Sunday, June 21, 2015

PNN - Progressive Round Table

PNN 6/21/15

RWS News Director
Brook Hines Political Commentator
Drew Martin Palm Beach Soil & Water Board
Wendy Lynn Lee Philosophy Professor / Civic Rights Activist [TPP Report]
Steve Horn Journalist Fellow DeSmog Blog
Gwen Holden Barry Progressive Journalist

1. The Topics for tonights show, will be:

Part I 
What part will the primary Environmental Issues play in the 2016 Campaign . GMOs, Wildlife Extinction, Fracking, Nuclear Waste, Storage Off-shore drilling, Alternative Energy Investment WHICH IF ANY WILL GET A HEARING? WHICH IS WORTH MENTIONING????. 

Part II
We face a variety of WAR ISSUES - 
Syria and the ongoing disaster which we have in large part helped to create, Iraq where we are sending in ADVISORS. Yemen where our allies the Freedom Loving Human Rights Promoting Saudi's are bombing daily. The slow motion disaster in the Ukraine and the growing confrontation with the Saudis.

2. TPP
 We won a small victory on June 12, 2015. House Democrats used a tactical maneuver to derail a bill giving fast-track authority to President Obama to negotiate the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That victory will be short-lived.
What House Democrats did was fail to pass a bill linked to the fast-track authorization called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). In that the two bills had been linked by the Senate. the demise of TAA in the House prevented, at that time, passage of fast-track authorization.
The TPP treaty at the heart of this drama is a game-changing agreement. Everyone and everything will be affected. The TAA bill, however, is a red herring. It’s a meaningless publicity stunt not worth, to any American worker, the paper it is written on.
The real purpose of TAA is to provide political cover to Democrats who sell out their voters and workers in their home districts. It gives them something they can hold aloft as proof that they got a concession for American workers. In fact, it’s a fig leaf to make selling out somewhat safer. It’s also something the commercial press can use in selling the package to the American public.
What the TAA bill did do is give the democrats a way to politely derail fast-track authorization. It gave them an option for passive resistance which, to their credit, they passively opted to exert.
TAA having failed and fast-track authority having passed in the House, both bills are now back in the Senate, with President Obama and Senate GOP leaders looking for a way, any way, to move fast-track authority to Obama’s desk.
To understand why they are likely to succeed, follow the money. Yes, that TPP agreement is a game-changer. It is also of, for, and by the Multinational Corporations. The politicians ramrodding it through Congress are paid, and paid well, to make sure it becomes law.
At stake is control of global resources and production on a staggering scale. In terms of natural resources, it’s everything from fossil fuels to precious metals to old growth timber and ivory. In addition, every facet of global production would be affected. From consumer electronics to clothing, from aerospace to shipbuilding, if it can be produced by man, the Multinational Corporations and investors backing the TPP agreement have every intention of controlling it – whatever that takes.
Would that include bribing and manipulating spineless American politicians to sell out their country and their communities? Bet your life on it...

What You Can Do
The day before the June 12 TPP vote, Elizabeth Warren posted a simple request to her website. It said, “I need you to make a phone call.” Her page provides a link to look up your Congressional representatives and a sobering explanation of what TPP means to you and the the country. Visit her pagemake the call.
You should also contact the AFL-CIO and let them know you support their position that they will not contribute to the campaign of any publicly elected official who votes to promote the TPP agreement.
The time has come to make your voice heard, loud and clear. Try it, you’ll like the results.

TPP Part 2

Congress' upheaval over trade has exposed turmoil within a House Democratic caucus that's grown smaller and more liberal in recent years as moderates have been ousted in successive election bloodlettings.

Those who remain must answer to ideologically driven voters and labor unions fighting their own battles for survival, even if it means sidelining their own leaders and humbling their president in the process. - THE AGENDA NOT THE PEOPLE

The result is a minority caucus dominated by some of its most liberal members, leaving the few remaining centrists to question whether that will make it harder for their party to retake the seats they need to regain the House majority anytime in the next decade.

