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US Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord

US Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have failed to lead to a resolution, with ministers confirming that debate is likely to continue into next year.
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Poison Alphabet Soup: #TPP, #TTIP, #ISDS

Poison Alphabet Soup: #TPP, #TTIP, #ISDS | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Imagine a dystopian future in which foreign corporations sue for and win millions and even billions of our tax dollars in damages while exercising incredible and corrupting influence over our elected leaders to change, overturn, or create laws that benefit companies at the expense of our safety and our liberties.

 

Sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it?

 

Not to those paying attention to the alphabet soup of the TPP, TTIP, and ISDS.

Greg Russak's insight:

“Where’s the Obama administration’s fact sheet on the TPP, and WHY ALL THE SECRECY???” Could it that the president and the 600 or so corporations working on the TPP really are concerned about a civilian uprising if Americans knew more about and understood what the TPP is and is not?

What Can We As Citizens Do About It?

Plenty!

 

See the blog post for a short list of resources and ACTIONS you can take right now!

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Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then

Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

"As with King, it is this subversive aspect of Mandela’s legacy that is most in danger of being erased as he enters America’s pantheon of sanitized moral icons. But it is precisely the aspect that Americans most badly need. American power and human freedom are two very different things. Sometimes they intersect; sometimes they do not. Walking in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps requires being able to tell the difference." -  Peter Beinart

Greg Russak's insight:

Speaking truth to power requires courage. Mandela had that courage, and while some might look at some of his decisions, his positions, his statements, and his allies and say, "Communist" or "terrorist", that's a perception and a judgment that needs to be viewed in context.

 

If Mandela found allies and support from Communists, isn't it because he wasn't getting help and support from others like America? It's easy now to look back and claim credit for supporting the overthrow of Apartheid rule. The reality is that America's leaders, including the likes of Reagan and Cheney, were in the Apartheid camp, not Mandela's.

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Six Things Nelson Mandela Believed That Most People Won’t Talk About

Six Things Nelson Mandela Believed That Most People Won’t Talk About | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Nelson Mandela's death has unleashed a flood of whitewashed, politically correct memorials of a man who spent most of his life as a deeply radical and controversial figure.
Greg Russak's insight:

I admire him even more after reading this.

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Cost of Health Care Law Is Seen as Decreasing

Cost of Health Care Law Is Seen as Decreasing | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
A slowing trend in health care spending has lowered the law’s price by billions, and future cost controls may save billions more.
Greg Russak's insight:

"Already, the Congressional Budget Office has quietly erased hundreds of billions of dollars from its projections. It now estimates that Medicare spending in 2020 will be $137 billion lower than it thought in 2010, a drop of 15 percent; Medicaid spending will be $85 billion, or 16 percent, lower; and private health insurance premiums are expected to be about 9 percent lower.


Some economists say they believe that the Congressional Budget Office might be underestimating the long-term effect of the slowdown, because it expects that spending growth will eventually return to its previous trend line. David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist and former Obama adviser, cautiously suggests that the slower growth might stick around, and if so the savings for the government might be a whopping $750 billion over 10 years, he says.

 

Whether such improvements will last depends on whether private firms — nudged along by Washington — create and retain incentives to keep spending low."

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More #PPACA Red Herrings: Renewals and Benefits

More #PPACA Red Herrings: Renewals and Benefits | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

The brouhaha over “keeping the plans you like” and “forcing healthy young men to buy policies with maternity benefits” are simply the latest examples of political red herrings being used by the GOP and detractors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in an attempt to dupe Americans about the facts.

Greg Russak's insight:

FACT: If you received a cancellation notice from your insurance company, that was their decision, not the federal government’s decision, even when it came to health insurance plans that didn’t meet PPACA minimum standards.

 

FACT: The Essential Health Benefits codified into the PPACA define the minimum standards for health insurance and just as with today’s employer-provided health insurance plans, the PPACA’s EHBs include some health care services some of us may not want or ever need.

 

Maybe we can understand the facts better by asking a few questions.

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The US-Iran Nuclear Breakthrough in Geneva - Geopolitical Monitor

The US-Iran Nuclear Breakthrough in Geneva - Geopolitical Monitor | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The Geopoliticalmonitor's Zachary Fillingham looks into the recent breakthrough in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.
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Bills Blocked by Republican Filibusters | Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Is there a fact-based explanation as to how opposing any of these directly benefited Americans?

Greg Russak's insight:

Is there a fact-based explanation as to how opposing any of these directly benefited Americans?

