• Peace Piper

    by Published on 04-17-2015 02:30 PM

    WASHINGTON — Top lawmakers reached a deal Thursday on legislation to grant President Obama "fast track" trade authority to advance one of the largest trade pacts in history, a step that could set off one of the sharpest legislative battles of the year and put Democratic unity to the test.

    The bill is a top priority for the administration and congressional Republicans, but the fast track bill and the underlying Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal between the U.S. and 11 Asia-Pacific nations, is roundly opposed by major labor unions and most congressional Democrats.

    Senate Finance Committee leaders Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., along with House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced the deal in a statement.

    by Published on 04-04-2015 11:10 PM

    Is there anything this man has not lied about? What a disgusting disgrace he is.

    TPP: NAFTA on Steroids

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would grant enormous new powers to corporations, is a massive assault on democracy.

    While the Occupy movement has forced a public discussion of extreme corporate influence on every aspect of our lives, behind closed doors corporate America is implementing a stealth strategy to formalize its rule in a truly horrifying manner. The mechanism is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Negotiations have been conducted in extreme secrecy, so you are in good company if you have never heard of it. But the thirteenth round of negotiations between the United States and eight Pacific Rim nations will be held in San Diego in early July.

    The TPP has been cleverly misbranded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its corporate boosters. As a result, since George W. Bush initiated negotiations in 2008, it has cruised along under the radar. The Obama administration initially paused the talks, ostensibly to develop a new approach compatible with candidate Obama’s pledges to replace the old NAFTA-based trade model. But by late 2009, talks restarted just where Bush had left off.

    ..snipped read more:
    by Published on 03-05-2015 10:00 AM
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    Sgt. Richard Lacombe shows Ukrainian National Guard Soldiers the proper procedures
    for operating an M4 rifle at Rapid Trident 2014 in Yavoriv, Sept. 16. (Photo: Spc. Joshua Leonard)

    By Paul McLeary 4:31 p.m. EST March 3, 2015

    It's been no secret that US and a handful of UK forces have been planning on traveling
    to Yavoriv this spring to begin training Ukrainian forces for their fight against pro-Russian
    separatists in the eastern part of the country. But officials have at times been vague as
    to dates and times and numbers.

    The solicitation also states that "the US and Ukrainian Army shall conduct a joint training
    mission at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) near L'viv, Ukraine ...
    by Published on 03-03-2015 04:05 PM
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    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visiting Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, May 2009. Credit: David Lienemann

    Thomas Harrington, February 28, 2015 AntiWar.com
    Kosovo is falling apart at the seams, with it thousands of its citizens seeking desperately to escape life there by any means possible.

    Haven’t heard about that one?

    Perhaps that’s because the U.S. is almost wholly responsible for creating an independent Kosovo, and from there, the brutal and corrupt power structure that lords cruelly over the life of its people. The creation of an independent Kosovo in the name of democracy and humanitarianism is considered by the Clinton crowd to be one of the U.S.’s first post-Cold War foreign policy successes.

    Under the direction of ...
    by Published on 02-27-2015 03:05 PM
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    By Robert Scheer
    For years, the outsourcing of defense and intelligence work was, with good reason, controversial in political circles. But in the last years of Bill Clinton’s administration, the president authorized the CIA’s creation of the first US government–sponsored venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, designed to invest in cutting-edge Silicon Valley companies. The firm, named after Ian Fleming’s fictional character “Q,” who masterminds James Bond’s spy gadgets, was founded on September 29, 1999, when the intelligence agencies came to realize they couldn’t produce the technology required to make sense of the vast amount of data they had acquired.

    In-Q-Tel Homepage
    Many companies listed on In-Q-Tel's investment website page[10] are secret. In-Q-Tel functions
    by Published on 02-09-2015 11:20 AM
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    TheHill.com Vicki Needham - 02/08/15

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is putting his muscle into reaching a deal on trade with President Obama.

    The new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is speaking about the trade agenda on an almost daily basis, and sending the signal that the White House and congressional Republicans can reach an agreement to approve fast-track negotiating authority, which would speed the consideration of two pending trade deals.

    “Completing these trade deals is my No. 1 priority,” Ryan said Thursday at a Washington International Trade Association event in Washington

    Along with Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), the chairman of the subcommittee on Trade Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Ryan plans to hold ...
    by Published on 01-08-2015 01:50 PM
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    Mitch McConnell Pledges Fast Action For Secretive Trade Deals

    WASHINGTON -- New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged Wednesday to move full speed ahead to give President Barack Obama so-called fast track authority to cut massive new trade deals with little oversight.

    The last grant of fast track authority, formally known as Trade Promotion Authority, expired in 2007. It allowed the president to negotiate trade deals without consulting Congress and to sign the agreements on his own. Congress' role was reduced to voting yes or no on the resulting deal, with no amendments and none of the procedural hurdles that lawmakers can typically employ when they don't like something.

    Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) adamantly opposed granting that power ...
    by Published on 12-09-2014 04:35 PM
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    Trans-Pacific Trade Talks Resume With Almost No Media Coverage
    Campaign for America's Future Dave Johnson December 8, 2014

    Shouldn’t it be a trade violation to threaten to move someone’s job to another country? Shouldn’t we negotiate trade agreements that increase people’s wages on both sides of a trade border? These are the kinds of agreements we would make if We the People were negotiating trade agreements with representatives of the working people in other countries. Unfortunately that is not the kind of trade agreements that our current trade negotiation process produces.

