This past February, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C., Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker rolled up his sleeves, clipped on a lavalier microphone, and without the aid of a teleprompter gave the speech of his life. He emerged from that early GOP cattle call as a front-runner for his party’s nomination for president. Numerous polls this spring placed him several points ahead of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the preferred candidate of the Republican establishment, in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those same polls showed him with an even more substantial lead over movement conservative favorites such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee. In late April, the Koch brothers hinted that Walker would be the likely recipient of the nearly $900 million they plan to spend on the 2016 election cycle.
A key section of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been leaked to the public. The New York Times has a major story on the contents of the leaked chapter, and it’s as bad as many of us feared.
Now we know why the corporations and the Obama administration want the TPP, a huge “trade” agreement being negotiated between the United States and 11 other countries, kept secret from the public until it’s too late to stop it.
The section of the TPP that has leaked is the “Investment” chapter that includes investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses. WikiLeaks has the text and analysis, and the Times has the story, in “Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.”:
An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment “expectations” and hurt their business, according to a classified document.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.
The WikiLeaks analysis explains that this lets firms “sue” governments to obtain taxpayer compensation for loss of “expected future profits.”
Up until a few weeks ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves.
The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home’s three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners.
He said, “Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America”
Fracking. Could there be a more perfect model for how we’re getting rinsed by this current conspiracy of government and commerce? In a world turned upside down, “conservative” now means the absolute opposite of “leaving things as they are”. Conservative means changing everything. It means dismantling things and selling off the bits. It means drilling into our lives and extracting the marrow.
Conservatism and conservation are now about as far apart as it’s possible to get. Friends of Conservation are the ones protecting the countryside. The ones who stand around self-consciously in terrible fancy dress, holding passive-aggressive placards in praise of the noble, selfless badger. Or basically any mammal that looks good in a waistcoat.
Friends of Conservatism, on the other hand, are the ones who roll up on heavy machinery like a pissed Ukrainian militia. The ones who drill deep beneath that area of local countryside whose only “use” so far has been as a picnic site. And who then pump into the ground powerful jets of high-pressure hydrogunk, splintering rock as easily as a walnut. And who, having sucked up a sky’s worth of valuable gas through a massive crack pipe, then pack up and lumber off to fracture and steal someone else’s underground treasure.
Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t ruling out joining ultra-liberal Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, saying she’s not surprised at all that the Vermont senator is surging in the polls and drawing enthusiastic Granite State audiences.
“Bernie’s out talking about the issues that the American people want to hear about,” Warren, who hasn’t endorsed anyone in the Democratic primary yet, told the Herald yesterday.
Asked if she would campaign with Sanders at some point, she didn’t dismiss the idea.
On the morn of Chris Christie’s presidential campaign announcement, Star-Ledger editor Tom Moran looked back upon his decade-plus of covering the pugnacious governor and diagnosed him as a pathological liar.
“Don’t misunderstand me,” Moran wrote. “They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.”
Moran distinguished Christie’s mendacity from other politicians’, who tend to obfuscate or dissemble, by pointing out that Christie “lies with conviction.” He noted Christie’s 2009 promise to unions that public sector pensions were “sacred” to him, the force of which was matched by Christie’s vigor in targeting those pensions.
“His hands don’t shake, and his eyes don’t wander,” Moran wrote. “I can hardly blame the union leaders who met with him for believing him.”
Reports have emerged that ISIS has executed one of its top administrative officials in Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul for planning a coup against the extremist group.