Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Elizabeth Warren Strikes Again, Hits another Home Run

The YouTube video below is a 14-minute speech given by Senator Elizabeth Warren during a livestream event called "Rewriting the Rules" that was hosted by the Roosevelt Institute in Washington D.C. on May 12, 2015.

They were all gathered to celebrate and comment on an outstanding paper by Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz titled "Rewriting the Rules". Other speakers present included Mayor Bill de Blasio and a panel of expert economists and strategists. Here is the 115-page report (PDF) called "Rewriting the Rules" by the Roosevelt Institute's Chief Economist, Joseph Stiglitz.

Elizabeth Warren and Rosa DeLauro recently co-authored an article posted at the Boston Globe (titled Who is writing the TPP?) which says, "Hillary Clinton has said that the United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors for big business, in our trade deals. We agree with this blunt assessment."

Although some people might find it odd that Elizabeth Warren would quote Hillary Clinton, who was really only quoting Elizabeth Warren. But overall, it's a great article, and it also goes on to say that "28 trade advisory committees have been intimately involved in the [TPP] negotiations. Of the 566 committee members, 480, or 85 percent, are senior corporate executives or representatives from industry lobbying groups. Many of the advisory committees are made up entirely of industry representatives."

This is true, but here is where the main gripe is, that both left-wing progressives and right-wing Tea Partiers can fully agree on, when the article goes on to say:

A rigged process leads to a rigged outcome. For evidence of that tilt, look at a key TPP provision: Investor-State Dispute Settlement [ISDS] where big companies get the right to challenge laws they don’t like in front of industry-friendly arbitration panels that sit outside of any court system. Those panels can force taxpayers to write huge checks to big corporations — with no appeals. Workers, environmentalists, and human rights advocates don’t get that special right.

Most Americans don’t think of the minimum wage or antismoking regulations as trade barriers. But a foreign corporation has used ISDS to sue Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage. Phillip Morris has gone after Australia and Uruguay to stop them from implementing rules to cut smoking rates. Under the TPP, companies could use ISDS to challenge these kinds of government policy decisions — including food safety rules.

The president dismisses these concerns, but some of the nation’s top experts in law and economics are pushing to drop ISDS provisions from future trade agreements. Economist Joe Stiglitz, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, and others recently noted that “the threat and expense of ISDS proceedings have forced nations to abandon important public policies” and that “laws and regulations enacted by democratically elected officials are put at risk in a process insulated from democratic input.” That was exactly what Germany did in 2011 when it cut back on environmental protections after an ISDS lawsuit.

Elizabeth Warren and Rosa DeLauro could have also mentioned Coke in their article. When the government of Australia's Northern Territory considered creating a 10-cent refund on recycling plastic bottles, Coca-Cola poured millions of dollars into a misleading campaign to oppose the plan. But after the people Down Under had decided, the plan had passed --- but then Coke sued the government to stop the program. Coca-Cola runs similar campaigns all over the world. Of course, this is only one of many other examples.

In other words, President Obama and others who are pushing hard for the TPP trade agreement are really advocating to forfeit our national sovereignty to a group of "multi-national" corporations.

An organization of business lobbyists and huge corporations (that Warren had alluded to in her article) called "Trade Benefits America" has recently been plastering the airwaves with ads on TV promoting the TPP trade agreement. This is what the Supreme Court meant when they said corporations are people with free speech — because these "multi-national" corporations also have the most money to dominate the airwaves with the biggest megaphones and bombard us with the most political ads, while overriding everyone else's opinions on these matters and drowning out the "free speech" of much smaller and lesser organized voices.

And the corporate media running these ads are complicit, because just 6 corporations control 90% of the media in America. Recently it was announced that Verizon is going to buy out AOL (who also owns the Huffington Post) for $4.4 billion in cash — rather than give Verizon workers a raise.

Fast Facts:

  1. Currently the U.S. has 67,161 less factories than it did in 1997 — thanks to these trade deals (One recent study exposes the "reshoring" myth).
  2. U.S. mergers and acquisitions (in deals worth $1 billion or more) were up 48% last year.
  3. Last year U.S. corporations spent almost $1 trillion in “stock buybacks”.
  4. U.S. corporations hold $2.1 trillion in untaxed overseas profits offshore (that we know about).
  5. "Effective" corporate tax rates are historically low by all measures for U.S. corporations.
  6. The U.S. stock markets are at all-time record highs, and of course, the top 0.01% owns the vast majority of stocks.
  7. Two wealthy individuals recently bought a painting for $179.4 million and a sculpture for $141.3 million (known as SWAG investments: Silver, wine, art and gold).
  8. Just like stocks (and CEO stock-options), owners of SWAG investments would pay a lower tax rate on a profitable "capital gain" than a worker would have to pay on regular wages.
  9. The annual "median" wage for an American worker is a mere $28,000 — while CEOs have been raking in millions of dollars every single year.
  10. As a percentage of their incomes, the poor also pay more in taxes than the top U.S. CEOs and others in America's top 0.01%.

Just as Senator Warren and many others have been pointing out over the last several years, the majority of U.S. corporate profits haven't trickling down to the U.S. working-class (meaning 90% of all American workers) since 1980 — because most of the gains have been sucked up to the wealthiest 0.01% (those that control the media, the multi-national corporations, the politicians and the U.S. Supreme Court).

