Obama and TPP: Every One That Doeth Evil Hateth the Light by William Black

 Bill Black photoBy William K. Black

April 25, 2015

 Cross Posted with:  New Economic Perspectives

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/04/obama-tpp-every-one-that-doeth-evil-hateth-the-light.html

President Obama wants the world to know that he takes it personally that the Democratic Party’s base opposes his latest effort to sell out the people of the world to the worst corporations through the infamous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. Obama blurted out at a press conference a number of conservative Republican memes as his sole basis for pushing TPP. He then launched personal attacks on Senator Elizabeth Warren and labor leaders (without naming them). Obama, who is famous for keeping his cool when criticized by the GOP, is thin-skinned when criticized by Democrats. Obama never raged at the Republicans’ “death panel” attacks on him, but he raged at Warren as supposedly making an equivalently openly dishonest attack on TPP’s secret drafting process.

One of the most reprehensible aspects of TPP is that it is (still) being drafted in secret – that it from us, the people – but with corporate lobbyists literally drafting their wish list. Obama made the critical mistake of personally attacking Warren, which is roughly equivalent to a small town mayor launching a personal attack on Jon Stewart. You know the results will be that Stewart will wipe the floor with the mayor.

Or, to move the metaphor to Hollywood, the character playing the President in the movie The American Presidentwarns his political opponent to limit his attacks to the President rather than his girlfriend: “you better stick with me, ’cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.” Warren is way out of Obama’s league in this arena of protecting the American people from CEOs’ frauds and abuses. Obama is the one who infamously told the bankers he was protecting them from the American people’s demands for the restoration of the rule of law so that the banksters would be held accountable for leading the fraud epidemics that drove the financial crisis and the Great Depression. Obama, being Obama, phrased that in the form of a vile slander of the American people, claiming that they wanted to use “pitchforks” rather than prosecutions.

Here is the “money quote” from Warren and Senator Sherrod Brown’s letter responding to Obama’s attack.

“‘Executives of the country’s biggest corporations and their lobbyists already have had significant opportunities not only to read [the TPP text], but to shape its terms,’ the letter reads. ‘The Administration’s 28 trade advisory committees on different aspects of the TPP have a combined 566 members, and 480 of those members, or 85%, are senior corporate executives or industry lobbyists. Many of the advisory committees — including those on chemicals and pharmaceuticals, textiles and clothing, and services and finance — are made up entirely of industry representatives.’”

In sum, Obama stacked the committees to ensure that the CEOs’ lobbyists would completely dominate the secret drafting of TPP. And everyone in America know that the result of that has to be a Faux Trade agreement crafted to allow the CEOs to plunder with impunity.

Obama is demanding an additional reprehensible element – “fast track” – in which the cynical “CEOs’ Christmas in May” deal cannot be amended to remove even the most despicable provisions of the bill placed like land mines by the CEOs’ lobbyists. I don’t think opposing the TPP should be a partisan issue. Republicans should help lead the effort to stop Obama’s latest sell out.

TPP, of course, is being sold through a full court press of the economists who brought us the financial crisis and the Great Recession and the multiple Great Depressions in Spain, Italy, and Greece. Their lie, as always, is that this travesty of special interest deals drafted overwhelmingly by corporate lobbyists represents “free trade.” They first torture the language and truth before they torture the world.

TPP is the opposite of “free trade.” In the jargon of its economic supporters, it is a moldering midden hiding the secretly drafted “rent seeking” provisions designed to help CEOs enrich themselves at the expense of the people of the world. Adam Smith, who supported freer trade, warned over two centuries ago that when CEOs meet secretly it promptly turns into a conspiracy against the public interest and warned that CEOs use their power to aid their own interests at the expense of shareholders and the public.   Smith’s warned that it “ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

Similarly, the even more conservative Frédéric Bastiat famously warned:

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

TPP is the legal system designed to authorize plunder with impunity. Economists are the priests that glorifies the CEOs’ plunder. When you allow CEOs’ lobbyists to secretly draft a deal and then make it impossible through “fast track” for the public or our representatives to vote down even the most despicable of these acts of CEO plunder you make it certain that the law will bring plunder rather than “free trade.”

