Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.


"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Democracy at the crossroads

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proves that in this election, democracy is at a crossroads.

Can democracy survive this kind of Presidential and government secrecy carried out in collusion with Wall Street behind the backs of the American people?

Can democracy even survive another four more years of an Obama Administration?

The struggle for working class issues like the relationship between war and peace and poverty and unemployment is a struggle to defend democracy from Obama and these parasitical Wall Street vultures/venture capitalists seeking his re-election.

Wall Street's greed, the TPP and democracy.

I find it very interesting Barack Obama always uses the left to "leak" out information he doesn't want to provide himself.

Obama used Communist writer Gerald Horne to "leak" the fact that his "mentor" as a youth was Communist Frank Marshall Davis. The "Frank" in Obama's book. How would Gerald Horne have known this had it not been for Obama or someone close to Obama feeding him this information?


Obama used Tom Hayden and the "Progressives for Obama" to "leak" he was a closet "progressive" and "peace activist." Hayden even forced Obama as a speaker at a huge peace demonstration in Chicago just to get a picture of Obama speaking at a peace demonstration... that photograph still remains as the centerpiece on the "Progressives for Obama/Progressive America Rising" website even though Obama has been exposed as a Wall Street warmonger employed by the merchants of death and destruction.

Now Obama uses the "Public Citizen" and "Foreign Policy In Focus" to "leak" information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). How quaint and coincidental.

I would note that this is the FOURTEENTH "round" of discussions on the TPP according to the government's very own website--- a pact that the Obama Administration made anyone who talked about this previously sound like some kind of paranoid idiot:

http://www.ustr.gov/tpp

Obviously, Obama now wants to consolidate his Wall Street backing so it becomes a political necessity to acknowledge these talks are in progress.


And these left-wing phonies breaking the "news" about the TPP through "leaks" turn right around and continue supporting Obama: Gerald Horne, Tom Hayden, the foundation-funded outfits associated with Foreign Policy In Focus; and, last but not least, the AFL-CIO pretending to be "progressive."

Leo Gerard and Richard Trumka are great buddies with Obama--- they "have his back."

What about the backs of workers who continue losing their jobs as a direct result of these "trade deals" like the TPP? Who is covering their backs? It would be nice if the leaders of the AFL-CIO were as interested in protecting the lives, jobs, rights and livelihoods of workers whose dues pay their big fat salaries as they are protecting "Obama's back."

Check it out.

Right here now on the U.S. government's own website:

http://www.ustr.gov/tpp

This is the website of the "Office of the United States Trade Representative; Executive Office of the President.

One has to wonder why one would have to rely on "leaks" instead of being able to read all the documents associated with the TPP on the official government website.

Who "leaked" this "partial" information; and why was it done?

Obama isn't concerned about this "leak?"

The TPP has been in the works at least since 2010 when they had their First Round of Talks on the TPP...

But, think about this:

How long did it take to prepare for this First Round of Talks?

Did it begin with Bush? Was this then carried over by Obama knowing about this even before he was elected?

Was Obama already surreptitiously in a stealth, secret way and alluding to the TPP in his article in Foreign Affairs Magazine in 2007?

Why must the American people learn about the TPP from "leaked documents" not being able to verify their authenticity rather than being able to read all the documents themselves provided directly from the United States government?

Why hasn't Barack Obama been running for re-election based on his involvement in promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

It seems the "great leaders" of this great bastion of democracy fear what the American people--- most notably the working class--- may have to say about the TPP.

All just a bunch of hypocrites.

Does anyone call the way this TPP is being shoved down our throats: democracy?

The TPP: A Quiet Coup for the Investor Class

Re: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

To:

Lacy MacAuley

Media Relations Manager 
lacy@ips-dc.org 
202-787-5242 Office 
202-445-4692 Cell


From:

Alan L. Maki
alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com

September 26, 2012



Lacy MacAuley

I keep reading about the "leaked chapters" of the TPP. Recently your own writer referred to these "leaked chapters:"

http://www.fpif.org/articles/the_tpp_a_quiet_coup_for_the_investor_class

Note: See complete article below.

But according to Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, the leaked chapters of the TPP “sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama’s campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states.”

I have been trying to find these "leaked chapters" to read but no one can provide me a link; why is this? The article above has all kinds of links to other things but none to these "leaked chapters."

I resent writers who keep referring to something I can't read and I think many people feel the same way.

I can find no place on your web site to contact the writer of this article.

I hope you will provide me the link/s to the "leaked chapters of the TPP."

Also, why hasn't your organization sought to make the entire TPP document public since your writer claims "600 corporate lobbyists" have been provided with copies.

My concern, judging by your foundation funders and your Advisory Committee--- many of whom back Obama--- you are protecting Obama from criticism while making Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) appear to be unbiased:

Salih Booker, Global Rights
Sarah Browning, Split This Rock Poetry Festival
Robert Borosage, Campain for America’s Future
John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies
William Hartung, New America Foundation
Martha Honey, Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development
Michael Klare, Hampshire College
Roxanne Lawson, TransAfrica Forum
Thea Lee, AFL-CIO
James Lobe, Inter Press Service
Lora Lumpe, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Cynthia McClintock, George Washington University
Lisa McGowan, Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO
Jae-Jung Suh, SAIS-John Hopkins University
Joe Volk, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Coletta Youngers, consultant
Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco
I insist on being provided a link or a copy via e-mail of these "leaked chapters of the TPP" because people have a right to read for themselves what this TPP consists of.