Now Obama is promoting "more of the same" with this TPP trade agreement.

Related Post: A Vote for Bernie Sanders is a Vote for Elizabeth Sanders


  1. UPDATE: Is TPP dead?

    (May 12, 2015) "Senate Democrats gang up to delay fast-track trade bill"


    Also, here's a very good and detailed article about ISDS:

    (May 12, 2015) "Why Warren Is Right and Obama Is Wrong on Fast Track’s Threat to Wall Street Reform"


  2. TPP died in the Senate...

    Just 40 votes were required to block fast-track for Obama on the TPP trade agreement — and 45 votes prevailed in stopping this terrible trade deal. The votes were mostly along party lines. Forty-two Democrats, two Independents, and one Republican voted "Hell no!"

    Only two Senators broke ranks with their party on this vote — Tom Carper (D-Delaware Inc.) voted "yea" and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted "nay".

    The "no shows" who didn't bother vote on this very important issue were:

    Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
    Marco Rubio (R-FL)

    Make what you will as for the reasons for those who didn't vote.


  3. Senator Bernie Sanders Celebrates Victory By Promising A Long Battle To Defeat TPP

    Did Barack Obama Just Lose to Elizabeth Warren?

  4. Why So Many Democrats Rejected Obama's Lobbying on the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal

  5. Other articles on the new report for the Roosevelt Institute entitled “Rewriting the Rules”:

    New York Times: Report by Clinton Adviser [Joseph E. Stiglitz] Proposes ‘Rewriting’ Decades of Economic Policy

    TIME: Here’s the Secret Truth About Economic Inequality in America

    Washington Post: The Emerging Populist Agenda

    Wall Street Journal: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Hails Elizabeth Warren As ‘A Powerful Voice’

    Interntional Business Times: Bill De Blasio Income Inequality: NYC Mayor Slams Washington For Not Helping Middle-Class Families

    Capital New York: De Blasio touts report, emerging ‘movement’ in D.C.

    ABC News (video starts after ad) Democratic Duo Putting New Pressure on Hillary Clinton (Warren's sppech, then De Blasio speaks 6:30 minutes into video.)

  6. LAST UPDATE: What will happen with TPP now? Per "Popular Resistance" ...

    After the defeat of fast track for TPP in the Senate, the next steps will require the Democrats and Republicans in the House to reach agreement on how to proceed on four bills:

    1) Fast track trade authority.

    All indications are that a majority in the House oppose fast track and with the senate vote, that majority is likely to be solidified and perhaps expanded. House leadership is unlikely to bring the bill to the Floor unless they have majority support.

    2) A customs bill that includes enforcement against currency manipulation.

    The currency manipulation enforcement is opposed by Republicans and the White House. The administration does not think it can finalize negotiations on the TPP if it includes enforcement against currency manipulation. Obama might even veto a bill that included currency enforcement.

    3) Trade Assistance Authority (TAA) which would provides support for workers who lose their jobs.

    Republicans also oppose the TAA, but seem willing to negotiate on that issue.

    4) A law that would provide for favored trade for developing nations in Africa.

    McConnell has offered to bring to the floor a package combining fast-track, which is also known as Trade Promotion Authority, and Trade Adjustment Assistance, which helps workers displaced by foreign competition. But McConnell has refused to combine those bills with the customs and enforcement act, which includes language cracking down on currency manipulation, and a package of trade preferences for sub-Saharan Africa.


  7. Opps! Maybe this my last update on this post...

    Senate Cuts Deal To Pass Obama's Secretive Trade Bills

    "Under the agreement, the Senate will vote Thursday on an African trade deal, and then a customs and enforcement measure that includes many of the trade protections Democrats feared would be lost, including a provision that targets currency manipulation by China and trading partners ... After voting on the Africa and enforcement measures, the Senate will return to the debate on the fast-track legislation."

    My previous rants on Africa being the next "emerging market"...

    October 25, 2014 - Offshoring to Africa — or Outsourcing to Robots?

    June 30, 2013 - Obama Hypes Africa for more Sweatshops

    June 30, 2013 - Power Africa: Obama and his Globalist Administration

  8. Hey Bud, just stopped by to view your blog here (I also blog out of Dallas), I seen you first on YouTube. As far as the TPP, this is something I been tracking for a while, and am glad that it at least ran into a Senate road block the other day, temporarily that is, because rest assured these parasites that we mistakenly label as "elite" will hammer this continually. This is a crap deal and snowjob, and anyone who looks at it closely can see were getting hustled again. Unfortuantely, so many folks are busy and trying to make it in this country and dont pay much atencion to what goes on in Washington, not to mention even vote or vote sensibly. Those who dictate this cesspool (America) know this and take advantage of it along with their politipuppets on Capitalism Hill (aka Capitol Hill) ... and ... well ... why we are in the boat were in today. Tell ya Bud ... I will be 60 years old in January ... and this is the worst that I seen this country in my lifetime ... and a Hell of alot more is needed than just political revolution, but I will leave that there. Anywayz, your blog looks straight and to the point, that's importante.

    Ranch Chimp Journal

    1. Thanks for the comment. I couldn't agree with you more. We both saw this decline first-hand during our lifetime, and I'm so glad I'm not graduating from high school today. I feel horrible for those that are.