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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,045

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The Undemocratic Job-Killing Trade Scheme That Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership


from In These Times:


The Undemocratic Job-Killing Trade Scheme That Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership
BY LEO GERARD, UNITED STEELWORKERS PRESIDENT


Free traders in Congress formally proposed last week that lawmakers relax, put their feet up and neglect the rigor of legislative review for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade scheme.

The TPP is a secret deal among 12 Pacific Rim nations that was covertly negotiated by unelected officials and corporate bosses. It’s so clandestine that lawmakers elected to represent the American people were refused access to the deliberations. It would expand secret trade tribunals that corporations use to sue governments over democratically established laws and win compensation from taxpayers.

The Congressional free traders want to Fast Track authorization of the TPP. Fast Track enables Congress to abdicate its constitutionally mandated duty to regulate international trade. Instead of scrutinizing, amending and improving proposed trade deals, lawmakers use Fast Track to gloss over the specifics and simply vote yea or nay on the entire package as presented. With elected officials excluded from the talks, details of the treaty deliberately shrouded in secrecy and free traders demanding lawmakers ignore the deal’s effects on constituents, this process condemns democracy.

As usual, the free traders say, don’t worry, the TPP is gonna be great, just great! Trust us, they say.

For opponents of the deal—unions, environmentalists, human rights groups and Congressional progressives—there’s no trusting free traders. That’s because they’ve proven to be nothing but flimflam men. Deals they’ve peddled previously, like NAFTA, CAFTA and KORUS, have not, in fact, been great. They’ve dramatically increased the nation’s trade deficit, prompted corporations to ship manufacturing offshore, cost millions of American workers their jobs and suppressed wages. ................(more)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17880/the_undemocratic_job_killing_trade_scheme_that_is_the_trans_pacific_partner




Bill Moyers segment with "The Wire" creator David Simon (apropos in light of Baltimore)




Published on Jan 31, 2014

David Simon, creator of the TV series 'The Wire,' talks with Bill about America's capitalism crisis. It's a reality check from a journalist who uses TV drama to report on America from the bottom up. "The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we'll count ourselves lucky and many more will be marginalized and destroyed."


Thom Hartmann: "Fast Track" Flouts the Constitution


Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn't backing down one inch in her fight with President Obama over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

On Saturday, just a few days after the president accused her of spreading "misinformation," about the TPP trade deal I like to call SHAFTA, the Massachusetts senator hit back hard in a letter to the White House.

While the Obama administration has, she pointed out, given 500 or so corporate lobbyists inside access to TPP negotiations, it has left the public completely in the dark.

In fact, as Senator Warren went on to write, "It is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement. And while ... Members of Congress may 'walk over ... and read the text of the agreement' - as we have done - (we) are prohibited by law from discussing the specifics of that text in public."

.....(snip).....

If you thought that was bad, though, here's the real kicker: If the Obama administration gets its way, Congress won't even get a chance to really debate the TPP before it becomes the law of the land. .............(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30462-fast-track-flouts-the-constitution




I Can Haz Your Doctor's Office: Private equity buying up primary care practices





By Roy Poses, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University, and the President of FIRM – the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine. Cross posted from the Health Care Renewal website


There are still some idealistic physicians who enter primary care practice as a calling.

The usual informal definition of primary care is care which is continuous, coordinated, comprehensive and compassionate. The official definition used by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is:

Primary care is that care provided by physicians specifically trained for and skilled in comprehensive first contact and continuing care for persons with any undiagnosed sign, symptom, or health concern (the ‘undifferentiated’ patient) not limited by problem origin (biological, behavioral, or social), organ system, or diagnosis.

Primary care includes health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of health care settings (e.g., office, inpatient, critical care, long-term care, home care, day care, etc.). Primary care is performed and managed by a personal physician often collaborating with other health professionals, and utilizing consultation or referral as appropriate.Primary care provides patient advocacy in the health care system to accomplish cost-effective care by coordination of health care services. Primary care promotes effective communication with patients and encourages the role of the patient as a partner in health care.

Private Equity Firms are Buying Out Primary Care Practices

However, an article this week in Modern Healthcare described how primary care in the US is getting a rude surprise. Apparently, primary care practices are now “in play,” ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/barbarians-gates-private-equity-puts-primary-care-play.html




The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic


from Web of Debt:



The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic

Posted on April 24, 2015
by Ellen Brown


The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.
— Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution


A republican form of government is one in which power resides in elected officials representing the citizens, and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In The Federalist Papers, James Madison defined a republic as “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people . . . .”

On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers.

The secretive TPP is an agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries that affects 40% of global markets. Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week. Fast-track means Congress will be prohibited from amending the trade deal, which will be put to a simple up or down majority vote. Negotiating the TPP in secret and fast-tracking it through Congress is considered necessary to secure its passage, since if the public had time to review its onerous provisions, opposition would mount and defeat it.

Abdicating the Judicial Function to Corporate Lawyers

James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. . . . “Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. . . .”