There are five aspects of Obama’s deal that are indefensible and will cause immense damage to the base and the public at large – and Obama’s efforts to smear critics of these indefensible provisions adds a sixth aspect that cries out for rejection. It is indefensible to:

  1. Draft the deal in secret from the public – through classifying the TPP drafts as purported “national security” information. There was, and is, zero basis for classifying the drafts.
  2. Allow CEOs’ lobbyists to secretly draft provisions of the deal
  3. “Fast track” the bill, making it impossible to remove even the worst plundering through the lobbyists’ language
  4. Give away U.S. and other nations’ sovereignty to a kangaroo (non) court dominated by lawyers for CEOs
  5. Allow these kangaroo non-courts to destroy vital regulations and bankrupt nations at the behest of the worst corporate CEO plunderers – exposing the world to even more frequent and severe financial crises. I have explained these last two points in more detail in the past. These provisions of TPP are so bad that they are depraved – and we have abundant, terrible, and global experience under past, more limited Faux Trade deals with the same provisions to know that the word “depraved” is the appropriate description.

As Zach Carter explained, Obama’s “rage against the base” appears to be based overwhelmingly on criticism by Senator Warren and labor of the first indefensible element of the CEOs’ scheme to plunder.

“Obama surprised reporters by appearing on a conference call with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in effort to rebut criticisms from Warren and other key Democrats, who worry that his pending Trans-Pacific Partnership deal will exacerbate income inequality and undermine key regulations.

‘The idea that we can shut down globalization, reduce trade … is wrong-headed,’ Obama said on a conference call. ‘That horse has left the barn.’

While Obama did not mention Warren by name, much of his commentary appeared to be directed at her. The two have already traded barbs on TPP this week. Obama said in a TV interview on Tuesday that Warren was “just wrong” on the issue. Warren responded by sending a fundraising email to her supporters warning that Obama’s promises on the pact were hollow, since ‘people like you can’t see the actual deal.’”

Obama’s argument is that members of Congress can “see” the text of the TPP now. His wording suggests that he continues to forbid even members of Congress to obtain copies of the draft, which is essential for effective review and demands for removal (except that Obama’s express goal is to remove Congress’ ability to remove even the worst acts of CEO plunder from TPP. It is not clear whether members of Congress are now allowed to take notes on the text as they read it. Obama forbade them do so – again, for the express purpose of making it impossible for them to oppose the lobbyists’ plunder. Zach Carter noted Obama’s legalistic parsing of his failed effort to refute Senator Warren’s criticism.

“Obama seemed to implicitly reference Warren’s response on the call on Friday, noting that members of Congress can now view the text of the pact and will have months to review the agreement before voting on the final version.

‘Every single one of the critics saying this is a secret deal, or send out e-mails to their fundraising base that they’re working to stop a secret deal, could walk over and see the text of the agreement,’ Obama said. ‘When I just keep on hearing people repeating this notion that it’s secret — I gotta say, it’s dishonest. And it’s a little concerning when I see friends of mine resorting to those sort of tactics.’”

Carter has a new article about Warren and Senator Sherrod Brown’s letter responding to Obama’s personal attacks on them. The letter is devastating.

“On Saturday, Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) responded with a letter essentially telling Obama to put up or shut up. If the deal is so great, Warren and Brown wrote, the administration should make the full negotiation texts public before Congress votes on a ‘fast track’ bill that would strip the legislative branch of its authority to amend it.

‘Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate, instead of being muzzled by classification rules,’ Warren and Brown wrote in the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

In essence, Warren and Brown have invoked scripture.

