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Michael Miller


By Michael Miller
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‘We’re Not Them’

1. This will be published during Democratic National Convention week. Let’s see how many times anyone within a mile of the microphones mentions “TPP.” That’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement between the U.S. and 10 countries now in the final stages of negotiation. Only the draft agreements are a tightly guarded secret, even though the lives of billions of people could be affected.

2. TPP is being called a “free trade agreement.” Actually, there are already very low trade barriers between these countries, which include Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam. By labeling it “free trade,” it will automatically receive robotic support from the D.C. establishment and the media.

3. Mostly, it is a way to pass laws that couldn’t pass in some of the national legislatures, such as the U.S. Congress.

4. The current draft is secret from you and me, but not from a select group of corporate partners (“Cleared Advisors”). Through leaks, educated speculation and bits and pieces released mostly in 2011, it seems that TPP will grant multinational corporations vast new patent privileges (such as significantly extending monopolies to pharmaceutical companies before competitors can manufacture generics) and require government intervention to enforce corporate intellectual property rights (draconian anti-piracy laws). There may also be provisions overriding American environmental protection and workplace safety laws.

5. An online coalition is offering a $23,389 bounty (and climbing) to the WikiLeaks operation if it publishes a copy of the TPP draft.

6. You won’t learn anything about TPP by watching the conventions.

7. They both have their signature social issues and slight differences in tax policies, but neither major political party offers any plan or vision for your children or grandchildren that doesn’t involve them being servants of some kind, white collar or blue, to a permanent class of Super Rich nobility.

8. Here are the real, actual platforms of both national parties, so far: “We’re Not Them. Insert Check.”

9. This is not to say that both parties are equal in matters of integrity.

10. The main policy points of the Republican Party during this campaign have been: The President said that you didn’t build anything; the President gutted Medicare; the President abolished work-for-welfare rules; the Paul Ryan budget reduces the deficit, and he has a proven anti-deficit record in Congress. None are true.

11. In 2009, Governor Jindal of Louisiana, anti-deficit and anti-federalist warrior, publicly mocked the President and the stimulus bill because it included funds for volcano monitoring (for Vancouver, Washington, which sits at the foot of a volcano). Before Hurricane Isaac made landfall, he was attacking the President for not sending more disaster relief money to the state, even though the President had already signed a declaration making federal money for emergency operations available, as it is needed.

12. In 2011, the single largest component of Louisiana’s state revenues was federal aid. 50.0 percent of Louisiana’s revenues came from Washington, D.C., second only to Oklahoma. New York ranked 26th (34.2 percent).

13. Earlier in the summer, Louisiana was given autonomy over an extra $375 million in federal education aid to further implement their “school flexibility” programs.

14. Some of the faces on television don’t really believe what they’re saying. It’s their act.

15. And dig the flexibility. Seventy-five percent of New Orleans public school students are enrolled in charter schools. Louisiana’s school voucher program has slashed funds for public schools and redirected the money to religious and other private schools.

16. Here are some actual quotes from approved textbooks now in use in Louisiana schools receiving public funding. About the 1992 election: “In reality, the economy was strong and healthy, but the liberal media helped Clinton and Perot create a climate of economic crisis….” About labor organizations: “Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created.”

17. Your tax dollars at work, Long Islanders.

18. Americans are getting desperate for a voice of clarity, vision and unity of purpose.

19. If the political system continues to fail America, many Americans may seek out such a voice, even if it’s a voice not based in reality, or advocates things that now seem unthinkable.

Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: