Monday, June 27, 2016

Re: [CCDS Members] Common Dreams: Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation

Another bad feature of TPP is it lets corporations sue states and cities for passing environmental measures that may reduce the corporations' imagined future profits. Say goodbye to sovereignty. Say hello to Flint and Benton Harbor.
As to austerity, it should start at the top.
Per Fagereng
From: John Case
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2016 3:50 PM
Subject: [CCDS Members] Common Dreams: Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation
1. There is much I do not buy in this analysis, though I am sure it contains some truth. First: TPP. I thought, and still think, it was a mistake for Sanders, and the labor movement, to make a litmus test out of this issue. Trade inevitably cuts two ways, and in politics, as Brexit shows, it is potentially extremely divisive. Plus, defeating trade agreements, contrary to some popular opinion, does not have much to do with limiting actual real trade. Exporters are winners, imports create losers -- displaced workers with both lower prices AND wages, or higher indebtedness. It's true working families, on average, and on the median, have gotten nothing from trade. But blocking trade agreements, or fighting the objective and irreversible aspects of trade, will not put any money in any workers pockets. The right track on trade is not hard to find: universal collective bargaining, combined with big payoffs and compensation to the "losers" in trade. The #anywonebuthillary folks blame her for this "betrayal" -- but I am pretty sure removing death to TPP was more Obama's influence.

2. The most important issue(s) in the entire election is, as Sanders and Clinton both campaigned on, inequality (on several dimensions) -- and falling incomes and prospects of working families. If that issue is not addressed, if austerity is not reversed, not a single other issue -- not even climate change -- will will get the attention it deserves. If that issue is not addressed, if austerity is not reversed, every struggle will be threatened by fascist distractions -- which will grow stronger and stronger until they ARE addressed.

3. Moratorium on fracking: Science is divided on this.  In West Virginia, it would further exacerbate the already severe economic crisis in the state. Education and the arts would take ANOTHER big hit for a start. Plus, the price of  gas will go up if there is a moratorium. And -- anything that reduces net income for most Americans -- regardless how reasonable --  will be rejected by half. Personally, I think the moratorium is the right call given the earthquake and water contamination reported incidents. But I do not think it is worth going to the mat over -- especially given Clinton and the DNCs pretty strong positions on the wide range of environmental policies. More evidence and study will bring consensus if the strong critics are right.

4.Israel. I agree with the criticism of Clinton on  this. I fear the foreign policy mess -- now raised to a new order of magnitude by the EU crisis --- will result in calls to arms no president will be able to resist. I am not Sanders would be able to resist either.

5. Any article that  quotes Cornel West extensively drives me to the Trust But Verify position. I have read two of his books. Hyper radicalism -- and some powerful insights,  but, to me, a lot of hot air.

Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation

Despite its claims to want to unify voters ahead of November's election, the Democratic party appears to be pushing for an agenda that critics say ignores basic progressive policies, "staying true" to their Corporate donors above all else.

During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC's platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.

In a statement, Sanders said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that representatives of Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz rejected the proposal on trade put forth by Sanders appointee Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), despite the fact that the presumed nominee has herself come out against the 12-nation deal.

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"Inexplicable" was how Sanders described the move, adding: "It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton's delegates won't stand behind Secretary Clinton's positions in the party's platform."

The panel also rejected amendments suggested by co-founder Bill McKibben, another Sanders pick, that would have imposed a carbon tax, declared a national moratorium on fracking as well as new fossil fuel drilling leases on federal lands and waters.

"This is not a political problem of the sort that we are used to dealing with," McKibben stated during the marathon debate. "Most political problems yield well to the formula that we've kept adopting on thing after thing—compromise, we'll go halfway, we'll get part of this done. That's because most political problems are really between different groups of people. They're between industry and environmentalists. That is not the case here."

"Former U.S. Representative Howard Berman, American Federation of State, County, and Muncipal Employees executive assistant to the president, Paul Booth, former White House Energy and Climate Change Policy director Carol Browner, Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece, former State Department official Wendy Sherman, and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden all raised their hands to prevent a moratorium from becoming a part of the platform," noted Shadowproof's Kevin Gosztola.

According to Gosztola's reporting on the exchange, Dr. Cornel West lambasted the aforementioned panel members, particularly Browner, for "endorsing reform incrementalism" in the face of an urgent planetary crisis.

"When you're on the edge of the abyss or when you're on that stove, to use the language of Malcolm X, you don't use the language of incrementalism. It hurts, and the species is hurting," West said.

Other progressive policies were adopted piecemeal, such as the $15 minimum wage, which the committee accepted but without the amendment put forth by Ellison that would have indexed the wage to inflation.

The panel did vote unanimously to back a proposal to abolish the death penalty and adopted language calling for breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and enacting a modern-day Glass-Steagall Act—measures that Sanders said he was "pleased" about.

According to AP, the final discussion "centered on the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

"The committee defeated an amendment by Sanders supporter James Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with 'an end to occupation and illegal settlements' and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza," AP reports, measures which Zogby said Sanders helped craft.

Instead, AP reports, the adopted draft "advocates working toward a 'two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict' that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders 'and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.'"

Citing these "moral failures" of the platform draft, West abstained during the final vote to send the document to review by the full Platform Committee next month in Orlando, Florida.

"If we can't say a word about TPP, if we can't talk about Medicare-for-All explicitly, if the greatest prophetic voice dealing with pending ecologically catastrophe can hardly win a vote, and if we can't even acknowledge occupation... it seems there is no way in good conscience I can say, 'Take it to the next stage,'" West declared before the assembly.

"I wasn't raised like that," he said. "I have to abstain. I have no other moral option, it would be a violation of my own limited sense of moral integrity and spiritual conscience," adding, "That's how I roll."

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John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV
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