John 3:20-21King James Version (KJV)

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Obama did not simply allow lobbyists to largely draft TPP in secret – he classified their drafts – treating them as national security secrets. This would be downright funny if it were not so wicked. It is most certainly revealing about the fact that Obama and the lobbyists knew that the drafts were so outrageous in their substance that Obama had to take preposterous steps to safeguard them from honest experts. Carter’s most recent article explains:

“Democrats and some Republican critics have been particularly frustrated by Obama’s decision to treat the TPP documents as classified information, which prevents them from responding to Obama’s claims about the pact in detail.

‘Your Administration has deemed the draft text of the agreement classified and kept it hidden from public view, thereby making it a secret deal,’ the letter reads. ‘It is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement. And while you noted that Members of Congress may ‘walk over … and read the text of the agreement’ — as we have done — you neglected to mention that we are prohibited by law from discussing the specifics of that text in public.’

Warren and Brown appeared particularly miffed at being accused of lying.

‘We respectfully suggest that characterizing the assessments of labor unions, journalists, Members of Congress, and others who disagree with your approach to transparency on trade issues as ‘dishonest’ is both untrue and unlikely to serve the best interests of the American people,’ the letter reads.

Obama’s “Three-card Monte” tactics with regard to members of Congress ludicrously limited ability to effectively review and discuss the draft deal are a very old game in Washington, D.C. that was well-developed when I began working there forty-two years ago. But Obama is not simply being disingenuous about TPP being drafted in secret. “I gotta say” that he is “resorting to [the] tactics” of being “dishonest.”

TPP is a deal that Obama, the failed economists, and the CEOs knew could not survive the light. They were aware of the truth of Justice Brandeis’ famous observation that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” TPP was drafted in secret to avoid that disinfectant. People who are doing straight up deals in the public interest would never allow lobbyists to draft the deal and would have welcomed criticisms of their drafts. The secret drafting of TPP largely by the CEOs’ lobbyists was designed to maximize the ability of CEOs to plunder.

Obama cannot deny these facts so he tries to steer the conversation to ignore the drafting by the CEOs’ lobbyists and the removal from Congress of the power to stop even the most depraved assault on the public interest by amendment. What Obama does not tell you is that only a tiny section of TPP’s critics get to see the draft – members of Congress. I have begun to explain how even their ability to criticize was deliberately hamstrung by Obama’s “Three-card Monte.” Anyone who understands Congress knows that the members are strongly dependent on their staffs doing the analysis of complicated legislation like TPP that has been carefully crafted by corporate lawyers to conceal its plunder behind abstruse legalese. It is like trying to spot the “Easter eggs” hidden in a single frame of movie – except that the CEOs’ lobbyists’ task is to ensure that they are all rotten eggs. Congressional staffers overwhelmingly lack the clearance to even review the TPP drafts. An administration “briefing” on a TPP draft is meaningless given the administration’s cheerleading for TPP and its successful efforts to ensure that Congress cannot “kick the tires.”

Someone like Hillary Clinton should plainly be taking a position on TPP, but Obama has given her the perfect out. H. Clinton is not permitted even the limited “Three-card Monte” sneak peak at the TPP drafts. And that illustrates the broader point. Anyone who really wanted TPP understood and the rotten Easter Eggs identified would have given the drafts to teams of people like me to review so we could strip them out of TPP. But Obama makes sure that independent experts like me are excluded from removing the many scandals that the CEOs’ lobbyists have hidden in the TPP legalese.

Mankiw’s Maulers: The Economists Who Mauled Our Economy and Democracy

The fact that experts are excluded from reviewing the draft TPP means that when the failed economists who designed our recurrent, intensifying financial crises sign letters expressing total support for TPP as drafted they literally do not know what they are talking about. N. Gregory Mankiw (the subject of the second installment in this series of articles about TPP) wrote in the New York Times that economists agreed on the desirability of TPP, citing a March 5, 2015 “Open Letter” to Congress that he had signed with other former Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers. The list contains the names of the leading architects of the financial crisis and the Great Recession such as Mankiw, Alan Greenspan, and Ben Bernanke, so it automatically fills one with shock and awe. The willingness of Mankiw’s Maulers to give unqualified support for a deal drafted primarily by CEOs’ lobbyists – without ever reviewing the deal – demonstrates that they no longer make even a pretense to intellectual honesty.

