Reference (Politifact): Congress has 11% approval ratings but 96% incumbent reelection rate, meme says.
Voter's Revenge (VR) is a new web based tool, which empowers the electorate vs. bad incumbents and candidates, who deserve to be removed from office (or never get there, in the first place). VR is part punitive vote bloc facilitator (users take voteslinger pledges to vote against a candidate or incumbent), and part punitive activism facilitator, which seeks to damage the future political prospects of a candidate or incumbent (users take wrangler pledges against a candidate or incumbent). The organizational unit which facilitates this (beautiful) trouble making is called a posse. Posses define issue-related redlines, the crossing of which triggers the punitive actions of the posse. Posse members can, and should, form lasting ties such that their political strength grows from election cycle to election cycle.
I don't believe in bringing feather dusters to a gunfight. The government of the United States has been systemically corrupted, in great part due to the legalized bribery system of campaign contributions. The result has been a grossly dysfunctional democracy (the "best that money can buy"), which functions as a plutocracy. Relying on letters to Congress critters, petitions, and strategically inept "lesser of two evils" voting (where the choices are basically between Democratic and Republican candidates, who generally have the seal of approval of the corrupting Democratic and Republic donor bases) just doesn't work. Not for the public, anyway. The system works well for the plutocracy, as it is intended to do, by the exploiters of the system.
In a nutshell (via citizen.org): If passed, the TPP would:
The TPP horrendously threatens to change the very structure of government, subordinating it to the selfish demands of multi-national corporations. TPP is deceptively referred to as "trade agreement" but the fact is that only 6 of the TPP's 30 chapters deal with traditional trade topics. These corporations will staff a tribunal (basically a kangaroo court), defined via TPP's Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) mechanism, who are empowered to hear cases launched by corporations against formerly sovereign governments. While corporations can launch suits against nations, via ISDR, for "anticipated loss of profits", nations cannot launch suits against those same corporations. Since disputes will largely be resolved in favor of the ISDS tribunal's corporate patrons, the mere threat of a suit will force nations so targeted to abandon their citizens' well-being and desires. We can infer so much by looking at the recent history of ISDR threats via other "trade agreements". From Brewing Storm over ISDR Clouds: Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks – Part II
For further information about ISDR, see Investor-State Attacks: Empowering Foreign Corporations to Bypass our Courts, Challenge Basic Protections
The mere filing of an ISDR challenge can have a chilling effect on needed policy initiatives. Important mining policy reforms affecting access to clean water for millions of people in El Salvador have been bogged down in the face of ISDR challenges under CAFTA. The threat of a NAFTA claim by insurance firms against Ontario, Canada’s proposed no-fault government auto insurance regime led to the abandonment of that proposal. Canada also reversed a nationwide ban on MMT, a gasoline additive banned in many U.S. states as a probable carcinogen, after the U.S. Ethyl Corporation filed a NAFTA investor-state case.
The filing of ISDR cases is also increasingly being used as a form of rough bargaining. Consider the Renco case against Peru under the U.S.-Peru FTA, which relates to the severe pollution created by a metal smelter owned by Renco subsidiary Doe Run in the town of La Oroya, which was listed as one of the top 10 most polluted sites in the world. The Peruvian government shut down the facility after Renco’s years of delay in implementing environmental improvements. Renco has taken no action on the FTA case itself since its initial 2010 notice, despite being authorized to do so since April 2011.
But, Renco has used the investor-state case as a tactic to pressure the Peruvian government to allow it to reopen its smelter without installing pollution-capturing devices, and to evade a U.S. court case seeking compensation for children injured by the past pollution. Renco’s investor-state case demands $800 million in compensation from Peru over the denial of a third extension on a 1997 environmental remediation agreement after failing to fulfill contractual commitments to the Peruvian government to install pollution devices in the facility in La Oroya.
The Peruvian government has allowed the La Oroya smelter to restart zinc smelting operations and in November 2012 Doe Run took the first steps to restart lead smelting, which has already resulted in reports of fresh emissions. Meanwhile, Renco has also successfully used the mere filing of its investor-state case to delay and possibly derail a Missouri state court case demanding compensation for Oroyan children poisoned by the smelter.
After Renco’s three unsuccessful attempts to remove the case from state courts where it would face more favorable prospects, the filing of the ISDR case led a federal judge to approve Renco’s fourth attempt at removal. Why? “[U.S. law] allows removal of any action in state court in which ‘the subject matter … relates to an arbitration agreement or award falling under the Convention’ [Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards],” she ruled.
TPP's promised gross degradation of sovereignty, ultimately in the name of profit, threatens laws and institutions valued across the ideological spectrum. Note that the citizens trade campaign letter in opposition to TPP had 1,500 organizations as co-signers.
Seriously. Anti-TTIP protests in Europe have been well-attended, while anti-TPP protests in the US have been few, far between, and poorly attended. Activists have succeeded in assembling a massive, transpartisan coalition of organizations against TPP, but have largely FAILED in educating the public. A massive public educational effort was necessary, in part because the TPP negotiations were secret, and also because there was a mainstream media blackout on the subject (broken only by Ed Schultz, when he was at MSNBC.) And yet, it never materialized. I do not know why such an effort never materialized, especially when you contrast that sorry situation with the success of generating a large, tranpartisan coaltion of organizations.
At best, less than about 17% of the population will know anything significant about TPP's huge downside.
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