RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE AND MAKE POLITICAL ACTION YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION!
WE CAN STILL REVERSE THIS!!!!
DO NOT THINK THIS IS HARD------IT IS VERY BASIC AND VERY EASY! EASY PEASY, ALL WE NEED DO IS RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE
This is the next stage in fear as the policies neo-liberals have pushed are republican make democratic voters mad----where are they to go? See why republicans pols are bashing RomneyCare and calling it socialist, health policy written by conservative think tanks? They know that their constituents would not have allowed health care be taken from them either. THIS IS A PROPAGANDA GAME. BOTH SIDES OF LABOR AND JUSTICE ARE BETRAYED BY THEIR POLS IN OFFICE. Labor and justice must educate families and friends as to the need to run and vote for labor and justice and get republican workers on board with labor and justice democrats! Workers in the south know change is needed.....let's get them on board for democratic labor and justice candidates!!! The Tea Party did this with small business people rising up against naked capitalist neo-cons consolidating small businesses out of business.....we need to get all workers on board with labor and justice candidates!
Poll: GOP Takes Lead Over Dems on Generic Congressional Ballot |
During the government shutdown in October, the public’s revulsion with what was widely seen as an uncalled for tactical maneuver resulted in a shift towards Democrats in the generic congressional ballot. A CNN/ORC survey from late October showed voters preferring generic Democrats over Republicans by 50 to 42 percent. That lead has evaporated in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s roll out and CNN/ORC’s latest generic ballot polling shows the voting public has turned away from Democrats.
The latest CNN survey shows voters preferring a generic GOP candidate over a generic Democrat by 49 to 44 percent. This represents a 13-point shift in voter sentiment from the height of the shutdown. Furthermore, it shows that the swing towards Republicans has not slowed as the White House focused all its efforts on attempting smooth out the ACA’s issues in December. A CNN generic ballot survey from late November showed voters preferring Republicans over Democrats by just 2 points, at 49 to 47 percent.
RELATED: New Poll Shows 21-Point Swing Against Congressional GOP Among Independents
Worse for Democrats, this survey found that voters loyal to the party in power in the Senate are less enthusiastic than average about heading to the polls next year. Only 22 percent of Democrats described themselves as “extremely” or “very enthusiastic” about voting in the 2014 midterms. 36 percent of self-identified Republicans said they were enthusiastic.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT POLICY STANCE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE-----OBAMA'S ACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL!
Regarding the history of Presidency and a do-nothing Congress:
Raise your hands if you know that Congress is not passing laws because the International Trade Agreements have global corporations rewriting the US Constitution and our elected officials helping them!!! EVERYONE. SO WHY DOES US MEDIA NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IS WHAT CONGRESS HAS BEEN DOING AND BUSY THEY ARE?
The 1% want everything in place before the public knows so they will wait until just before Congress tries to fast track all of this and act as if this is legitimate. NONE OF IT IS. This topic plays to the corporate NPR report having a Presidential historian talk about Obama's Presidency and how history will look at it. THE CLUE HERE IS THAT NONE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IS LEGITIMATE!
We know the history of Nixon THREATENED WITH IMPEACHMENT AND FORCED TO RESIGN for simply a small spying scheme. That was back when we had strong separation of branches of government with a court system that worked under the US Constitution. It is a time as well that the American media was free and democratic and worked to hold power accountable. So, what is now a small breech of law had Nixon running for the door.
Fast forward to today and we have a President who CANNOT SEE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION. Huffington Post ran an article calling Obama's Presidency the most corrupt in US history, beating George Bush which is a high bar to cross! Yet, in this corporate NPR analysis of Presidents, not one word about Obama's Presidency being illegitimate! How can that be? Remember, Greenspan and Geithner committed treason and what most people consider acts worse than terrorism in fueling and encouraging the massive mortgage and financial frauds of last decade......TREASON FOR GOODNESS SAKE and Obama is the public protector-in-chief who embraced the enemy.........ALL ILLEGAL. They didn't know says Greenspan! WE ALL KNOW MR. GREENSPAN!
What you heard on NPR of the history that mentions none of this is no doubt heading for the Common Core history section along with the Bush Administration's wonderful performance in protecting our nation against weapons of mass destruction. THEY ARE WRITING PROPAGANDA FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS.....only, the American people are seeing through this capture and reversing these policies! So too, we will reverse this lawlessness and suspended Rule of Law. You see, when a government suspends Rule of Law and attempts a COUP in rewriting the nation's Constitution-----none of what that President does is legitimate! HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN IMPEACHED WHEN HE PLACED GEITHNER AS TREASURY SECRETARY AND FILLED POSTS WITH THE VERY PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THESE MASSIVE FRAUDS.