I find it interesting FPIF provides no other contact information for its writers (or perhaps I am just not able to find the info on your site?).

Contact Us


Lacy MacAuley

Media Relations Manager
lacy@ips-dc.org
202-787-5242 Office
202-445-4692 Cell

I will call you about this later today after you have had a chance to discuss this with the writer. I find it difficult to believe Hilary Matfess, the writer, would write about the TPP without having read the "leaked chapters of the TPP" for herself or at least finding out if such "leaked chapters of the TPP" actually exist.

But; my concern remains: Why should we the people, in this great democracy, not be able to read for ourselves the entire TPP by obtaining a copy from our government?

One of my primary, though not only, concerns with the TPP is that it will enable the Ford Motor Company to import the Ford Rangers it is producing at its new plant in Thailand financed by Minnesota and U.S. tax-payer bailouts and subsidies intended for the survival of the now closed Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant which resulted in the loss of 2,000 union jobs of those manufacturing the popular Ford Ranger pick-up trucks as the manufacturing of the Ford Rangers has been off-shored to Thailand.

Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this important and timely matter;


--
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541

Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net
E-mail: alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/


Article...

The TPP: A Quiet Coup for the Investor Class

By Hilary Matfess, September 25, 2012

It would be a relief to report with any certainty that the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a massive proposed free-trade zone spanning the Pacific Ocean and all four hemispheres—are definitely empowering corporations to the detriment of workers, the environment, and sovereignty throughout the region. Unfortunately, the secretive and opaque character of the negotiations has made it difficult to report much of anything about them.

What can be confidently reported about the TPP is that, in terms of trade flows, it would be the largest free-trade agreement yet entered into by the United States—and, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, that the ministers negotiating the agreement “have expressed an intent to comprehensively reduce barriers in goods, services, and agricultural trade as well as rules and disciplines on a wide range of topics” to unprecedented levels. Yet despite these grandiose ambitions, details of the negotiations and drafts of the text have been purposefully withheld from Congress and American citizens.

The secrecy surrounding the negotiations is breathtaking. In July, 134 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk requesting that the appropriate congressional committees be consulted and that a draft of the text be released. The members reminded Kirk that draft texts were circulated and congressional committees consulted throughout the NAFTA negotiations in the early 1990s. Their letter received no response. A month later, House members petitioned Kirk to allow a congressional delegation to observe the negotiations—as in the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the launch of the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization, and numerous NAFTA rounds. Despite its persistence, Congress has not been granted any significant oversight or insight regarding the negotiations.  

While Congress, the press, and the public have had to make do with leaked chapters of negotiations, Just Foreign Policy reports that 600 corporate lobbyists were granted access to the negotiated text. American democracy is in a sorry state when corporations are granted more access to even the text of sweeping government agreements than the public and its elected officials. Although corporate influence on U.S. trade policy is hardly a new phenomenon, the simultaneous waning of congressional oversight is all the more unsettling.

In May, Democratic Reps. Barney Frank and Sander Levin wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to express their concern about the TPP’s provisions entrenching capital mobility. Their letter requested “an official written statement of the U.S. policy” concerning the ability of parties to the agreement to deploy capital controls in the face of a financial crisis. If the leaked drafts accurately reflect the direction of the negotiations, countries that instituted capital controls could be taken to court by private corporations and could be held liable for damages. Hundreds of economists signed letters in January and February 2011 opposing these provisions, yet the investment chapter leaked in June suggests that neither their concerns nor Frank’s and Levin’s were taken into consideration.

Other troubling trends have emerged in the leaked chapters. According to Citizen.org, the negotiations thus far have given corporations the right to avoid government review when acquiring land, natural resources, or factories. They have also banned corporate performance requirements, guaranteed compensation for the loss of “‘expected future profits’ from health, labor, [or] environmental” regulations, and included stunning provisions concerning the right to “move capital without limits.” If these are indeed terms of the TPP, then the agreement would make it nearly impossible for countries to hold corporations accountable for their conduct—and would in fact hold governments liable for any “damage” incurred by corporations due to the institution of regulations.

Many progressives had hoped that President Barack Obama would shift U.S. trade policy away from staunch free-marketeering. But according to Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, the leaked chapters of the TPP “sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama’s campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states.”

The struggle over the Trans-Pacific Partnership reveals a disturbing trend in American politics. The much discussed Citizens United ruling granting corporations personhood has given way to a trade negotiation process in which corporations are granted more rights than American citizens, their elected representatives, or foreign governments impacted by the deal. That trade negotiations with such an immense potential impact on numerous sectors of the American economy have been conducted in secret is troubling enough. To consider that those negotiating the treaty have willfully ignored experts and elected representatives in favor of corporate interests calls into question the sustainability of American democracy.