The reader may be wondering at this point why I think it is appropriate for me to criticize a deal I cannot read, but inappropriate for Mankiw’s Maulers to be cheerleaders for a deal they cannot read. The answer is that the positions are not parallel for six reasons. First, I am criticizing the deal for being drafted in secret and hidden from independent experts and the public. Second, there have been several leaks of portions of the TPP drafts and they establish that TPP is loaded with rotten Easter Eggs drafted by the CEOs’ lobbyists. Third, economic theory unambiguously predicts that if you let the CEOs’ lobbyists do the drafting the inevitable result is a Faux Trade agreement rather than a “free trade” agreement. Mankiw’s Maulers premised their support for TPP on the blind assumption, which we know to be untrue through economic theory, experience, and prior leaks of the TPP drafts, that TPP would create free trade. Fourth, we have centuries of experience that uniformly confirms that if the CEOs’ lobbyists draft the trade deal the result is a Faux Trade deal. Fifth, even the proponents of the TPP deal admit that it has the kangaroo court provisions that allow the massive fines that are designed by the lobbyists to destroy effective regulation. (Mankiw’s Maulers studiously refrain from noting this assault on U.S. sovereignty and our ability to adopt vital rules to prevent corporate crimes.) Sixth, Mankiw’s Maulers cannot take the position that once they learn about the rotten Easter Eggs secreted in the draft by the CEOs’ lobbyists they will support the removal of those acts of plunder. Their open letter explicitly (if euphemistically through a reference to “trade promotion authority”) supports “fast tracking” TPP in order to strip Congress of its normal constitutional powers to make amendments to eliminate these acts of plunder by CEOs.

________________________________________________________________

From:

New Economic Perspectives

 

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/04/obama-tpp-every-one-that-doeth-evil-hateth-the-light.html

William Kurt Black (born September 6, 1951) is an American lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator.[1] Black’s expertise is inwhite-collar crime, public finance, regulation, and other topics in law and economics. He developed the concept of “control fraud“, in which a business or national executive uses the entity he or she controls as a “weapon” to commit fraud.

Black earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Black is currently an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the Department of Economics and the School of Law. He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007 and previously taught at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at theUniversity of Texas, and at Santa Clara University.[2]

Black was litigation director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) from 1984 to 1986, deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) in 1987, and Senior VP and the General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco from 1987 to 1989, which regulated some of the largest thrift banks in the U.S.[3][4]

Corporate ‘Free Traitors’ by Ralph Nader

 

Ralph Nader photoPosted: 04/24/2015 5:59 pm EDT Updated: 04/24/2015 6:59 pm EDT

 Cross posted from:

 

 Consumer advocate, lawyer and author
The pro-big business President Barack Obama and his corporate allies are starting their campaign to manipulate and pressure Congress to ram through the “pull-down-on-America” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and foreign investment treaty between 12 nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam).

The first skirmish is a fast track bill to have Congress formally strip itself of its constitutional authority to regulate trade and surrender this historic responsibility to the White House and its corporate lobbies.

Lest you think the TPP is too commercially complex to bother about, think again. This mega-treaty is the latest corporate coup-d’état that sacrifices the American consumer, labor and environmental standards — inventively called “non-tariff trade barriers” — and much U.S. sovereignty to the supremacy of corporate commercial trade.

No single column can adequately describe this colossal betrayal — camouflaged by phrases like “free trade” and “win-win agreements.” For comprehensive analysis of the TPP you can go to Global Trade Watch (http://www.citizen.org/trade/).