Why is this important now? The American people would not be served to impeach Obama because those in line work for global tribunals as well. So, Biden and Pelosi --------the other leadership----Durbin and Schumer in the Senate and Hoyer in the House----ALL WORKING FOR GLOBAL TRIBUNALS. So, we must wait for the next elections to shake the neo-liberals out of the rug and declare all these actions illegal. It is important for what the NPR report on Presidency stated-----the final years of Obama's Presidency will be spent
STACKING THE FEDERAL COURTS WITH NEO-LIBERAL/GLOBAL CORPORATE JUDGES! SEE WHY HARRY REID RELAXED THE SUPERMAJORITY RULE FOR COURT APPOINTMENTS?
The example used by NPR was Roosevelt stacking the courts with progressives to offset Obama's intention to stack the courts with neo-liberal/global corporate judges. We can look at the recent NSA constitutionality in the courts now to see how that works. The Washington courts shouted loudly and strongly that there is no way NSA actions were constitutional and IT IS NOT UNDER ANY INTERPRETATION. Yet, the New York judge appointed by a neo-liberal Clinton used this reasoning: if corporations can literally rape and pillage for profit all of the American people's personal information then why would it be illegal for a government to use it?
THE POINT IS THAT CORPORATIONS SHOULD NOT BE RAPING AND PILLAGING OUR PERSONAL INFORMATION EITHER. A NEO-LIBERAL JUDGE WORKS FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT AND WOULD NOT SEE THAT AS ILLEGAL. APPOINTMENTS OF JUDGES BY OBAMA WILL BE VOID.
These are the kinds of judges that Obama will appoint and it will eliminate any ability of the public to receive justice as these Trade laws are enacted and global corporations are able to do as they please-----which is what they are doing now. It is important to shout out that Obama's term in office was made illegal from the point he embraced people known to have participated in illegal activities that proved to devastate the nation. OBAMA'S APPOINTMENTS WILL BE VOIDED BECAUSE HE SHOULD NOT STILL BE IN OFFICE.
What about the 2010 election? We voted for him again. There was no primary and democrats voted because the other candidate would be worse. That is not an election ----it is the sham elections they have in third world countries.
The point is this-----if the American people are to move back to a first world, Rule of Law nation with the Constitution it has had from its conception we must shout out all the transgressions of these few years, provide justice, and reverse the damage. It is like any nation whose government is taken by thugs.
TPP IS ILLEGAL AND A COUP AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION, FAILURE TO HOLD WALL STREET AND CORPORATE EXECUTIVES ACCOUNTABLE IS ILLEGAL, AND ALLOWING THE RAIDING OF THE US TREASURY OF TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IS EQUIVALENT TO AIDING THE ENEMY.
This is the Presidential history to be written of Bush and Obama for American history books and it will be written.
SO, WHEN A PRESIDENT KNOWS PEOPLE IN HIGH OFFICE BROKE THE LAW AND IGNORES IT-----HE IS ACTING CRIMINALLY AS WELL AND IS AIDING AND ABETTING!
TPP AND OBAMA'S JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ARE NULL AND VOID!
The Case against Greenspan and Bernanke by Mike Whitney | February 27, 2010 - 11:44am
Is there enough evidence to indict Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan on charges that they aided and abetted the banks and other financial institutions in the sale of fraudulent loans to investors?
That depends on whether there is sufficient proof to show whether the two men KNEW that the nation's lenders were engaged in large-scale predatory lending and chose to do nothing. As we'll see, both Greenspan and Bernanke were warned repeatedly about the mortgage/derivatives scam by credible professionals and industry regulators, but failed to act.
Here's a definition of "aided and abetted" from the 'Lectric Law Library:
"The guilt of a person in a criminal case may be proved without evidence that he personally did every act involved in the commission of the crime charged. ...if the acts or conduct of an agent, employee or other associate of the person are willfully directed or authorized by the person, or if the person aids and abets another person by willfully joining together with that person in the commission of a crime, then the law holds the person responsible for the conduct of that other person just as though the person had engaged in such conduct himself."
Bernanke denies culpability in the meltdown--but at the same time-- eagerly points out that the Federal Reserve is the chief regulator responsible for overseeing the "large complex financial firms that pose a threat to the stability of the financial system." So, which is it? Does he accept responsibility or not? Here is a statement Bernanke made earlier in the week during an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee which may help to clarify the point.
“I think that stripping the Federal Reserve of supervisory authorities in the light of the recent crisis would be a grave mistake... we’ve learned from the crisis large complex financial firms that pose a threat to the stability of the financial system need strong consolidated supervision.... You need an institution that has a breadth of skills. It’s hard for me to understand why in the face of a crisis that was so complex and covered so many markets and institutions, you would want to take out of the regulatory system the one institution that has the full breadth and range of those skills to address those issues.”
Bernanke admits that the Fed is the 'primary regulator' that is responsible for "strong consolidated supervision" over "large complex financial firms that pose a threat to the stability."
Fine. If we accept his definition, than we must also accept that the Fed needs to be held accountable when it clearly abuses its authority and puts the system at risk. The record will show that, at the very least, the Fed is guilty of criminal negligence for its role in facilitating the sale of fraudulent loans to homeowners and investors. The Fed consistently refused to use its authority to reign in the banks even when their activities pushed the system towards catastrophe.
