by John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 9/24/2015
A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.
– Pope Francis speaking to the US Congress
Pope Francis’ speech to the US Congress struck me as a message with strains long demanded in the corrupt halls of our government. It was a message that took me back 30 years to my travels in Central America during the Reagan years, which was a pivotal moment in modern US history for the rise of a money class and the problems of inequity we currently face.
I was raised an atheist by a right-wing militarist. As a little boy, when my father worked in research for a pharmaceutical company in suburban New York, there came a time he aspired to enter the corporate end of the business. So I was sent to Sunday school for a brief period. There I learned that Jesus Christ was this cool guy in robes who loved people and was nice to them.
My father’s honeymoon with the corporate side of the company did not last long….
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by Robert Reich, June 7, 2015
Washington has been rocked by the scandal of J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, indicted on charges of violating banking laws by paying $1.7 million (as part of a $3.5 million agreement) to conceal prior misconduct, allegedly child molestation.
That scandal contains another one that’s received less attention: the fact that Hastert, who never made much money as a teacher or a congressman, could manage such payments because after retiring from Congress he became a high-paid lobbyist.
This second scandal is perfectly legal but it’s a growing menace….
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by Ralph Scharnau, Blog for Iowa, 5/5/15
This opinion piece is not about the newest bathroom tissue! Rather TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) refers to a free trade agreement among 12 countries, the United States, Canada, and Mexico as well as Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The TPP sets rules governing more than 40 percent of the world’s economy. Negotiations on the new trade agreement have been going on in secret since 2005. Negotiations occur under the supervision of some 600 unelected and mostly corporate “trade advisors” while access to meetings and text drafts have been hidden from members of Congress, the press, and the public. What has been learned about the pact has come through leaked texts, and now the real debate has begun.
The TPP has little to do with trade. Of 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. The pact fails to deliver on the Obama administration’s assurances of broad gains for consumers and the economy while protecting workers’ rights and the environment. Much of the pact focuses instead on outsized “investor rights.”…
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by Lauren Weber, Huffington Post, 4/22/15
WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday warned that a major trade deal being negotiated by the Obama administration could hamstring Wall Street reform efforts.
Warren raised the issue in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, which was also signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The correspondence highlighted a broadening rift between President Barack Obama and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party over economic policy, less than a week after Warren and Obama squared off over a budget deal that provided government subsidies for risky derivatives trading.
“We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises,” the letter reads. “With millions of families still struggling to recover from the last financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed, we cannot afford a trade deal that undermines the government’s ability to protect the American economy.”…
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