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The U.S. Health Care System Is Terrible, In 1 Enraging Chart

The U.S. Health Care System Is Terrible, In 1 Enraging Chart | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Hello, did you know the American health-care system is terrible? It is. Don't let John Boehner tell you otherwise.
Greg Russak's insight:

Everything summed up in one simple statement:

"Why is our system so terrible? Largely because it is built for profit. Unlike many other countries, the government has no role in either providing care or setting prices, and so prices skyrocket. "

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Six Reasons the Affordable Care Act Is Not Hurricane Katrina

Six Reasons the Affordable Care Act Is Not Hurricane Katrina | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
It’s easy to understand why Republicans are comparing the Obamacare rollout to Hurricane Katrina. It’s still wrong.
Greg Russak's insight:

If you think the technology issues with the rollout of Healthcare.gov are anything close to Katrina, please read this and tell me where it's wrong. And, if you think the web site is down and out for good, I suspect you have little understanding about big Information Technology (IT) projects. The IT people I've known in my 30-year career, on the whole, have been some of the smartest people I know. Let's let those smart people working for the PRIVATE CONTRACTORS who missed the mark the first time have some time to fix it. I'm quite confident that they can.

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Polls Reveal Season Of Record-Breaking Voter Anger

Polls Reveal Season Of Record-Breaking Voter Anger | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The American public is clearly ticked off. Between the government shutdown, the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, and the pace of the economic
Greg Russak's insight:

Plenty of justifiable anger and blame to go around, just not in equal measures.

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Moderate GOP Group Targets Tea Party Candidates For Defeat

Moderate GOP Group Targets Tea Party Candidates For Defeat | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

"In the wake of the partial government shutdown, many establishment Republicans argued that the hardliners in the GOP, backed by the Tea Party, needed to be reigned in. Former Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio tells David Greene about his efforts to put millions of dollars toward that goal in the 2014 mid-term elections."

Greg Russak's insight:

The tide may finally be turning. 

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Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous

Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Tax-exempt social welfare groups have become the vehicle of choice for big political contributions.
Greg Russak's insight:

Social welfare groups - chartered under the infamous 501c4 tax code - seem to have less to do with "social welfare" and everything to do with secretly funding political campaigns.

 

Want to pull back that curtain of anonymity and corruption?

 

Become a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

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Yves Smith and Dean Baker on Secrets in Trade | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Yves Smith and Dean Baker on Secrets in Trade | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Why are the contents of a major US-led trade deal being deliberately kept from the American people?
Greg Russak's insight:

This video is great for understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (#TPP) in plain language. Do yourself a favor; turn off the TV for 30 minutes and watch this instead. You'll be glad that you did.

"...he's <Obama's> liberal on social issues, but economically he's not very different than a Republican" - Yves Smith, nakedcapitalism.com


I've been saying this about him and Democrats, actually, for at least a few years.

BTW, I voted for Ross Perot. Twice.

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Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal health care in the U.S. - Puget Sound Business Journal

Gen. Colin Powell calls for universal health care in the U.S. - Puget Sound Business Journal | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Former Secretary of State and longtime Republican Colin Powell is calling for a universal health care solution in the U.S.

Greg Russak's insight:

“I am not an expert in health care, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it, but I do know this: I have benefited from that kind of universal health care in my 55 years of public life,” Powell said. “And I don’t see why we can’t do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing.” 

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Party Recon's comment, December 8, 2013 1:15 PM
With all due respect my friend, unless you are or have been on Medicaid, no you haven't.
Greg Russak's comment, December 8, 2013 3:17 PM
I'm not sure what your comment is referencing, Dan. The quote, btw, is Powell's mine, not mine.
Greg Russak's comment, December 8, 2013 3:27 PM
Should be, "...Powell's, not mine."
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5 reasons why the American people can't stand the Republican party

5 reasons why the American people can't stand the Republican party | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

"The Republican party often has people scratching their heads and it's not just "liberals" who are doing it. With The Republican party splitting into multiple factions, the once proud political party has been thrown into disarray Here are five reasons why the American people can't stand the Grand Old Party."

Greg Russak's insight:

I'm curious to know if supporters and/or members of the GOP reading this agree that the party is "splitting into multiple factions" and that "the once proud political party has been thrown into disarray."

 

I'd also like to know if anyone can prove any of the 5 points to be factually incorrect.

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Ronald Reagan is not coming back, Republicans. Accept it.

Ronald Reagan is not coming back, Republicans. Accept it. | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The Republican Party is still waiting for their beloved head coach, Ronald Reagan, to come out of the locker room and lead them to another victory.
Greg Russak's insight:

Ahem.....

 

"Like any politician, Reagan changed his mind. As Governor of California, he signed pro-choice legislation into law that he later regretted. He supported a tax increase to balance the state budget, then ran against tax increases. As president, Reagan supported the equivalent of amnesty for illegal immigrants. He rejected Republican supported plans to invade Panama and Lebanon to protect American national security. 

 

If he were starting out as a candidate today, the real Ronald Reagan could not measure up to the Ronald Reagan of myth."