I have put together a short list of the regulators and agencies that warned Bernanke and Greenspan prior to the Lehman meltdown. (There's bound to be many I have missed) But, first, here is a brief summary of what caused the crisis by economist and author James K. Galbraith in a recent interview on New deal 2.0:
"The principal cause of the crisis was the dismantling of the system of regulation and supervision in the financial sector which had for much of the post-war period kept the most dangerous elements of that sector in check. In the absence of an appropriate system of effective supervision and regulation, what happens is that the actors in the system, who are intent upon taking the greatest degree of risk — including actors who are intent upon using fraudulent methods to increase their returns — come to dominate parts of the system. As they do that, the general methods of assessing performance in the market, specifically stock-market valuations, become counter-productive. That is to say, they invariably reward the worst actors, while they force more traditional actors, who are still respecting the old norms of conduct, into a competitively disadvantaged position. Thus the bad actors, the fraudulent actors, and the speculative extremists quickly take over.
That is what happened specifically in the origination of mortgages in the United States in the middle part of the last decade. You had a transition from a traditional method of issuing mortgages to people who could be reasonably expected to service them, to a method of originating mortgages that were sold off immediately, that were rated in a way that permitted them to be bundled and sold to fiduciaries, and where the issuer had no interest in whether the borrowers could pay or not. In fact, in some ways the lenders actively preferred people who did not intend to pay, because they could then inflate the value of the loan and earn a larger fee upfront for doing it. And in this way, not only was there a large segment of the market that was explicitly corrupt, but the equity value of homes all across the country was compromised. When these practices collapsed, so too did the home values not only of people who had bad mortgages, but also those for many people who had good mortgages, good incomes and perfectly good credit.
The result of that was a general slump in activity. The wealth and financial security of much of the American middle class disappeared. So far about a quarter of the measured wealth of the American middle class has disappeared - about $15 trillion of $60 trillion. That’s bound to have a fantastically traumatic effect on people’s consumption behavior and on their ability to get new good credit. Even if they wish to continue to extend the past pattern of borrowing in order to finance activity, they can’t do it. So, this is a very big problem. It starts with a failure to supervise and regulate the financial system, and flows on to the reaction of the broader population, which is to protect their remaining assets, to become extremely adverse to taking ordinary business and consumer risks."
So, Galbraith believes that the main problem was "the dismantling of the system of regulation and supervision" over the last quarter century. This view is now widely held; that deregulation played a bigger part in the crisis than the Fed's low interest rates. The problem with this theory is that it tends to obscure the fact that the Fed STILL had the authority to step in and prevent people from getting ripped-off. Thus, "deregulation" was not the problem as much as "failure to regulate". (which Galbraith also notes) This is an important distinction. The financial crisis was not caused by a system malfunction; it was caused by men perpetrating a crime.
Bernanke and Greenspan had a birds-eye view of everything that was going on in the market, that is, mortgage origination, off-balance sheet operations and securitization. They knew that homes were being sold to applicants who had no way of servicing the debt. They knew that hybrid mortgages were developed with the clear intention of increasing the quantity of mortgages without regard for the creditworthiness of the borrower. They knew that the lenders didn't care whether the loans blew up or not since they made their profits on upfront fees. They knew it all, and refused to act.
As it happens, many other people knew what was going on, too, but either kept quiet or were ignored by the media. Even now, when we have a much better understanding of what really took place, the media still presents the crisis as if it was a natural disaster--like an earthquake--that no one could have anticipated or prevented. This is nonsense. The housing bubble was 100% man-made. The Fed could have taken action at any time to stop the bubble from getting bigger but, instead, became the biggest cheerleader for dodgy loans and garbage mortgage-backed securities.
The media has succeeded in concealing the facts and deflecting the blame. As former bank regulator Bill Black said in a recent interview with Paul Solman on PBS News Hour, what is shocking about this particular crisis is the appalling lack of accountability.
ZERO INDICTMENTS, ZERO CONVICTIONS
William Black: "In the savings and loan crisis... we had over 1,000 convictions of senior insiders.... At this stage among the subprime lending specialists, we have zero convictions. We have zero indictments."..."In September 2004, the FBI began publicly warning that there was an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud, and it predicted that it would produce an economic crisis, if it were not dealt with. The FBI has also said that 80 percent of the mortgage fraud losses occur when lender personnel are involved. So, Fitch looks at a small sample of these loans, finally, in November 2007....And what did they find? They said...that there was the appearance of fraud in nearly every file we examined. And they said that normal underwriting would have detected all of those frauds.