And that, from what we now know of the TPP’s secret provisions, will be its dire effect. ....................(more)

http://ellenbrown.com/2015/04/24/the-trans-pacific-partnership-and-the-death-of-the-republic/




Drone Condolences (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/drone_conndolences_20150426


GOP Twerking (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/twerking_20150426


Sex, Drugs, and Dead Soldiers: What U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know


from TomDispatch:


Sex, Drugs, and Dead Soldiers
What U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know

By Nick Turse


Six people lay lifeless in the filthy brown water.

It was 5:09 a.m. when their Toyota Land Cruiser plunged off a bridge in the West African country of Mali. For about two seconds, the SUV sailed through the air, pirouetting 180 degrees as it plunged 70 feet, crashing into the Niger River.

Three of the dead were American commandos. The driver, a captain nicknamed “Whiskey Dan,” was the leader of a shadowy team of operatives never profiled in the media and rarely mentioned even in government publications. One of the passengers was from an even more secretive unit whose work is often integral to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which conducts clandestine kill-and-capture missions overseas. Three of the others weren’t military personnel at all or even Americans. They were Moroccan women alternately described as barmaids or "prostitutes."

The six deaths followed an April 2012 all-night bar crawl through Mali’s capital, Bamako, according to a formerly classified report by U.S. Army criminal investigators. From dinner and drinks at a bar called Bla-Bla to more drinks at La Terrasse to yet more at Club XS and nightcaps at Club Plaza, it was a rollicking swim through free-flowing vodka. And vodka and Red Bull. And vodka and orange juice. And vanilla pomegranate vodka. And Chivas Regal. And Jack Daniels. And Corona beer. And Castel beer. And don’t forget B-52s, a drink generally made with Kahlúa, Grand Marnier, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The bar tab at Club Plaza alone was the equivalent of $350 in U.S. dollars.

At about 5 a.m. on April 20th, the six piled into that Land Cruiser, with Captain Dan Utley behind the wheel, to head for another hotspot: Bamako By Night. About eight minutes later, Utley called a woman on his cell phone to ask if she was angry. He said he'd circle back and pick her up, but she told him not to bother. Utley then handed the phone to Maria Laol, one of the Moroccan women. “Don’t be upset. We’ll come back and get you,” she said. The woman on the other end of the call then heard screaming before the line went dead.

A Command With Something to Hide

In the years since, U.S. Africa Command or AFRICOM, which is responsible for military operations on that continent, has remained remarkably silent about this shadowy incident in a country that had recently seen its democratically elected president deposed in a coup led by an American-trained officer, a country with which the U.S. had suspended military relations a month earlier. It was, to say the least, strange. But it wasn’t the first time U.S. military personnel died under murky circumstances in Africa, nor the first (or last) time the specter of untoward behavior led to a criminal investigation. In fact, as American military operations have ramped up across Africa, reaching a record 674 missions in 2014, reports of excessive drinking, sex with prostitutes, drug use, sexual assaults, and other forms of violence by AFRICOM personnel have escalated, even though many of them have been kept under wraps for weeks or months, sometimes even for years. ................(more)

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175984/tomgram%3A_nick_turse%2C_africom_behaving_badly/#more




Cardinals' Adam Wainwright expected to miss rest of season with Achilles injury


St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is expected to miss the rest of the 2015 season due to an Achilles injury he suffered Saturday night while stumbling out of the batter's box, a source told ESPN's Jim Bowden, confirming an earlier report by Fox Sports.

The Cardinals placed Wainwright on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with what they termed as a left ankle and Achilles injury. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.

"My foot just shut down on me," Wainwright said Saturday after the Cardinals' 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wainwright had a 2-0 lead when he stumbled getting out of the batter's box on his popup that led off the fifth inning. He was helped off the field by a trainer and left the game. ................(more)

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/12768740/adam-wainwright-st-louis-cardinals-goes-disabled-list-left-ankle-injury



German Intelligence Under Fire for NSA Cooperation


US intelligence spent years spying on European targets from a secretive base. Now, it seems that German intelligence was aware of the espionage -- and did nothing to stop it.


(Der Spiegel) It was obvious from its construction speed just how important the new site in Bavaria was to the Americans. Only four-and-a-half months after it was begun, the new, surveillance-proof building at the Mangfall Kaserne in Bad Aibling was finished. The structure had a metal exterior and no windows, which led to its derogatory nickname among members of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence agency: The "tin can."

The construction project was an expression of an especially close and trusting cooperation between the American National Security Agency (NSA) and the BND. Bad Aibling had formerly been a base for US espionage before it was officially turned over to the BND in 2004. But the "tin can" was built after the handover took place.
The heads of the two intelligence agencies had agreed to continue cooperating there in secret. Together, they established joint working groups, one for the acquisition of data, called Joint Sigint Activity, and one for the analysis of that data, known as the Joint Analysis Center.

But the Germans were apparently not supposed to know everything their partners in the "tin can" were doing. The Americans weren't just interested in terrorism; they also used their technical abilities to spy on companies and agencies in Western Europe. They didn't even shy away from pursuing German targets.

The Germans noticed -- in 2008, if not sooner. But nothing was done about it until 2013, when an analysis triggered by whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks showed that the US was using the facility to spy on German and Western European targets. ..................(more)

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-intelligence-agency-bnd-under-fire-for-nsa-cooperation-a-1030593.html



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