InspireSeattle invites YOU to join us at our Social Forum: Saturday, May 7th at 6:30PM.
Main discussion topic for this evening: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): is this Asian trade agreement good or bad for America (and Americans)?
President Obama’s Office of the United States Trade Representative frames the TPP as “INCREASING AMERICAN EXPORTS, SUPPORTING AMERICAN JOBS”. Is this true? At what cost?
Obama announced the United States’ intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to conclude an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that “reflects U.S. economic priorities and values”. Obama states this will boost U.S. economic growth and support the creation and retention of high-quality American jobs by increasing exports in a region that includes some of the world’s most robust economies and that represents nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The US is negotiating the TPP with 11 other countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). The TPP is the cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s economic policy in the Asia Pacific. As a group, the TPP countries are the largest goods and services export market of the United States. U.S. goods exported to TPP countries totaled $698 billion in 2013, representing 44 percent of total U.S. goods exports.
Clearly this proposed TPP has been a hot topic this election season, with some presidential candidates for it, some against it. (Hillary Clinton has been both for and against it!). On the “against” side, some candidates argue that this deal would mimic the effects of NAFTA by exporting jobs, lowering wages, and leading to greater income inequality. Even more, what has been left out of this conversation is the impact of the TPP on several aspects of our economy and legal system. The TPP increases the length of drug patents, limits our ability to regulate Wall Street, affects copyright laws and the internet, and as will be presented at the meeting, poses a serious threat to our ability to fight climate change. In this 5000 page document, the words “climate change” are not even mentioned. Instead, the deal grants corporations a powerful tool against our ability to fight climate change. This tool — the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS) — threatens our sovereignty and our climate by allowing foreign corporations to demand damages in foreign trade tribunals over laws designed to protect the public and our environment.
Clearly trade is critical for the US in our global economy. This discussion is to evaluate the pros and cons of the TPP and its likely impact on Americans, and the planet.
Please join us for this important discussion!
Guest Speaker: Selden Prentice
Selden Prentice is a retired lawyer and college instructor who now volunteers full-time with the climate change group, 350Seattle. She leads the trade policy workgroup which is currently focused on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership.
InspireSeattle is a progressive network of Seattle-area people sharing ideas and supporting action. InspireSeattle’s vision is to create connection throughout our community and better community through activism. InspireSeattle’s mission is to provide a fun, supportive gathering for people who care deeply about our community, our country and our planet. We embrace progressive policies that improve our society and protect our environment. We discuss current issues, share ideas and activism efforts while striving to inspire additional action. Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to InspireSeattle by visiting www.inspireseattle.org contact.html.
When: May 7th at 6:30PM. Please try to be on time!!!
Where: Carrie Bogner’s place, 1120 24th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112. Home # is 206-280-4214.
Directions: (easy to find!) Click here for a map: http://goo.gl/maps/IIHhE
From 520, Eastbound: Take the Lake Washington Exit, go right at the light on to E. Montlake which quickly turns into 24th Ave E. Go up the hill then go left onto Highland Dr. The entrance to the house is in the alley between 24th and 25th, but please park on Highland Dr or on 25th Ave. It is the 2nd house on the west side of the alley (from Highland Dr) and has a 3 car garage. Front door is on the south side of the house. Look for signs at the alley entrance!
From 520, Westbound: Take the Lake Washington Exit, go right at the stop sign, then go left at the light on to E. Montlake which quickly turns into 24th Ave E. Go up the hill then go left onto Highland Dr. The entrance to the house is in the alley between 24th and 25th, but please park on Highland Dr or on 25th Ave. It is the 2nd house on the west side of the alley (from Highland Dr) and has a 3 car garage. Front door is on the south side of the house. Look for signs at the alley entrance! place
It’s a potluck: so please help out and bring something to eat and to drink!
6:30 to 7:45: Social time! Eat, drink, relax, and catch up with some other local progressives
Formal discussion and guest speakers, 7:45 to 9:30
Other Announcements – got any?
Rules of Engagement!
1. So that everyone has a chance to participate, please keep your comments short
2. Raise one’s hand to ask a question in lieu of shouting out
3. Respect the points of views of others
4. No arguing of politics during the formal discussion – save that for afterwards!
(For a related article see More fun and drama with Bernie Sanders in Second Life.)