So, this is coming from the lenders overwhelmingly. They created incentive systems for the loan brokers and the loan officers that were based overwhelmingly on volume, and nothing on quality. We know that they gutted their underwriting standards. We know that you got in trouble if you were moral and tried to be a good officer and protect the organization from loss." (PBS News Hour)
Repeat: The FBI KNEW there was an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud as early as 2004. Ergo: The Fed knew. Greenspan knew. Bernanke knew. And both chose not to perform their regulatory duties to stop the swindle from continuing.
And the FBI wasn't the only one who knew either. In testimony just last month before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (Jan 14, 2010) FDIC chairman Sheila Bair confirmed that she not only warned the Fed of what was going on, but cited particular regulations under which the Fed could stop the "unfair, abusive and deceptive practices" by the banks. Here is a excerpt from her damning testimony:
"PROBLEMS IN THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE MARKET WERE IDENTIFIED WELL BEFORE MANY OF THE ABUSIVE MORTGAGE LOANS WERE MADE. A joint report issued in 2000 by HUD and the Department of the Treasury entitled Curbing Predatory Home Mortgage Lending noted that a very limited number of borrowers benefit from HOEPA's protections because of the high thresholds that a loan must exceed in order for the protections to apply. THE REPORT ALSO FOUND THAT CERTAIN TYPES OF SUBPRIME LOANS APPEAR TO BE HARMFUL OR ABUSIVE IN PRACTICALLY ALL CASES. To address these issues, THE REPORT MADE A NUMBER OF RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDING THAT THE FEDERAL RESERVE USE ITS HOEPA AUTHORITY TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN UNFAIR DECEPTIVE AND ABUSIVE PRACTICES BY LENDERS AND THIRD PARTIES. During hearings held in 2000, consumer groups urged the Federal Reserve to use its HOEPA rulemaking authority to address concerns about predatory lending. Both the House and Senate held hearings on predatory abuses in the subprime market in May 2000 and July 2001, respectively...."
Naturally, Bair's testimony was ignored by the media.
So, the FBI knew, the FDIC knew, Fitch ratings knew, the Fed and Treasury knew. Was their anyone else who warned Greenspan and Bernanke about what was going on?
Yes, ex-Fed chairman Alan Greenspan's good friend Ed Gramlich cautioned him on the surge in predatory lending that was apparent as early as 2000. Here's an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:
“Edward Gramlich, who was Fed governor from 1997 to 2005, said he proposed to Mr. Greenspan in or around 2000, when predatory lending was a growing concern, that the Fed use its discretionary authority to send examiners into the offices of consumer-finance lenders that were units of Fed-regulated bank holding companies.
"I would have liked the Fed to be a leader" in cracking down on predatory lending, Mr. Gramlich, now a scholar at the Urban Institute, said in an interview this past week. Knowing it would be controversial with Mr. Greenspan, whose deregulatory philosophy is well known, Mr. Gramlich broached it to him personally rather than take it to the full board.
"He was opposed to it, so I didn't really pursue it," says Mr. Gramlich. (Wall Street Journal)
So, Greenspan was even warned by a close friend and fellow Fed governor and STILL refused to act? And Congress still hasn't launched an investigation?
And, then there is this from Elizabeth MacDonald at Fox News in an article titled "Housing Red flags Ignored":
"One of the nation’s biggest mortgage industry players repeatedly warned the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other bank regulators during the housing bubble that the U.S. faced an imminent housing crash....But bank regulators not only ignored the group's warnings, top Fed officials also went on the airwaves to say the economy was "building on a sturdy foundation" and a housing crash was "unlikely."
The letters, obtained by Fox Business, were sent in 2005 and 2006 before the housing bubble burst.
As it pleaded with bank regulators to stop subprime lending abuses, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America [MICA] pointed out the red flags in analysis from the bank regulators' own staffers as well as the likes of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, three years before these two Wall Street giants collapsed under the weight of bad mortgage bets.
Mortgage insurers are “deeply concerned about increased mortgage market fragility, which, combined with growing bank portfolios in high-risk products, pose serious potential problems that could occur with dramatic suddenness,” warned Suzanne Hutchinson, top executive at the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, in 2005. Failure to adjust bank underwriting, reserves and capital to account for this growing risk “means that downturns from credit and/or interest rate events–let alone shocks–will be far more severe than” if precautions are taken, Hutchinson noted, adding that what is “disturbing to us is the fact that recent trends could lead to sudden increases in foreclosures.” ( Elizabeth MacDonald, "Housing Red flags Ignored", FOX Business News)
Even the mortgage insurance companies knew what was going on. Everyone knew. The biggest mortgage-looting operation in history, and no one even bothered to cover their tracks. What incredible arrogance.
Finally, there's this tidbit; an op-ed published in the Washington Post in 2008 by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer who accused the Bush Administration of being a ‘partner in crime’ in the subprime mortgage fiasco. Spitzer avers that the OCC launched “an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.” Here's a clip from Spitzer's article:
"In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation."(Washington Post)
Is there any doubt that the Fed knew exactly what the Bush administration was up to? Is there any doubt that the OCC's actions resulted in tens of thousands--if not millions--of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure?
