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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.

Ian Welsh:

So, for damn near 48 years, poor whites have done terribly. For forty-eight years, ordinary politicians have promised to do something about it, and nothing has improved.

ragepromoDo not tell me, or them, that they are “privileged.” Yes, it is better to be poor and white than poor and black, and better to be a poor white man than a poor white woman, but people who are in pain do not react well to some smug, upper-middle-class jerk telling them they are privileged when their lives are clearly terrible.

It is a FACT that working class whites will not see any improvement worth mentioning under any normal politician, including Clinton. They may see an improvement under Trump, they certainly would under Sanders.

They are voting for what they see as their interests, and they are not necessarily wrong. Certainly, Trump is more likely to help than Clinton, as the chance of Clinton helping them is zero. Zip. Nada.

It is insanity to expect poor white males to accept 48 years of decline and not get angry. It’s perfectly reasonable for them to respond to a man who offers them a better life in a way that is different from all the politicians who have failed them in the past.

Trump does not feel or campaign like an ordinary politician. Poor whites read this as: “He might not betray us like all the normal politicians do.”

At the least, it is worth a try.

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?

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We must call this threat what it is: Radical Christianity; and really, all Christians are suspect.

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.

Fuck us once, shame on you, fuck us twice… President Obama is scheduled to visit Nike’s Oregon headquarters on Friday to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yes, Nike – an Oregon company that grew to billions by outsourcing jobs to overseas sweatshops, an Oregon company that sets up P.O.-box subsidiaries in tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, an Oregon company that uses threats to extort tax breaks from its “home” state.

Nike isn’t the solution to the problem of stagnant wages in America. Nike is the problem.

It’s true that over the past two years Nike has added 2,000 good-paying professional jobs at its Oregon headquarters, fulfilling the requirements of a controversial tax break it wrangled from the state legislature. That’s good for Nike’s new design, research and marketing employees.

But Nike’s U.S. workers make only a tiny percent of Nike’s products.

In fact, Americans made only 1 percent of the products that generated Nike’s $27.8 billion revenue last year. And Nike is moving ever more of its production abroad. Last year, a third of Nike’s remaining 13,922 American production workers were laid off.

Most of Nike’s products are made by 990,000 workers in low-wage countries whose abysmal working conditions have made Nike a symbol of global sweatshop labor.

YO! Phil, thanks for the little money you’ve spent here. Now get the fuck out.

You’re not welcome here.

Fuck the Ducks.

gop-humping_nAfter an all-night session known as a “vote-a-rama” in the U.S. Senate, the Republican-controlled chamber passed a budget bill early Friday morning that Democrats, all of whom voted against it, decried as a “disaster” for the economy and the American people. Outside critics were quick to assail the budget, which would cut federal spending by $5.1 trillions over ten years, as a preliminary blueprint for dismantling key programs of the nation’s social safety net while immediately gutting other key public services such as education, healthcare, and transportation projects.

Associated Press:

The vote was 52-46 after a marathon session lasting until after 3 a.m. The House approved a slightly different version Wednesday night on a similar party-line vote.

Next up are compromise budget talks between the two houses, after which lawmakers will begin writing legislation to translate the non-binding plan into specific proposals that are likely to spark a struggle with President Barack Obama.

The Senate blueprint envisions about $5 trillion in spending cuts, and an overhaul of the tax code as well as repeal of the health care law.

Democratic leaders, according to the New York Times, say the budget likely to emerge from a conference between House and Senate Republicans will be nothing short of a “disaster” for the country.

This GOP budget is fundamentally unfair to the middle class. Americans deserve better.” —Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island)

“The only good that is coming out of this series of votes is that we are getting a good picture of who stands with ordinary Americans and who doesn’t, who is committed to making the economy work for working people and who are beholden to the interests of Wall Street and right-wing ideologues.” As Republicans posture for the 2016 elections, senators will increasingly make themselves sound as if they care about the plight of working people and are prepared to do something about it. But it is important to remember that when they had opportunities to say with their vote that they are prepared to do something concrete to create jobs, ensure women get equal pay, that college is affordable or avert damage from climate change, they turned the other way.—Isaiah Poole, Campaign For America’s Future

Because starvation wages are good enough for millions of hard working Americans.

What Is She Doing Right? Wall Street to Punish Dems over Elizabeth Warren

US-FINANCE-BANKING-PROTESTCiting sources familiar with the situation, representatives of some of the nation’s largest banks—including Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America—have actively considered putting pressure on the Democratic establishment by making a coordinated threat to withold campaign contributions unless the populist rhetoric coming from Sen. Warren and her colleague from Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown, is toned down.

You know that old canard about banksters leaping to their deaths on Black Tuesday? It’s just that, a canard, history rewrit by those who can get away with it.

They didn’t jump.

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