Trade treaties, like NAFTA and GATT, which created the World Trade Organization (WTO), already have proven records of harming our country through huge job-exporting trade deficits, unemployment, freezing or jeopardizing our consumer and environmental rules, holding down regulations on giant banks and weakening labor protections.Ralph Nader--two party scam

How does the corporate state and its “free traitors” construct a transnational form of autocratic governance that bypasses the powers of our branches of government and accepts decisions that greatly affect American livelihoods issued by secret tribunals run by corporate lawyers-turned-judges? Well, first they establish autocratic procedures, such as fast track legislation that facilitate the creation of an absentee autocratic government, which betrays the American people by going far beyond reducing tariffs and quotas.

Imagine, when the TPP treaty finally gets negotiated with other nations in secret, the White House cynically classifies it as an “agreement” requiring a simple majority vote, not a treaty requiring two-thirds of the Congress for passage. Fast track legislation then limits debate on the TPP to a total of 20 hours in each chamber. Then, Congress lets the White House tie Congress’ hands by prohibiting any amendments and requesting just an up or down vote.

Meanwhile the campaign cash flows into the abdicating law-makers’ coffers from the likes of Boeing, General Electric, Pfizer, Citigroup, Exxon Mobil and other multinational corporations that show a lack loyalty to the United States (no corporate patriotism) due to their ties to communist and fascist regimes abroad who let them get away with horrible abuses and repression in the name of greater profits.

Many of these Pacific Rim countries, for example, have bad labor laws and practices, few, if any, consumer or environmental protections that can be enforced in courts of law and precious little freedom of speech.

A recent treaty with South Korea was pushed through Congress on false predictions of jobs and win-win solutions. In fact, the Korean agreement resulted in a ballooning of the trade deficit that the U.S. has with that country, costing an estimated nearly 60,000 American jobs.

The majority of these corporate-managed trade agreements come from the demands of global corporations. They exploit developing countries that have cheap labor and lax laws, unlike more developed countries, such as the U.S., that have greater protections for consumers, workers and the environment. Under this trade agreement, countries that seek better protections for their workers and consumers can be sued by corporations and other nations. Remarkably, better treatment, such as safer motor vehicles, is seen as an obstructive trade barrier against inferior imports.

For one example of many, under the WTO, the U.S. cannot keep out products made by brutal child labor abroad, even though U.S. law prohibits child labor in this country. This is how our sovereignty is shredded.

Under the WTO, the U.S. has lost 100 percent of the cases brought before the secret tribunals in Geneva, Switzerland against our public interest laws -like consumer and environmental protections. The TPP will produce similar autocratic outcomes.

Cong. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), former Texas Supreme Court Justice, told POLITICO: “I do not believe that Congress should relinquish its trade oversight authority. This really is a fast track — seeking to railroad the Trans-Pacific Partnership through while the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hides from Congress the most important details.”

Proponents of the TPP want to limit debate and prevent any amendments to this treaty that might deal with issues such as currency manipulation, child labor, bad workplace conditions, etc. by such countries as Mexico and Vietnam. What is enforceable, with penalties, are sanctions and lawsuits against our country (and others), which corporate power demands. U.S. taxpayers will ultimately pay that price.

This is why Senator Elizabeth Warren is opposing the TPP. She wrote in the Washington Post that the TPP, “would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court.”

For example, if a company doesn’t like our controls over cancer-causing chemicals, it could skip the U.S. courts and sue the U.S. before a secret tribunal that can hand down decisions, which can’t be challenged in U.S. courts. If it won before this secret kangaroo court, it could be given millions or hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, charged to you, the taxpayer. Again, the big business “free traitors” are shredding our sovereignty under the Constitution.

Scores of such cases already have been brought under the WTO. Senator Warren explained that “recent cases include a French company that sued Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage, a Swedish company that sued Germany because Germany decided to phase out nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and a Dutch company that sued the Czech Republic because the Czechs didn’t bail out a bank that the company partially owned… Philip Morris is trying to use ISDS to stop Uruguay from implementing new tobacco regulations intended to cut smoking rates.”