There's no doubt at all. People were getting fleeced in broad daylight. As the primary regulator responsible for overseeing the financial system an preventing "unfair, abusive and deceptive practices", the Fed could have intervened at any time and stopped the predatory lending and exploitation. Instead, they sat on their hands and let the larceny to continue.
Greenspan and Bernanke are either criminally negligent in executing their regulatory duties or complicit in aiding and abetting the banks and other financial institutions in the sale of fraudulent loans to investors and homeowners. Which is it? There needs to be an investigation to find out.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU UNDERSTAND THAT ALL OF THE POLICIES LISTED BELOW DESCRIBING TPP IS AN ASSAULT ON THE US CONSTITUTION AND THEREFOR ILLEGAL!
SHOUT OUT THAT OBAMA IS ACTING ILLEGALLY BY NEGOTIATING THESE DEALS AND YOUR NEO-LIBERAL WILL BE ACTING ILLEGALLY IF THEY PASS THESE DEALS!
THEY WILL BE NULL AND VOID WITH RULE OF LAW
New Economy | Global Trade Justice | People vs corporations
Can a “Dracula Strategy” Bring Trans-Pacific Partnership into the Sunlight?
A highly secretive trade agreement aims to penalize countries that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. Luckily, the growing opposition goes beyond the usual trade justice suspects. Document Actions
President Barack Obama attends the Trans-Pacific Partnership meeting in Yokohama, Japan, on November 14, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza.
While the election season seized everyone’s attention, government officials and 600 official corporate “advisors” were working behind closed doors to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Negotiations have been cloaked in unprecedented secrecy and its proponents have mislabeled the TPP as a “free trade” agreement. In reality, the TPP is about much more than trade. It threatens a stealthy, slow-motion corporate coup d'etat, formalizing and locking in corporate rule over most aspects of our lives.
The public, Congress, and the press are locked out, but the 600 official corporate advisors have access to the negotiating texts. Thirteen years ago, at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Seattle Ministerial, a similar threat in the form of a massive expansion of the powers and scope of the WTO was stopped.
At the Battle in Seattle, the immovable object called grassroots democracy was victorious over the allegedly unstoppable force of corporate-led globalization. The “Doha Round,” which followed two years later and continued the attempt to expand the WTO’s reign, was also derailed thanks to tenacious campaigning by organizations and activists worldwide.
Recalling these historic moments, when people power stopped the dangerous expansion of corporate power, is especially sweet today, when we must again act to safeguard these inspiring victories. All of us who will live with the results must become active to stop the TPP, the latest iteration of corporate coup via “trade” agreement.
What would the TPP do? Eleven countries are now involved—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States—and there is an open invitation for more to join. Think of the TPP as a NAFTA on steroids, which could encompass half of the world.
Foreign firms could extract unlimited amounts of taxpayer money as compensation when investors claim that U.S. government actions undermine their expected future profits. Seriously. This is the largest, most potentially damaging agreement since the 1995 establishment of the WTO. And you may never have heard about it before. That’s because the negotiations, which have been underway for three years, are being conducted in extreme secrecy. The public, Congress, and the press are locked out, but the 600 official corporate advisors have access to the negotiating texts.
The TPP is the latest strategy by the same gang who got us into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and pushed for the expansion of the WTO: American job-offshorers like GE and Caterpillar; banksters like Citi; pharmaceutical price-gouging giants like Pfizer; oil, gas, and mining multinationals like Chevron and Exxon; and agribusiness monopolists like Cargill and Monsanto.
They’ve misbranded the TPP as a model 21st-Century “trade” deal to try to sell it with the usual false promises of it expanding exports. But only two of the TPP’s 29 chapters are about “trade.”
Most of the TPP’s proposed provisions instead comprise a corporate power grab. The TPP would include extreme protections for foreign investors, which would help corporations offshore American jobs to low-wage countries. These terms would require governments to provide foreign investors a guaranteed “minimum standard of treatment” when they relocate, including special privileges and rights that domestic firms and investors do not enjoy. Foreign firms—or foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms—could extract unlimited amounts of taxpayer money as compensation when investors claim that U.S. government actions undermine a corporation’s expected future profits. Seriously.
Map by YES! online team.
Equal status for corporations and countries The investor rules would elevate individual foreign firms and investors to the same status as the sovereign nations that would be party to the TPP. Corporations and investors would be empowered to privately enforce the agreement by suing a signatory government before the World Bank and other foreign tribunals. In this “investor-state dispute resolution,” three private-sector lawyers, who rotate between suing governments and acting as “judges,” could order governments to pay large amounts of our tax dollars to investors who do not want to follow the same laws as domestic firms.
There is almost no progressive movement or campaign whose goals are not threatened. Under similar, if less grandiose, provisions in NAFTA, investors have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in cases attacking bans on toxic chemicals, land use rules, and more. Phillip Morris Asia has attacked Australia’s cigarette plain packing law—which requires that health warnings be included in cigarette packaging—before such a tribunal. Australia announced in April that it will not agree to be bound to the investor-state regime in the TPP. Negotiators from the United States have declared that all TPP nations must submit to this regime.