    The secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations resumed this week, this time in Washington. TPP is a massive agreement that sets up new rules for over 40 percent of
    by Published on 12-04-2014 07:11 PM
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    In a speech before CEOs of major U.S. corporations, Obama indicates he's ready to go head-to-head with Democrats, labor unions, and environmentalists on trade deals
    by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer Common Dreams.org

    "In a recent Pew poll, a mere 17 percent of the U.S. public thought that trade has boosted U.S. wages, while 45 percent, across the political spectrum, saw trade as contributing to falling wages for U.S. workers." (Photo: Global Trade Watch/flickr/cc)

    President Barack Obama is ready to buck his liberal base in order to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the pro-corporate international trade deal currently being negotiated in secret by the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries.

    In a speech ...
    by Published on 09-24-2014 04:45 PM
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    Obama Doesn't Want Your Approval for War
    By Noah Feldman - Sept 23, 2014

    The Barack Obama administration has offered no credible legal authorization for a war against Islamic State, and Congress plainly will not provide one. What's going on here, asks the shade of James Madison? Has the U.S. completely lost the part of the Constitution that imagines Congress and thus the people as a check on the president’s war powers? And if so, does it matter?

    We can dispense quickly with the justifications that the administration has proffered in a piecemeal and somewhat embarrassed fashion. The 2002 authorization for the use of military force for the Iraq War says that the president can “protect the national security of the United States against the threat posed by ...
    by Published on 04-22-2014 06:59 PM


    With everyone from Democratic officeholders to a cohort of political bloggers urging, imploring, virtually begging Democratic candidates and incumbents to embrace the Affordable Care Act ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, it seems that only the pollsters are warning that they do so at their own political peril.

    “In terms of Obamacare, don’t defend it,” the respected Democratic pollster Celinda Lake urged in March following the release of her own extensive polling on the issue for George Washington University’s respected Battleground Poll. “Say it was flawed from the beginning, and we’re going to fix it.”

    There’s just one problem with that strategy: it serves as an implicit rebuke of the 111th Congress, the Democratic Party’s leadership in the legislature, and President Barack Obama....

    ...But those Democrats who are not defending controversial votes they may have taken regarding the ACA, or who are not beholden to the president who is desperate to avoid one last rebuke from the electorate, are warning of a far bleaker future for Democrats with the Obamacare millstone around their necks.

    Speaking to Boston Herald Radio last week, the only member of Massachusetts’ all-Democrat congressional delegation to vote against the 2010 health care reform law, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), warned that the Obamacare — well, you know — is about to “hit the fan.”

    “There are parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, that were postponed because they are unpalatable,” Lynch observed. “As these provisions come into effect, the administration thus far is saying, ‘Gee, we really can’t handle this right now so we’re going to delay it.’”...

    Full article: http://www.mediaite.com/online/democ...o-hit-the-fan/
    by Published on 04-02-2014 04:59 PM

    Obamacare Enforcement Like Snow Removal, IRS Chief Says
    Richard Rubin Bloomberg Apr 2, 2014

    Administering the 2010 health-care law is just like municipal snow shoveling -- a top priority that’s non-negotiable, John Koskinen, the commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, said today.

    Koskinen, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, drew on his experience a decade ago as the deputy mayor of the city government in the nation’s capital. Even as the IRS faces budgetary pressures, he said, the health law will be a priority, just as snow removal is essential for a city.

    Starting with the tax returns that will be filed in early 2015, the IRS will be responsible for enforcing the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and ensuring that people claim the correct amount of subsidies for insurance...

    ...“If we can have a smooth filing season next year including the appropriate review of the returns of taxpayers” claiming tax credits for health insurance, he said, “the public and the Congress will have to say: That’s some organization with an amazing workforce.”...

    snip more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-0...hief-says.html
    by Published on 10-22-2013 10:42 AM

    The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases that can include records like car registrations and employment information.

    While the agency says that the goal is to streamline the security procedures for millions of passengers who pose no risk, the new measures give the government greater authority to use travelers’ data for domestic airport screenings. Previously that level of scrutiny applied only to individuals entering the United States.

    ...“The average person doesn’t understand how much intelligence-driven matching is going on and how this could be accessed for other purposes,” said Khaliah Barnes, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which has fought to block these initiatives. “There’s no meaningful oversight, transparency or accountability.”

    by Published on 10-09-2013 02:31 AM

    Author: Louis Bolden, Reporter, lbolden@clickorlando.com
    Published On: Oct 08 2013 07:09:19 PM EDT
    ORLANDO, Fla. - Many people signing up for health care in Florida through the Affordable Care Act have been shocked when they have to give proof of their credit score before they finish the process.

    Anne Packham, one of many people licensed by the state to help people navigate the government's website, said on Tuesday that the credit check occurs so providers can make an educated decision about who to insure.

    "If someone is defaulting on all of their bills they may not want to have them as part of their health plan," said Packham, the lead Navigator in Florida.

    Full story: http://www.clickorlando.com/news/cre...z/-/index.html
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