Senator Warren upset President Obama who, before a business audience (he wouldn’t talk TPP before a labor or consumer gathering), called Warren “wrong on the facts.” Really? Well why doesn’t he debate her, as Al Gore debated Ross Perot on NAFTA? She has read the fine print; I doubt whether he has read more than the corporate power tea leaves. He seems to have forgotten his severe criticism of NAFTA from when he ran for president in 2008.

Right now, President Obama probably has the Republican votes in the Senate, but not yet a majority of votes in the House. The vast majority of the Democrats are opposed to the TPP. Tea Party Republicans are reducing Speaker Boehner’s vote count among Republicans. Using history as an example, President Bill Clinton easily peeled off votes during his push for NAFTA. What we need now are a couple of million voters around America to put serious heat on their faltering members of the House and Senate – not that arduous of an effort – over the next few months. That is fewer Americans than watch big league games on television.

In addition, these civic-minded and active Americans would be backed by 75 percent of Americans who think that the TPP should be rejected or delayed, according to a bipartisan poll from the Wall Street Journal. People know what these “pull-down” trade agreements have done to them in their own communities.

This Blogger’s Books and Other Items from…Amazon
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FOR FAST TRACK: The Moment Has Arrived, Now Is The Time by Popular Resistance

 

Popular Resistance Newletter heading

Newsletter: The Moment Has Arrived, Now Is The Time

This week’s newsletter will be brief because many members of the Popular Resistance team are in Massachusetts for the Northeast Climate Organizers Summit and we are heavily engaged in the work to stop fast track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

 

Resistance to Fast Track

Mackenzie McDonald-Wilkins protests fast track while Senate Finance Committee considers fast track on April 22, 2015. Photo by John Zangas of DC Media Group.

After a more than three year campaign, the moment has arrived, now is the time. We are at the key battleground that will determine whether the TPP and other corporate trade agreements will become law. Fast track trade authority, as expected, passed the two committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate. The next step is where we have always expected we could stop them, the full US House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee passed an amended version of fast track. This was expected because the Finance Committee is one of the most corrupt committees in Congress taking more than $100 million from big business each election cycle. While the committee rejected amendments to protect ‘Buy American’ laws, one of the amendments that did pass was designed to restrict the BDS movement targeting Israel. The victory for us in the Senate was that the committee wanted to pass fast track in February, but was delayed for two months by our collective actions.

The next day, fast track was debated and voted upon in the House Ways and Means Committee. There was a lively debate in that committee lasting for ten hours during which questions were raised about the legality of the President negotiating an international agreement such as the TPP without prior approval and provision of negotiating objectives in advance from Congress. The Republican Chair, Rep. Paul Ryan refused to allow a vote on an alternative approach to trade authority put forward by the ranking Democrat, Sander Levin.

As you can see from this comprehensive review, resistance to fast track and rigged corporate trade is growing rapidly. Representative Levin, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, declared his intention to defeat fast track.

Fast  track protest at US Capitol, April 16, 2015. Photo by Eleanor Goldfield, Art Killing Apathy.

Last weekend there were hundreds of actions around the world. Cities are rising up against fast track too by passing resolutions against it. San Francisco just passed one and New York is voting next week. You will find tools to pass a resolution in your community if you click here.

The next phase of defeating fast track requires ideally preventing the fast track bill from reaching the Floor of the House for a vote or defeating it on the Floor if it does go there. At this moment, we believe that there are not enough votes in the House to pass it, but that can change as the administration and lobbyists tighten the screws on our Representatives.  Sen. Sherrod Brown reports he has never seen more intensive lobbying by the Obama administration on any other issue throughout his presidency.

We must maintain our pressure on them to vote “No” on fast track. We urge you to continue to call your member frequently. You can use www.StopFastTrack.com to do that.