Either by winning an investor-state dispute or by preemptively putting a chill on government actions to address critical public needs, the TPP’s investor rights would impose an outer bound of the possible for communities and countries setting policies related to health, the environment, water, or other natural resources. There is almost no progressive movement or campaign whose goals are not threatened, while vast swaths of public-interest policy achieved through decades of struggle are poised to be undermined as these attacks proliferate.
Progressive achievements rolled back Under these terms, democracies would no longer be able to decide that we want to invest our tax dollars to create jobs at home or to create markets for green energy or morally produced goods. The TPP would also ban existing and future “Buy Local” and “Buy American” procurement policies. These are rules that direct federal and state governments to reinvest our tax dollars to create American jobs by buying domestically made cars, steel, food, and more, and by giving contracts to local construction firms or call centers firms.
The TPP also would expose to attack green and sweat-free procurement rules that specify that only recycled paper, non-old-growth wood products, renewable-source energy, or products made under fair labor standards can be purchased with government funds. Under these terms, democracies would no longer be able to decide that we want to invest our tax dollars to create jobs at home or to create markets for green energy or morally produced goods. Instead, the TPP would require our governments to send our money offshore and spend it with firms trashing human rights and the environment.
The TPP would limit financial regulation by forbidding bans on risky derivatives and other dangerous financial products, as well as the use of capital controls to counter wild surges of speculative investments in and out of countries, which destabilize the global economy. The massive financial firms that caused the financial crisis could use these terms to roll back the new financial regulations implemented in the U.S. and around the world.
Citizen activists in many of the TPP countries are building an inspiring global movement implementing the “Dracula strategy” to drag the TPP into the sunshine. As far as health care goes, the TPP would grant new monopoly privileges to Big Pharma that would jack up medicine prices and cut consumers’ access to life-saving medicines in the developing countries involved in the TPP. There is a proposal to allow pharmaceutical firms to challenge the pricing decisions of cost-saving drug formularies, which are used by developing countries and, increasingly, by the United States, to bargain for better prices with drug firms.
One chapter would even attack Internet freedom by imposing through the backdoor damaging aspects of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which citizen activism derailed in the U.S. Congress.
A trade justice coalition emerges (again) The 1-percenter TPP agenda would harm most of us in the U.S. and in the other countries involved. It can only survive if left shrouded in darkness. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. But it’s precisely the extreme nature of the TPP corporate wish list that is its greatest vulnerability—and our greatest opportunity. The 1-percenter TPP agenda would harm most of us in the United States and in the other countries involved. It can only survive if left shrouded in darkness. Citizen activists in many of the TPP countries are building an inspiring global movement implementing the “Dracula strategy” to drag the TPP into the sunshine so those who will have to live with its consequences can know what’s coming and take action.
Civil society groups representing millions of members worldwide have joined together in raising the alarm. And, given the stunning audacity of the TPP’s prospective corporate power grab, activism is reaching beyond the environmental, consumer, labor, family farm, and access to medicines groups who have been the mainstay of movements against past “trade” agreement attacks. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Avaaz, Consumers International, tobacco controls groups, and many other organizations have become involved.
From the United States to Australia and even to Malaysia (where any public gathering the authorities consider to be a protest is illegal and participants are subject to arrest), protests are growing. Outside each posh resort where TPP negotiators meet behind closed doors, citizens gather to chant “Flush the TPP,” “Release the Text,” and “Peoples’ Needs, Not Corporate Greed!”
At the next round of negotiations, which will be held in early December in Auckland, New Zealand, negotiators hope to finish several chapters of the deal, so they can sign the whole thing in the first quarter of 2013.
Each of us can make a difference. Given the threats that the TPP poses to a stunningly broad range of fundamental rights and public needs, this is a fight—like the Battle in Seattle in 1999—that can unite a powerful coalition of movements. And it is people power that will be victorious against the TPP corporate power grab, if you help spread the word.
Lori Wallach wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. A Harvard-trained lawyer, Ms. Wallach has promoted the public interest regarding globalization and international commercial agreements in every forum: Congress and foreign parliaments, the courts, government agencies, and the media. She is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
If you live in Maryland you know two things.....Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski are the Senators and they both are from the Baltimore area. If you live in Baltimore you know elections are so captured that the media does not even mention challengers names and in 2010, when we wanted to get rid of neo-liberal Cardin=====THERE WAS A BLACK HOLE IN MEDIA. NO ONE KNEW WHO THE OTHER CANDIDATES ON THE BALLOT WERE.
Below you see the reason. It is the Senate that will sign these TPP into law and keeping neo-liberals in charge in the Senate was a priority. Needing 2/3 votes in the Senate to approve treaties meant all democrats needed to be neo-liberals. These two pols play good cop because they work for a labor and justice district, but they are the Glass-Steagall, global corporate rule pols and have used trillions in tax revenue to build Johns Hopkins into a global corporation-----their global tribunal!