A Bernie supporter sent me this snippet of overheard conversation:
[20:26] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): our leaders are flesh eating iguanas [20:27] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): my problem with bernie is [20:27] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): he thinks the democrat party should adopt his socialist jew views [20:28] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): and im not racist but no jew should hold the highest postion of the country [20:29] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): hitler hated them for a reason bernie was prophesied, this is exactly what Adolph wanted to prevent [20:29] T..... L........: I thought you're for Shillary [20:29] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): oh i am [20:30] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): dear lord i love that reptile [20:30] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i): she and bill need to be crowned king and queen of america [20:32] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i) has left chat range. [20:32] Dortha Wildcrest (goodtime69i) has left the sim.
“Michael Louis Connell (November 30, 1963 – December 19, 2008) was a high-level Republican consultant who was subpoenaed in a case regarding alleged tampering with the 2004 U.S. Presidential election and a case involving thousands of missing emails pertaining to the political firing of U.S. Attorneys. Connell was killed when the plane he was flying crashed on December 19, 2008.”
Connell was originally from Illinois and lived in Bath Township, near Akron, Ohio. His company also maintained a website for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 527 group during the 2004 election.
Request for protection
In July 2008, the lead attorney in the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell case, Cliff Arnebeck, sent a letter  to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey seeking protection for Connell as a witness in the case, saying he had been threatened. Arnebeck wrote, “We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, that if he does not agree to ‘take the fall’ for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law violations.”  Arnebeck claims that months later, his source called back and warned that Connell’s life was in danger.
He was served with a subpoena in Ohio on September 22, 2008, in a case alleging that vote-tampering during the 2004 presidential election resulted in civil rights violations. Connell, president of GovTech Solutions and New Media Communications, was a website designer and IT professional and created a website for Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell that presented the results of the 2004 election in real time as they were tabulated. At the time, Blackwell was also chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 reelection effort in Ohio. Connell refused to testify or to produce documents relating to the system used in the 2004 and 2006 elections, lawyers said.
At about 6 p.m. on December 19, 2008, Connell was killed, at the age of 45, in the crash of a single-engine 1997 Piper Saratoga private airplane, which he was flying, which occurred in Lake Township, between 2.5 and 3 miles short of the runway at the Akron-Canton Airport near Akron, Ohio. Connell was alone in the plane and had been returning from the College Park Airport in Maryland, near Washington, D.C.. The plane crashed on its final approach to the airport’s main runway, between two houses, one of which was vacant. Connell had flown the plane from the Akron-Canton Airport to the College Park Airport on December 18, 2008 and, according to the Stark County, Ohio coroner, Connell had on his person a receipt for a breakfast he had purchased in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2008.
On December 31, 2008 it was reported that air traffic controllers had noted prior to the crash that Connell was off course, that they had been in communication with him regarding this, and that he had been trying to get back on course at the time of the crash. There were reported to have been no signs of mechanical problems with the plane.
The National Transportation Safety Board published its final report into the accident that killed Connell on January 28, 2010. The board concluded that Connell had lost control of the aircraft as a result of disorientation while turning in cloud. During a pre-flight briefing Connell had commented that he wanted to return to Akron before the weather “went from bad to worse”. Several other pilots in the vicinity had reported severe icing at the time of the crash; Connell’s aircraft was not equipped or approved to fly in icing conditions. A January 2010 article in Maxim Magazine speculated that because Connell possessed knowledge which, if revealed, would be damaging to high-level Republicans, his death may have been the result of sabotage of his aircraft, particularly as his cell-phone was never recovered. Project Censored, a small non-profit organization, has called for a Federal criminal investigation; and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has called the case “more serious than Watergate.” 
Let’s say you’re the Governor of Kansas. The tax cuts for the rich you pushed through a couple years ago mean you’re in a world of budgetary hurt, and you’re not sure how you’re going to pay for basic expenses like roads and schools this year. What do you do? Repeal tax cuts? Absolutely not. You’re Sam Brownback. You balance your books on the backs of the poor, and cite fiscal prudence as a moral justification.
The Washington Post reports that Republican officials in Kansas are pursuing increases in sales and excise taxes – which have the ultimate effect of making it more expensive to be poor. People who have less money can’t afford to invest money like rich people; poor people have to spend their paychecks just to make it through the week. Consequently, sales taxes – as a matter of policy – proportionally punish people at the lower end of income spectrum.