And we urge you to organize actions in your local district during the next recess from May 2 to 11. This is a critical recess, if our support grows during the recess, it is unlikely they will be able to achieve majority support.  Join the next weekly National Fast Track Resistance call on Wednesday, April 29 at 9 pm EDT/6 pm Pacific for more information on how to do that. Click here for information about the calls. We are in the home stretch of this fight for now, so please give it everything you have! Take the action pledge here.

 Highlights from the week:

1ecuawbThe World Bank met in Washington, DC this week. We were there for a powerful march and rally organized by the people of Ecuador to protest Chevron. Alnoor Ladha of The Rules explains in this interview how the World Bank has displaced nearly 3.4 million people from their land.

The FCC moved this week to stop the Comcast Time Warner merger. This is another difficult but important victory for truly preserving a free and open Internet that was won through people power. We need to break up the big Internet corporations, encourage competition, municipal ownership and provide high speed Internet to all, including rural and poor communities.

Earth Day was an opportunity for all sorts of actions around the climate crisis. Demonstrators disrupted a city council meeting in Portland, OR and a large rally was held outside the CT governor’s energy summit. Activists were arrested at the Pentagon where they connected the military and climate change. The Flotilla to stop Shell in Seattle is growing. And on a sad note, one of the brave activists from the SEED Coalition, which is allied with  We Are Cove Point, went to jail this week to serve a 40 day sentence. She and her partner revealed their mistreatment by the police during the arrest.

Freddie Gray Justice for FreddiePolice violence against communities of color with impunity continues. In Chicago, Rekia Boyd’s killer was found “not guilty” and Rekia’s brother was arrested for being upset at the outcome. In Baltimore, Freddie Gray died a week after his brutal arrest and the community is responding with daily protests to demandaccountability. Protests this week resulted in the family of Tania Harris, a teen shot by police outside Minneapolis, being able to see her in the hospital. The Michael Brown family filed a wrongful death suit.

The Million Moms March is coming up in Washington, DC on May 9. Mothers of victims of police violence are coming to DC to demand justice. We interviewed Maria Hamilton onClearing the FOG. We hope that you will support them.

Each of our struggles are connected. We can see that most evidently in the campaign against fast track for corporate trade, because these rigged agreements affect every aspect of our lives and every issue where we are concerned. Stopping fast track is a great opportunity for the movement for social, economic and environmental justice to unite and build its power against transnational corporations.

One of the primary tactics of those who oppose our justice agenda is to divide us, one of our jobs is to unite across issues, support each other and work together to build our power to create the kind of world we want to see. We need to be conscious in our work to strive for broad solidarity and create a movement of movements that through synergy builds people power.

Popular Resistance is reader-supported. Click here to make a donation.

Illegal Drone Warfare is a War Crime..

Originally posted on The Wordsmith Collection:

th“Horrifyingly, the use of airstrikes to kill rescue workers in a “double tap” when they come for the bodies of drone victims has been repeatedly documented, as well.

Perpetual wars spilling across many borders is now a foregone conclusion. The public pays it little mind. Drones take this even further, targeting individuals determined to be combatants – without a declaration of war against their country and without formal charges, allegations or complaints against those individuals.

Due process is effectively dead. The White House, the Pentagon, and the pilots who operate their predator drones have become judge, jury and executioner while the public isn’t even told who is on their kill list, or why.”
_______________________________________________

Pakistan-strongly-condemns-US-drone-attack-in-N-WaziristanAmerica’s Drones Are Still Killing Scores of Innocents

By Alan Grayson and Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films

31 October 14

Nabila Rehman, 9, was injured by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. Rehman was picking okra…

View original 349 more words

Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016–Oxfam Report

Oxfam logo

Even it Up---Oxfam

Published: 19 January 2015

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

The international agency, whose executive director Winnie Byanyima will co-chair the Davos event, warned that the explosion in inequality is holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when 1 in 9 people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than $1.25-a-day.