The point is this: it is the Senate that should be censoring the President for his illegal actions and we know they are not. This makes them duplicitous and their action null and void.
DO NOT THINK THIS IS HARD------IT IS VERY BASIC AND VERY EASY! EASY PEASY, ALL WE NEED DO IS RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE
'Imagine that the President is accused of some wrongdoing. Congress may vest its power to appoint a special prosecutor in the federal courts, and the court may then appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the charges made against the President. Independence from the executive branch is crucial here to avoid any appearance of impropriety',
Article II, Section 2, clause 2 grants the President the power to “appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States [except those whose positions are not otherwise already provided for in the Constitution, and] Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers…in the President alone.” In other words, the President is given broad appointing powers, and the powers not granted the President which remain with Congress may be vested in the President by Congressional act.
A compact made between two or more independent nations with a view to the public welfare…a contract between two nations. Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Ed., West Publishing Co., 1990
The President’s power to veto a bill is time-limited. If Congress is not in session and the President does not actively veto the bill, but rather “pockets” it, after 10 days the bill is automatically vetoed. If, on the other hand, Congress is in session at the end of the ten days the President’s opportunity to veto has lapsed and the bill will become law.
Article II of the Constitution vests the powers of the executive branch in the President of the United States and details the powers of that office. In short, the executive branch is responsible for carrying into effect the laws as passed by the legislative branch and making sure that the laws are observed. The responsibilities are best split into two separate areas – Domestic Affairs and Foreign Policy.
The Appointments Clause gives the executive branch and the President, not Congress, the power to appoint federal officials. The President has the power to appoint federal judges, ambassadors, and other "principal officers” of the United States, subject to Senate confirmation of such appointments. “Principal officers” here includes ambassadors and Members of the Cabinet. Although the Senate may opt not to confirm a Presidential appointment, Congress cannot limit or eliminate the President’s powers to make the appointments.
EXAMPLE: A member of the Supreme Court decides to step down to spend more time with her family in her old age. The empty slot is filled by the President, who appoints a new Justice. The appointment, however, is subject to Senate approval.
The power to appoint “inferior Officers” mentioned in Article II vests in the President only by Congressional approval. While Congress cannot itself exercise the power to make such appointments, Congress may vest this power in the judiciary or in Cabinet officials. In Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988), the Supreme Court clarified the line between principal officers and inferior officers, leaving essentially only Cabinet Members, federal judges, and ambassadors in the higher category. One important example of an “inferior Officer” position is that of Independent Counsel (a special prosecutor), which means that Congress may vest the power to appoint Independent Counsel in the judiciary, ensuring impartiality when issues arise concerning the executive branch.
EXAMPLE: Imagine that the President is accused of some wrongdoing. Congress may vest its power to appoint a special prosecutor in the federal courts, and the court may then appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the charges made against the President. Independence from the executive branch is crucial here to avoid any appearance of impropriety,
Along with the power to appoint comes the power to remove. Except where statutorily limited, the President may remove any executive branch officer. Congress cannot prevent removal entirely, but may limit removal by requiring a showing of good cause, provided the office from which the person is being fired is one where some measure of independence from the President is desirable. For example, the power of the President to remove Members of the Cabinet cannot be limited by Congress, because independence from the President is not desirable for those posts.
Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988) had an effect here too, and as a result even the power to remove purely executive officers may be limited by Congress so long as the restrictions imposed do not interfere with the Presidential performance of his Constitutional duties.
So if Congress may limit the President’s power to remove executive branch officers, may Congress itself remove people from these posts? Bowsher v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986) made clear that Congress may not do so.
In Bowsher, as a result of Congress’ attempt to reduce federal budget deficits, Congress gave the Comptroller General certain executive powers. Previous legislation already afforded Congress the power to remove the Comptroller for various reasons, but because Congress now bestowed on that position certain executive powers, the Court struck down the relevant provision of the act. So Bowsher tells us that Congress may not retain the right to remove for any cause any executive officer. This power remains with the executive branch and the President.
EXAMPLE: Congress decides that its power to declare war would be compromised if our Secretary of Defense does not meet certain standards of performance. Congress therefore passes a statute requiring the Secretary of Defense to appear before Congress each year and explain what he has done to improve our nation’s readiness for time of war. The statute provides that should the Secretary fail to make satisfactory improvements in any year, Congress may vote to remove the Secretary. Because the Secretary of Defense is a Cabinet posting under the President as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the statute would be an unconstitutional exercise of power.
The President and other executive officers, however, may be removed from office by Congress through the power to impeach. Impeachment itself does not remove one from office. Instead, the House of Representatives votes to impeach. If the vote passes, a Senate trial is held, and only if the Senate convicts will the officer be removed from office. The House vote requires a simple majority to pass. The Senate conviction requires a 2/3 majority vote to pass.