 

- Ford O'Connell is a long-time Republican strategist and frequent guest on Fox News and CNN. He was an advisor to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign and author of Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery

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Obamas visit immigration hunger strikers

Obamas visit immigration hunger strikers | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON — President Obama told about 20 hunger strikers on the National Mall on Friday that he supported their effort to pressure House Republicans to overhaul immigration laws but was concerned about their health.
Greg Russak's insight:

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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Greg Russak's comment, December 2, 2013 9:01 PM
I answered your question before you asked it. Or, at least I commented on it 3 years ago. Enjoy. American Pie….That You Shouldn’t Want (http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/american-pie-that-you-shouldnt-want/)
Greg Russak's comment, December 2, 2013 9:02 PM
Oh. no! I've missed the start of the show!!
Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, December 17, 2013 11:45 AM

Two controversial issues: immigration and hunger. Both are on the hot sear right now.

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Chain email says major Pacific trade deal could be taken up in Senate without committee review or debate

Chain email says major Pacific trade deal could be taken up in Senate without committee review or debate | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
A new chain email warns that President Barack Obama is about to grab "the powers of a king" through a new trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries.
Greg Russak's insight:

This is not to say that we have nothing to worry about when it comes to the TPP. I still oppose it. I'm glad to have seen this PolitiFact piece and to have a better understanding of how the "fast track" process would work if it was in place. It is not currently, and I didn't know that.

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Flush the TPP Update - Tell Stan to Make a New Plan - Don't Trade Lives for Profits!

Flush the TPP Update - Tell Stan to Make a New Plan - Don't Trade Lives for Profits! | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

For anyone looking for a template email to send to lead TPP negotiator, Stan McCoy (smccoy@ustr.eop.gov), and his team at The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (correspondence@ustr.eop.gov).

Dear Mr. McCoy:

 

Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an incredible responsibility. I respect the fact that traditional negotiating strategy and tactics dictate that you attempt to secure the most advantageous terms possible on behalf of those whom you ostensibly represent.

 

I respectfully request that you please consider that you are representing more than just the corporations recently revealed to be among the very few who actually have any knowledge, input, and influence on the TPP. You are also representing all of the citizens of the United States of America; ordinary citizens like me who are concerned that our interests and the interests of ordinary people the world over are not being considered very much if at all.

 

By some accounts, you and your team are using overwhelming numbers of negotiators and bullying tactics to force other countries to accept exorbitant patent protections. These protections are being reported to be designed to keep the cost of healthcare and medical treatments high and out of reach of far too many people. Please understand that as my representative I consider bullying tactics to be abhorrent, and outcomes which inhibit access to healthcare to be immoral and unconscionable.

 

Mr. McCoy, you possess a power and authority very few people in history have ever had or ever will have. Your decisions and your actions will impact the lives of billions of people for better or for worse for generations to come. I'm confident that you appreciate that you and your team will be judged by future historians for what the TPP is and what it is not. 

 

I implore you to put the interests of present-day and future people all over the world at least in equal standing with the interests of corporations who, I'm quite sure, will find a way to be successful and profitable even if they don't get every exorbitant patent protection they want.

 

Thank you,

 

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GOP is literally killing its base

GOP is literally killing its base | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Slashing food stamps will decrease the life expectancy of poor rural whites, many of whom put Republicans in office
Greg Russak's insight:

"The late journalist Joe Bageant (a self-described “redneck leftist” and author of the 2008 bookDeer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War) had a lot to say about white poverty and the fact that the GOP, with its emphasis on culture war issues, has convinced many older whites to vote against their own economic interests."

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– HISTORIC PHOTO: The first female Marines ever to complete infantry training

– HISTORIC PHOTO: The first female Marines ever to complete infantry training | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Via J'nene Solidarity Kay
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J'nene Solidarity Kay's curator insight, November 22, 2013 3:06 PM

Semper Fi!

Steven Smith's curator insight, November 29, 2013 10:06 PM

Ladies, you made a history. Congratulations. You just held up the rights of women is equal to men.

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Heinz to close 3 plants in North America - Pittsburgh Business Times

Heinz to close 3 plants in North America - Pittsburgh Business Times | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
H.J. Heinz Co. is closing three plants in North America and laying off about 1,350 employees in a cost-cutting move announced Thursday.
Greg Russak's insight:

Because, you know, it's incomprehensible that the price of ketchup might increase by a few pennies just to keep 1350 people employed.

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CBS' Lara Logan Apologizes For Faulty 60 Minutes Benghazi Report: "We Were Wrong. We Made A Mistake"

CBS' Lara Logan Apologizes For Faulty 60 Minutes Benghazi Report: "We Were Wrong. We Made A Mistake" | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

This is a serious question and a request. Does anyone have links to similar mea culpas by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Redstate.com, Drudge Report, or The Weekley Standard? Thanks.

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Outside Money Plays Big Role In Va. Race For Governor

Outside Money Plays Big Role In Va. Race For Governor | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg spent more than $2 million each to help elect Terry McAuliffe.
Greg Russak's insight:

To all my conservative friends and families, liberals are doing it, too.

 

Money is not speech, and money in politics is a bipartisan problem.

 

Help me to help Represent.us to #GetMoneyOut of politics.

 

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

 

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