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Monday, 02 September 2013 00:00

TPP Talking Points

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed agreement between the U.S. and 12 nations that do business throughout the Pacific Rim. TPP and its European cousin the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (aka TAFTA), are "free trade" agreements that do much more than the term implies.

Postal workers are giving it their all this holiday season, as cards and packages and returns must be collected and delivered amidst ice storms, snowstorms and wild temperature drops.

They deserve our thanks in 2013.

And our support in 2014.

As we end the longest period of war in our history, we should be entering a period of postwar downsizing - but what about the communities dependent on the massive post-9/11 military budget?

End wars. Shrink the Pentagon budget. Reinvest the savings in neglected domestic priorities. It’s a logical progression. Right?

If Illinois Gov. Quinn wants fracking in his state, Santa thinks he should see what it's like to live next to a fracking rig.

A group of "elves" delivered Santa's "Merry Frackmess" present to the Chicago home of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Monday.

The "elves"—activists with the climate activism group Rising Tide Chicago—delivered a red bow-adorned mock fracking rig to his lawn "because if Gov. Quinn and the other people that have opened up our state to fracking had to live next to fracking and had to obtain their water from a well I think they would not bring fracking to our state," said Mike Durshmid of the group.

Back in the days before modern feminism, a young woman looking for work might typically be advised, politely, to “learn a trade,” with the implication that she wasn't bound for college or an elite career, but a humbler job as, say, a secretary or seamstress. Such a phrase might sound condescending today. Yet working in a trade might still be sound career goal for a woman, if she gets the right kind of job—in a union.

A retired coal miner in eastern Kentucky recently sent me an early Christmas card warning. “Whatever you do,” he wrote, “I prefer dirty coal from Santa Claus instead of the annual drivel of ‘Christmas in Appalachia’ pity.”

Pity, poverty, depravity, coal despair, even the picturesque — name your favorite Appalachian or hillbilly caricature of the Mountain South over the past century.

On Friday, December 20, Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren finally separated herself clearly from former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regarding the issue of climate change and global warming.

TransCanada Corporation wants to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry oil from Alberta Canada's tar sands to two refineries owned by Koch Industries near the Texas Gulf Coast, for export to Europe. Hillary Clinton has helped to make that happen, while Elizabeth Warren has now taken the opposite side.

With all the clamor over the website woes of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act finally ebbing, let's hope the media can begin to notice some changes in the delivery of health care that will have more far-reaching consequences for health care quality and access long after the sign-up problems are a distant memory.

Saturday, 21 December 2013 22:35

Get Ready for the 2014 Trade Tsunami

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Hard work, smart planning and perseverance made 2013 a year of inspiring fair-trade activism. Vibrant grassroots activism and dogged D.C. advocacy resulted in a new level of public and congressional concern about the perils of Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

While the natural gas industry has long insisted that pipelines are a safe means of transportation, hundreds of accidents have punctuated the shale gas boom of the last five years.

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