Byanyima will use her position at Davos to call for urgent action to stem this rising tide of inequality, starting with a crackdown on tax dodging by corporations, and to push for progress towards a global deal on climate change.

Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More, a research paper published today by Oxfam, shows that the richest 1 percent have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and at this rate will be more than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.

Of the remaining 52 percent of global wealth, almost all (46 percent) is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population. The other 80 percent share just 5.5 percent and had an average wealth of $3,851 per adult – that’s 1/700th of the average wealth of the 1 percent.

Staggering inequality

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.

“In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

“Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost free option – failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality – they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around.”

Business must act

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer of E.L. Rothschild and chairman of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, who is speaking at a joint Oxfam-University of Oxford event on inequality today, called on business leaders meeting in Davos to play their part in tackling extreme inequality.

She said: “Oxfam’s report is just the latest evidence that inequality has reached shocking extremes, and continues to grow. It is time for the global leaders of modern capitalism, in addition to our politicians, to work to change the system to make it more inclusive, more equitable and more sustainable.

“Extreme inequality isn’t just a moral wrong. It undermines economic growth and it threatens the private sector’s bottom line.  All those gathering at Davos who want a stable and prosperous world should make tackling inequality a top priority.”

Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with the revelation that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent (3.5 billion people). That figure is now 80 – a dramatic fall from 388 people in 2010. The wealth of the richest 80 doubled in cash terms between 2009-14.

The international agency is calling on government to adopt a seven point plan to tackle inequality:

  1. Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals
  2. Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education
  3. Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption towards    capital and wealth
  4. Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers
  5. Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal
  6. Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum income guarantee
  7. Agree a global goal to tackle inequality.

Today’s research paper, which follows the October launch of Oxfam’s global Even It Up campaign, shines a light on the way extreme wealth is passed down the generations and how elite groups mobilise their vast resources to ensure global rules are favourable towards their interests. More than a third of the 1645 billionaires listed by Forbes inherited some or all of their riches.

Twenty percent of billionaires have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw their cash wealth increase by 11 percent in the 12 months to March 2014. These sectors spent $550 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571 million in campaign contributions.

Billionaires listed as having interests in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors saw their collective net worth increase by 47 percent. During 2013, they spent more than $500 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels.

Oxfam is concerned that the lobbying power of these sectors is a major barrier in the way of reforming the global tax system and of ensuring intellectual property rules do not lead to the world’s poorest being denied life saving medicines.

There is increasing evidence from the International Monetary Fund, among others, that extreme inequality is not just bad news for those at the bottom but also damages economic growth.

Oxfam will today hold a joint symposium Rising Inequality in the Global South with Oxford University. Speakers include Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild.

Notes to editors

Download Oxfam’s new report: Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More

Wealth of 1 percent, 50 percent, 80 percent and 99 percent taken from Credit Suisse Global Wealth Datebook (2013 and 2014) https://www.credit-suisse.com/uk/en/news-and-expertise/research/credit-suisse-research-institute/publications.html Projection of 1 percent wealth for 2016 calculated by Oxfam based on that data.

The wealth of the richest 80 was calculated using Forbes’ billionaires list. Annual data taken from list published in March.

Credit Suisse made changes to its methodology between 2013 and 2014. Using this new methodology, last year’s ‘85’ would have been ‘90’. That means that the number of billionaires who have the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion has fallen from 90 to 80 in the last 12 months.

Details of Oxfam’s Even It Up campaign can be found at oxfam.org/even-it-up

Contact information

For further information or to arrange an interview: Jon Slater +44 7876 476403 / jslater@oxfam.org.uk

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

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Why We Need to Ditch Austerity and Take on the Global 1%

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/04/23/why-we-need-ditch-austerity-and-take-global-1

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By next year, the richest 1% of the world will own more wealth than the rest of the entire population of the planet, according to Oxfam. This is a staggering figure,…
COMMONDREAMS.ORG

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doctom2010:

Please note the long list of references given at the end of this excellent article!!—Thomas Baldwin

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Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:

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