Just as the tea party wing of the Republican Party has pulled the entire GOP to the right and hampered attempts at compromise on Capitol Hill, some now fear a similar dynamic is taking shape on the left.

"The real question is, are we going to try to broaden our caucus," said Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, who unlike most Democrats is an outspoken supporter of President Barack Obama's trade agenda. "That means listening more to some of these swing districts and suburban districts which have a different economic outlook."

House Democrats celebrated earlier this month after they derailed Obama's bid for expedited trade negotiating authority by voting down a linked worker retraining program they long had supported. But now it looks like their victory may have been fleeting. 

Obama maneuvered with congressional Republicans to get the trade package back on track, clearing a key House hurdle Thursday and setting up make-or-break votes in the Senate in coming days.

The revival of the trade package inflamed labor unions and liberal groups that had fought ferociously to block it, including by running ads against otherwise friendly House Democrats and threatening to mount primary campaigns against them. Unions say past trade deals bled American jobs and tanked wages. They argue that granting Obama the power to finalize trade deals that Congress can accept or reject, but not amend, would lead to more of the same, including the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership the White House has worked on for years.

"Democrats who allowed the passage of fast-track authority for the job-killing TPP, should know that we will not lift a finger or raise a penny to protect you when you're attacked in 2016, we will encourage our progressive allies to join us in leaving you to rot, and we will actively search for opportunities to primary you with a real Democrat," Jim Dean, head of Democracy for America, said in a statement following Thursday's House vote.

It's the kind of vicious infighting that has characterized GOP politics since the tea party rose in 2010 and began trying to oust anyone who disagreed with its conservative tenets. Few believe that the fissures within the Democratic Party are as stark, noting that trade is an unusually divisive issue for the party. Yet leaders are openly alarmed at the internal conflict and are warning that Democrats must move on quickly to more harmonious topics — or possibly face even more election losses.

"We risk marginalizing ourselves if we dominate our discourse with divisions and process arguments," said Rep. Steve Israel of New York, a member of the House Democratic leadership team. "At the end of the day we have the responsibility to find common ground that's going to allow us to win back this majority."

Democrats lost their majority in 2010 and now number 188 in the House, compared with 246 Republicans, with one seat vacant. Many more lawmakers in both parties represent safe seats, and there are fewer swing seats nationally than in years past, said Matt Bennett of the centrist Democratic group Third Way.

For Democrats, "the caucus has become smaller in every way, both physically and ideologically," Bennett said.

House Democrats also rely on an aging generation of leaders and have not seen new blood at the very top in years.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is 75, has led the caucus since 2002, into the majority and out again. She has been known for ruling with an iron fist, yet her unpredictable moves on the trade package raised eyebrows around the Capitol. She announced at the last minute she would side with her caucus' liberals and vote against the legislation even after working with Republican leaders toward compromise and conferring privately with Obama.

Still, Pelosi's position is secure, and many Democrats dispute the suggestion that their caucus has grown more ideologically uniform — or they simply argue that it's no cause for alarm.

"People who pretended to be Democrats but actually were voting with the Republicans got wiped out because the voters decided they'd rather have real Republicans in those seats," said liberal Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida. "What it's allowed us I think is to show the unity that the people who are relying upon us deserve, rather than have people working against Democratic principles from within."

3. I KRAINE - Ukraine
(We all crane for Ukraine)

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has sent to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine a query concerning the constitutionality of the law of Ukraine on depriving Viktor Yanukovych of the title of the president of Ukraine, the court's press service reported.
"Since the law, whose constitutionality is challenged, does not have a regulative nature, having passed it, the Verkhovna Rada acted contrary to the norms of the Constitution of Ukraine, which means that this contradicts Part 2 of Article 19 of the Constitution, which obliges the parliament to act within the powers and in the manner provided by the Constitution of Ukraine. In this connection, I request recognizing the law of Ukraine on depriving Viktor Yanukovych of the title of the president of Ukraine dated February 4, 2015, as such which does not meet the Constitution of Ukraine, that is unconstitutional," the president's query reads.

