for the wealthy and large corporations to avoid paying U.S. taxes and it must be defeated.  At a time when we have a record-breaking $14.7 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit, the last thing that we should be doing is making it easier for the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in this country to avoid paying their fair share in taxes by setting-up offshore tax havens in Panama.

Sanders was in the minority with that view and shortly thereafter the Panama-U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) was passed and signed into law, a move that was lauded by Sec. Clinton as an example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to “deepen our economic engagement throughout the world.”

Go ahead, vote Clinton. Vote Republican Lite. And when you’ve lost your job and are homeless you can join me and the rest of the locals in a van down by the river.

This more than a battle of candidates, it is a battle of ideas. Globalization, heralded by the likes of Hillary Clinton, has enabled the richest in society to exploit the system while ordinary working people pick up the tab. This has been going on for decades; as a political family, the Clintons have done nothing about it.

Indeed, they have profited by it.

I refuse to even hold my nose and vote a lesser evil. From the New York Review of Books article, The Clinton System:

wikileaks-tpp-investment-cartoon[D]irect payments to Hillary Clinton’s political campaigns, including for the Senate in 2000 and for the presidency in 2008 and now in 2016 … had reached a total of$712.4 million as of September 30, 2015. Major donors include four of the world’s largest banks: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

But it didn’t have too.

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The 1916 Rauch & Lang Electric car had an 50-mile range at 20 mph on a single charge and cost $2,800. Adjusted for inflation, about $61,000 today.

Not just a clear and present danger to humanity’s future, criminals. With all the extreme weather insanity forefront today I can’t help but smile at the old Chiffon margarine commercial where upon discovering it’s not butter Mother Nature goes from all sweetness and light, flowers and flutes to wham: Bambi meets Godzilla, thunder, lightening, hurricanes. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

You daughter-fuckers are going to pay.

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“America” has been at war two hundred twenty-two out of the two hundred thirty-nine years since seventeen seventy-six.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I didn’t write this, but I might have…

Well, I tell you what- if Hillary Clinton is elected and breaks up the banks and starts something along the idea of the WPA, I will apologize.

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If she is elected and refuses to break up the banks her asshole husband collaborated with republicans to deregulate, doesn’t undo the huge damage that NAFTA had done to the middle class- which her asshole husband got passed when George Bush I couldn’t, will you apologize?

The utter and complete fallacy here is that while FDR may not have gone far enough for some on the left, there is no way that Hillary will go left AT ALL. Look at Obama- the best thing he’s managed to do is pass Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan- which, while being a modest improvement, is still profits first, patients last.

All you have to do is look at her record- she was a miserable failure while everyone has been tearing out their hair about Benghazibenghazibengazhi, few seem to have noticed that a decade after the worst president of all time got us into Iraq, destabilizing the area and leaving it vulnerable to people like ISIS, HRC goes and does EXACTLY THE SAME STUPID THING IN Libya.

imageI can see it now: Hillary gets elected, and we’ll spend six years of her passing Republican policies while apologists say that she can’t do anything the first two years because it will hurt the midterm elections. Then two years later, she can’t do anything too crazy because she has to get re-elected. Then two more years pass, but she has to play ball because Democrats in conservative state need to be re-elected.

Look at what a diagram Obama has been. Wealth inequality is worst than ever. No one on Wall Street (except for those who stole from rich people) has gone to prison. The Too Big To Fail banks that Bill Clinton helped create are bigger than ever. His foreign policy is breeding more terrorists than it’s killing. Most of the people he’s killed in drone strikes are civilians.

You really want another 8 years of that shit?

The White Roseimages (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler’s regime.

The six most recognized members of the German resistance group were arrested by the Gestapo, tried for treason and beheaded in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled by the jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke out of Germany through Scandinavia to the United Kingdom, and in July 1943, copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich”.[1]

Another member, Hans Conrad Leipelt, who helped distribute Leaflet 6 in Hamburg, was executed on 29 January 1945, for his participation.

White Rose survivor Jürgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany: “The government – or rather, the party – controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”

David Neiwert has a must read piece up at his place: People who have studied the extremist right as a historical and sociopolitical phenomenon in depth are acutely aware of a simple truth: America has been very, very lucky so far when it comes to fascistic political movements. [W]ith the arrival of the Donald Trump 2016 phenomenon, that luck may be about to run out.

images (1)Nor is this phenomenon just a flash in the pan. Trump is the logical end result of an endless series of assaults on not just American liberalism, but on democratic institutions themselves, by the American right for many years. It is the long-term creep of radicalization of the right come home to roost.

Fascistic elements and tendencies have always been part of America’s DNA. Indeed, it can be said that some of the worst traits of fascism in Europe were borrowed from their American exemplars – particularly the eliminationist tendencies, manifested first in the form of racial and ethnic segregation, and ultimately in genocidal violence.

