Public Citizen on the trade agreements Obama just sent to the Congress:
By asking Congress to approve three NAFTA-style trade deals signed by former President George Bush, President Barack Obama has completely flip-flopped on his campaign promises to fix America’s failed trade policy and has cast his lot against the majority of the American people who oppose more of these job-killing deals.
At a time of 9 percent unemployment and broad public opposition to more NAFTA-style trade agreements, it’s a fairly shocking shift away from the president’s job-creation message to suddenly call on Congress to pass three old Bush trade deals that the federal government’s own studies say will increase the U.S. trade deficit.
The Korea FTA is the most economically significant since NAFTA, is projected to increase our trade deficit in key “jobs of the future” sectors such as computers, high-speed trains and solar, and result in the loss of an additional 159,000 U.S. jobs.
Congress should not even be considering a trade deal with Colombia, where scores of trade unionists, human rights defenders and Afro-Colombians are murdered or displaced from their lands every year and conditions have worsened since the administration signed off on an unenforceable “Labor Action Plan.” At a time when America is trying to reduce the national debt, Congress should not be considering a trade deal with Panama, a notorious tax-haven where U.S. firms and wealthy individuals go to dodge their taxes.
These trade deals replicate the mistakes of the past, not the way to win the future, and thus pose serious policy and political perils. Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of the American public – across stunningly diverse demographics – is opposed to more of these NAFTA-style trade deals and that members of Congress vote for them at their peril. Even White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, whose job it is to sell these trade deals and who helped former President Bill Clinton sell NAFTA to a skeptical Congress, recognized that workers “lose from these agreements,” and implied that campaigning against free trade agreements could even be an electoral advantage. ( “White House’s Daley seeks balance in outreach meeting with manufacturers,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2011).
This is encouraging news. It looks like the unions who have promised to support Occupy Wall Street are going to do more than march — the TWU is doing whatever they can to obstruct a police crackdown on protestors. There will be a massive march Wednesday with participating unions and Moveon.org taking part in the event:
In support of the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” protest, the Transport Workers Union is going to court to stop its drivers from being required to transport arrested demonstrators.
Local 100 is seeking a restraining order against the police department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Union leaders say drivers’ rights were violated when they were forced to bus arrested demonstrators from the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday.
They also say the NYPD commandeered several MTA buses, and in at least one case, passengers were booted from the bus so demonstrators could be loaded up.
“Our operators are not there to transport folks that are arrested, particularly innocent folks that are arrested. That’s particularly appalling to Local 100,” said John Samuelsen, president of Local 100.
In response, MTA officials said the authority has a long history of cooperating with the police department and other law enforcement agencies when they have transportation needs.
Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators took their fight to City Hall Monday.
Hundreds began what they called a “march of the zombie bankers” to protest greed and express their outrage over the mass arrests this weekend.
Protestors were joined by film producer Amy Goodman, who just settled a suit with Minneapolis St. Paul Police and the Secret Service over her 2008 arrest during the Republican National Convention.
“It is these kinds of public protests, these shows of public dissent where so often the police crackdown, as we have seen with one of the largest mass arrests of protesters in the history of this country just this past weekend,” said Goodman.
It is the fraudulent SDIs that are the massive job killers and wealth destroyers. It is the Great Recession that the fraudulent SDIs produced that caused most of the growth in the federal deficits and made the fiscal crises in our states and localities acute. The senior officers that led the control frauds are the opposite of the “productive class.” No one, without the aid of an army, has ever destroyed more wealth and dreams than the control frauds. It is essential to hold them accountable, to help their victims recover, and to end their ongoing frauds and corruption that have crippled our economy, our democracy, and our nation.
Teabaggers vs. Wall Street protestors – a contrast.
Think Progress points out how little the Koch-manufactured Tea Party has in common with the real thing, and how the Occupy Wall Street movement embodies the real spirit:
1.) The Original Boston Tea Party Was A Civil Disobedience Action Against A Private Corporation. In 1773, agitators blocked the importation of tea by East India Trading Company ships across the country. In Boston harbor, a band of protesters led by Samuel Adams boarded the corporation’s ships and dumped the tea into the harbor. No East India Trading Company employees were harmed, but the destruction of the company’s tea is estimated to be worth up to $2 million in today’s money. The Occupy Wall Street protests have targetedbig banks like Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, as well as multinational corporations like GE with sit-ins and peaceful rallies.
2.) The Original Boston Tea Party Feared That Corporate Greed Would Destroy America. As Professor Benjamin Carp has argued, colonists perceived the East India Trading Company as a “fearsome monopolistic company that was going to rob them blind and pave the way maybe for their enslavement.” A popular pamphlet called The Alarm agitated for a revolt against the East India Trading Company by warning that the British corporation would devastate America just as it had devastated South Asian colonies: “Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. […] And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin.”
3.) The Original Boston Tea Party Believed Government Necessary To Protect Against Corporate Excess. Smithsonian historian Barbara Smith has noted that Samuel Adams believed that oppression could occur when governments are too weak. As Adams explained in a Boston newspaper, government should exist “to protect the people and promote their prosperity.” Patriots behind the Tea Party revolt believed “rough economic equality was necessary to maintaining liberty,” says Smith. Occupy Wall Street protesters demand a country that invests in education, infrastructure, and jobs.
4.) The Original Boston Tea Party Was Sparked By A Corporate Tax Cut For A British Corporation. The Tea Act, a law by the British Parliament exempting tea imported by the East India Trading Company from taxes and allowing the corporation to directly ship its tea to the colonies for sale, is credited with setting off the Boston Tea Party. The law was perceived as an effort by the British to bailout the East India Trading Company by shutting off competition from American shippers. George R.T. Hewes, one of the patriots who boarded the East India Trading Company ships and dumped the tea, told a biographer that the East India Trading Company had twisted the laws so “it was no longer the small vessels of private merchants, who went to vend tea for their own account in the ports of the colonies, but, on the contrary, ships of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quantities of this commodity.” Occupy Wall Street demands the end of corporate tax loopholes as well as the enactment of higher taxes on billionaires and millionaires.
5.) The Original Boston Tea Party Wanted A Stronger Democracy. There is a common misconception that the Boston Tea Party was simply a revolt against taxation. The truth is much more nuanced, and there were many factors behind the opposition to the East India Company and the British government. Although the colonists resented taxes levied by a distant British Parliament, in the years preceding the Tea Party, the Massachusetts colony had levied taxes several times to pay for local services. The issue at hand was representation and government accountable to the needs of the American people. Patrick Henry and other patriots organized the revolutionary effort by claiming that legitimate laws and taxes could only be passed by legislatures elected by Americans. According to historian Benjamin Carp, the protesters in Boston perceived that the British government’s actions were set by the East India Trading Company. “As Americans learned more about the provisions of the new East India Company laws, they realized that Parliament would sooner lend a hand to the Company than the colonies,” wrote Carp.