While Congress may impeach and thereafter remove a President, the President does enjoy certain immunities from prosecution. Regarding civil suits seeking money damages for any Presidential acts while in office, the President is absolutely immune. In Clinton v. Jones, 117 S. Ct. 1636 (1997), it was made clear that the President enjoys absolutely no immunity for non-Presidential acts. Not only was the President subject to suit from Paula Jones, the Court refused to grant him even temporary immunity which would have allowed the President to put off his defense until his term of office was complete. The rationale behind the immunity – of ensuring that the President need not fear personal liability for acts of office - was entirely inapplicable according to the Court. Acts prior to taking the office of the Presidency are therefore also not included in the President’s shield from suit.
EXAMPLE: Suppose a President, years before taking office, is involved in a real estate deal in his home state. While in the office of the Presidency, facts come to light indicating that he may have committed fraudulent acts as part of the transaction. Although defending himself from the suit will take away from the time he can dedicate to his Office, he is neither immune from suit nor able to postpone adjudication.
The President does have an executive privilege covering Presidential papers and discussion, which affords further protection and the ability to refuse disclosure. Although this privilege will on occasion yield to other overriding governmental interest. In U.S. v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) we are provided with the only Supreme Court decision which draws boundaries for this privilege. There, it was found that whether the privilege applies or not is decided by the Court, not the President, and that because of the need to fully develop the facts relevant to a criminal trial, the privilege was outweighed in that case and disclosure could not be avoided.
Finally, Article II, Section 2, clause 1 grants the President “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” This means that the President may pardon someone who is accused or convicted of a federal crime, but the President holds no such power regarding violation of state law or civil, as opposed to criminal, offenses.
EXAMPLE: Frank grew up with the man who is now President of the United States. Although they weren’t close growing up, Frank is sure the President will remember him and help him. After all, Frank helped him out of that sticky situation in high school, without which the President probably never would have been able to get his diploma. The help Frank needs involves a felony conviction for aggravated assault and rape in Kansas for which Frank feels he has served enough time. Somehow he manages to get the President on the phone to personally request a pardon. Needless to say the President is likely more than happy to tell Frank that he would help him if he could, but alas he doesn’t have the power to pardon anyone convicted of a state crime. “Call me when you get out,” he says, “we’ll do lunch.”
In addition to bestowing upon the President certain powers regarding domestic affairs, Article II grants the President broad discretion over foreign policy. The two most important means of establishing foreign policy are treaties and executive agreements, and these operate differently with respect to state and federal laws and the Constitution.
Article II, Section 2, clause 2 grants the President “Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties” pending approval when ratified by a 2/3 majority vote of the Senate.
Executive Agreements are not Constitutionally authorized, but are nonetheless agreed to be within the powers vested in the President. The most immediately apparent difference between a treaty and an Executive Agreement is that Executive Agreements do not require Senate approval, as that requirement stems from the Constitutional grant of power to enter into a Treaty. This is not as dangerous a sidestep around the Constitution as it may first appear. Crucial differences exist between the power and force of a treaty versus that of an Executive Agreement. These differences are examined in the chart at the end of this Section:
What is the advantage in the President seeking Senate approval and entering into a treaty rather than an Executive Agreement? Only a treaty can surmount any existing federal law, and it is precisely that power of the treaty which makes Senate approval necessary.
Note that in no case will state law interfere with the terms of either a treaty or an Executive Agreement. Were it otherwise, the states could effectively invalidate the President’s power to conduct foreign policy, as any agreements with foreign nations with which a state disagreed could be essentially nullified by the individual states.
EXAMPLE: The President enters into a treaty with China, which the Senate ratifies. The treaty provides, in part, that goods exported from China to the U.S. will be taxed at a particularly low import tax rate, in exchange for which goods shipped from the U.S. to China will enter China’s stream of commerce without having any import tax imposed. Suppose it would be possible for a number of states to now pass laws which would impose hefty import taxes on Chinese goods. The U.S. as a whole would not be living up to its end of the bargain, and the President’s ability to enter into agreements with foreign nations would be seriously compromised.
In addition to the power to enter into treaties and Executive Agreements, the President is named “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” by Article II. So while only Congress has the authority to formally declare war, controversy abounds regarding the President’s ability to commit armed forces abroad in the absence of such a Congressional declaration.
Some areas are clear, such as the authority for the President to commit our forces to defend against a sudden attack. See Prize Cases, 67 U.S. 635 (1863). It is also clear that Congress may delegate its powers to the President in advance, to be exercised at the President’s discretion, so long as the delegation is not overly broad. It is not clear, however, just what are the President’s powers to commit to a preemptive strike prior to an anticipated enemy attack or to commit troops to defend our allies against a sudden attack.
Finally, the President has the power to veto any act of Congress. An act vetoed by the President may still be passed into law only by a 2/3 majority vote of each house of Congress, whether the President vetoed the bill actively or by a pocket veto.