Hitler acknowledged at various times his admiration for the American genocide against Native Americans, as well as the segregationist policies of the Jim Crow regime in the South (on which the Nuremberg Race Lawswere modeled) and the threat of the lynch mob embodied in the Ku Klux Klan. According to Ernst Hanfstaengl, Hitler was “passionately interested in the Ku Klux Klan. … He seemed to think it was a political movement similar to his own.” And indeed it was.

Despite the long-running presence of these elements, though, America has never yet given way to fascism. No doubt some of this, in the past half-century at least, was primarily fueled by the natural human recoil that occurred when we got to witness the end result of these tendencies when given the chance to rule by someone like Hitler – namely, the Holocaust. We learned to be appalled by racial and ethnic hatred, by segregation and eliminationism, because we saw the pile of corpses that they produced, and fled in terror.

Those of us who study fascism not just as a historical phenomenon, but as a living and breathing phenomenon that has always previously maintained a kind of half-life on the fringes of the American right, have come to understand that it is both a complex and a simple phenomenon: in one sense, it resembles a dynamic human psychological pathology in that it’s comprised of a complex constellation of traits that are interconnected and whose presence and importance rise and fall according to the stages of development it goes through; and in another, it can in many ways be boiled down to the raw, almost feral imposition of the organized violent will of an angry and fear-ridden human id upon the rest of humankind.

That’s where Donald Trump comes in.

Read the rest, please. I want to leave this with something David clips that I ran across a number of years ago, thought I had it around here somewhere but can’t find. We can’t say this loud enough or often enough, and we have to say it while we still can (see White Rose Society): Fascism sneaks in the back door. That is the German experience, slowly, over time, it just sort of happened. Milton Mayer writes in his book They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945 not overnight, incrementally, like the legendary slow boiling of frogsfascism. Fascism creeps:

“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

… “But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jewish swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in—your nation, your people—is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.”

It is by small steps of incremental meanness and viciousness that we lose our humanity. The Nazis, in the end, embodied the ascension of utter demonic inhumanity, but they didn’t get that way overnight. They got that way through, day after day, attacking and demonizing and urging the elimination of those they deemed their enemies.

And this is what has been happening to America – in particular, to the conservative movement and the Republican Party – for a very long time. Donald Trump represents the apotheosis of this, the culmination of a very long-growing trend that really began in the 1990s.”

A clear and present danger to my grandchildren’s future.

Fear me.

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
November 15, 2010 in White Rose
By Dr. Lawrence Britt, Source Free Inquiry.co

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

cartoon-nazi-fascism1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us. Expect us.

No fear…

Well indeed I remember my grandmother puttering about her Gilchrist garden humming snippets of IWW Wobblie songs of her and m’Gda’s hell-raising days.

Oregon homeboy Erik Loomis over at Lawyers Guns and Money has an interest in the history of labor relations, the timber industry, and political-based poetry of American history, of New Deal Agency Poetry. Here is one of the most famous (infamous?) of IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) ditties.

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You’re either with us, or against us.

It’s not a question.

No fear.

So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, in a speech On Why Environmentalism Is A ‘Patriotic Duty’, defined what it was to be a progressive, and why the true nationalists and patriots were progressives, and environmentalists, and you ain’t it:

Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us, and training them into a better race to inhabit the land and pass it on. Conservation is a great moral issue for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation. …

“I ask nothing of the nation except that it so behave as each farmer NASA-March2015-256x171here behaves with reference to his own children,” Roosevelt explained in the speech. “That farmer is a poor creature who skins the land and leaves it worthless to his children. The farmer is a good farmer who, having enabled the land to support himself and to provide for the education of his children leaves it to them a little better than he found it himself. I believe the same thing of a nation.”

Roosevelt then immediately pointed out, “Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part.” And he was blunt about the solution:

There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done….

It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced.

Here are some more quotes that define progressivism and Teddy Roosevelt — and distinguish him from modern day wannabes:

  • The “greatest good for the greatest number” applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.
  • If in a given community unchecked popular rule means unlimited waste and destruction of the natural resources — soil, fertility, waterpower, forests, game, wild-life generally — which by right belong as much to subsequent generations as to the present generation, then it is sure proof that the present generation is not yet really fit for self-control, that it is not yet really fit to exercise the high and responsible privilege of a rule which shall be both by the people and for the people. The term “for the people” must always include the people unborn as well as the people now alive, or the democratic ideal is not realized.
  • The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.
  • The United States at this moment occupies a lamentable position as being perhaps the chief offender among civilized nations in permitting the destruction and pollution of nature. Our whole modern civilization is at fault in the matter. But we in America are probably most at fault … Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals’not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements.
  • To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them.

This is what it means to be a progressive in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt.

The bottom line is it is immoral for one generation to destroy another generation’s vital soil — or its livable climate.

You are an enemy of the American People, enemy of the American Way of Life.

And a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s future.

Fear me.

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There’s nothing more to be said.

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