Free traders in Congress formally proposed last week that lawmakers relax, put their feet up and neglect the rigor of legislative review for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade scheme.
The TPP is a secret deal among 12 Pacific Rim nations that was covertly negotiated by unelected officials and corporate bosses. It’s so clandestine that lawmakers elected to represent the American people were refused access to the deliberations. It would expand secret trade tribunals that corporations use to sue governments over democratically established laws and win compensation from taxpayers.
The Congressional free traders want to Fast Track authorization of the TPP. Fast Track enables Congress to abdicate its constitutionally mandated duty to regulate international trade. Instead of scrutinizing, amending and improving proposed trade deals, lawmakers use Fast Track to gloss over the specifics and simply vote yea or nay on the entire package as presented. With elected officials excluded from the talks, details of the treaty deliberately shrouded in secrecy and free traders demanding lawmakers ignore the deal’s effects on constituents, this process condemns democracy.More ...
Sen. Rand Paul wants to radically slash the size of our federal government and drastically limit its responsibilities. Oddly for a devout ideologue, he doesn’t want to tell you that.
When Paul was speaking to the country at large in his presidential campaign announcement address, the word “cut” was never uttered, let alone “reduce” or “shrink.”
When he put numbers on his plans, the numbers were designed to sound big. For example, he asked rhetorically: “Currently some $3 trillion comes into the U.S. Treasury. Couldn’t the country just survive on $3 trillion?”
Amidst the usual “government is the problem, not the solution” rhetoric, he enthusiastically championed increased government spending on “new highways and bridges” (though his proposal would get the money from an one-shot infusion of cash stemming from a reduced tax rate on corporate profits now avoiding U.S. taxes offshore). Yet, he offered nothing about what government programs or agencies he would eliminate.More ...
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the bridge's anchor rods may be snapping.
Good news for people who like bad news: There are serious problems with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Again. From the San Francisco Chronicle comes the news that one of the anchor rods in the bridge’s eastern span may have snapped:
An ultrasonic test performed late last month indicates that the steel fastener may be as much as 6 inches shorter than the other rods, Caltrans officials say. It could have snapped at the bottom because of corrosion, or it could simply have been cut or made shorter than the other 400-plus rods at the tower’s base, they say.
The answer could determine whether Caltrans must bolster the tower’s anchoring system.