4. UKRAINE CRISIS has lead to WAR
The vicious circle that resulted from the Ukrainian crisis and the economic sanctions must be broken as soon as possible, says Alexis Tsipras, Greece's Prime Minister.
"The Ukrainian crisis has opened a new wound at the heart of Europe - a wound of instability, and this, of course, is a very bad sign, a bad sign for international relations. Because instead of thriving economic cooperation the region is now seeing processes that have led to war, militarization and sanctions," Tsipras said at a plenary session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
He added: "This vicious circle must be broken as soon as possible. Diplomatic initiatives in this field, in the field of implementation of the Minsk agreements, deserve all kinds of attention and support."


5. Whats McCAin got to McGain?
U.S. Republican Senator John McCain has said that the supply of defensive weapons from the United States to Ukraine is needed to stop the Russian aggression from getting further into Ukraine's east.
"Right now the weapons are a critical issue in preventing Vladimir Putin from further encroachment in eastern Ukraine," he said during a televised conference at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center at a briefing in Kyiv on Saturday.
According to him, Ukraine is now fighting with the 20th century weapons against the 21st century weapons.
The Republican senators will continue to urge the U.S. government to authorize the dispatch of defensive weapons to Ukraine, that can help Ukrainians defend their sovereign country, McCain said.
McCain recalled that the Senate was defending the need for providing defensive weapons Ukraine, but this decision was up to President Barack Obama's administration.
The U.S. has a tradition of helping the people who are fighting for freedom against the occupation of other countries, he said.
"Frankly it's shameful that our European friends wouldn't be of more assistance but more shameful that the United States won't lead," McCain said.
"Vladimir Putin I believe yesterday or the day before talked about Ukraine and Russia being one country. Is there any doubt about what his ambitions are? Is there any doubt what he's trying to achieve by force of arms that he could never achieve by free and open election and other democracy?" the senator said.


The Obama administration knows that the current war in Iraq is on very shaky legal ground. That's why they asked Congress for a new AUMF months ago. 
Congress has refused to act -- up until now.

The President has said repeatedly that there is no military solution to ISIS, yet, it seems nearly all our resources are spent on military strategies.  It’s time for Congress to debate this war and to lift up other strategies such as starving ISIS of resources from illegal oil, antiquities and food commodities; cracking down on access to foreign forces and military supplies; and working to end the civil war in Syria.


It’s time for a new strategy in Iraq and Syria. It begins by admitting that the old borders are gone, that a unified Syria or Iraq will never be reconstituted, that the Sykes-Picot map is defunct.
We may not want to enunciate that policy officially. After all, it does contradict the principle that colonial borders be maintained no matter how insanely drawn, the alternative being almost universally worse. Nonetheless, in Mesopotamia, balkanization is the only way to go.
Because it has already happened and will not be reversed. In Iraq, for example, we are reaping one disaster after another by pretending that the Baghdad government -- deeply sectarian, divisive and beholden to Iran -- should be the center of our policy and the conduit for all military aid.
Look at Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi. The Iraqi army is a farce. It sees the enemy and flees, leaving its weapons behind. “The ISF was not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi,” said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Our own secretary of defense admitted that the “the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.” 

We can train them forever. The problem is one of will. They don’t want to fight. And why should they? They are led by commanders who are corrupt, sectarian and incompetent.
What to do? Redirect our efforts to friendly forces deeply committed to the fight, beginning with the Kurds, who have the will, the skill and have demonstrated considerable success. This year alone, they have taken back more than 500 Christian and Kurdish towns from the Islamic State. Unlike the Iraqi army, however, they are starved for weapons because, absurdly, we send them through Baghdad, which sends along only a trickle. 


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