Why Doesn’t Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren Like The TPP Trade Agreement?

Warren1On February 25th, the Washington Post published an opinion piece written by Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren that discusses why she isn’t for the TPP trade agreement that Republicans and the President are pushing.

Below, she writes about the“Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) section of the TPP trade agreement.

“ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.”

So, the ISDS decisions would supersede U.S. court decisions.  She goes on:

“If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?”

(Updated article)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kill-the-dispute-settlement-language-in-the-trans-pacific-partnership/2015/02/25/ec7705a2-bd1e-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

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Senator Ted Cruz Threatens To Subpoena Treasury Officials To Testify About Obamacare

Roll Call states that Senator Ted Cruz is warning he might seek to compel testimony from the Treasury Department about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The Texas Republican senator – who is also a presidential candidate – is in control of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts.

He said his staff had been informed by the Obama administration that witnesses would not be available to testify about the rule-making process for providing subsidies under Obamacare because of ongoing litigation.

“For two main reasons, this excuse is entirely invalid,” Cruz wrote in a new letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

“First, Congress retains its right to conduct oversight of the executive branch at all times, regardless of any perceptions of poor timing by, or inconvenience to, the executive branch. The Senate Judiciary Committee has obligations to ensure the proper functioning of the federal government at all times, and not just during windows of convenience for political officials. Second, your Department’s pending litigation justification is without basis, particularly given how you have provided at least one Department witness for the exact same topic during the pendency of other litigation over the last few years.”

http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/cruz-threatens-to-subpoena-treasury-officials-to-testify-about-obamacare-rules/

McCain Calls White House Press Secretary Earnest An ‘Idiot,’ Retracts

John McCain is upset about a recent ISIS victory in Ramadi, Iraq. So angry, that he took to name calling when speaking about White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

“Bodies are on fire in the streets of Ramadi as we are speaking,” McCain said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.” “[ISIS] is an evil – this is a transcendent evil that the President seems to dismiss it as ‘We’re not losing.’ ”

He then called Earnest an “idiot” for saying Tuesday, ““Are we going to light our hair on fire every time there’s a setback against ISIL?”

Fox News’ Bill Hemmer called out McCain’s name-calling, and the Arizona Republican immediately retracted.

“I’ll retract that,” he said. “It’s infuriating though to hear someone say [that]. That betrays everything that America believes in and stands for.”

http://national.suntimes.com/national-politics/7/72/1164763/sen-john-mccain-calls-white-house-press-secretary-idiot-immediately-retracts

Senator Lindsey Graham Would ‘Drone Americans For Thinking About Joining ISIL’

Secular Talk

Does South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham go over-the-top in regards to stopping Americans from joining ISIS?

The Republican Graham “quasi-announced” that he is running for president on Monday, writes Slate Magazine.

On Saturday, he gave a foreign policy-oriented speech at a dinner event hosted by Iowa Republicans. During that speech he made either a very bad joke or an extremely aggressive remark about drone warfare, according to Slate.

(Updated title to reflect the Senator’s use of ISIL instead of ISIS)

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/05/18/lindsey_graham_drone_attacks_threatens_jokingly_to_kill_americans.html

Did John McCain Say Rand Paul Is The ‘Worst Possible Candidate’ To Fox News’ Neil Cavuto?

Secular Talk

Senator John McCain recently responded to Rand Paul stating that other Republicans are Obama “lapdogs” on national defense.  He discussed it with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.

McCain came out swinging, declaring that Senator Paul is the “worst possible candidate of the 20 or so that are running on the most important issue, which is national security.”

(Updated post)

Does Freshman Senator Tom Cotton Want A War With Iran?

Ring of Fire Radio

Republican Senator Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran last month wasn’t just his attempt to undermine President Obama – it was the order that was given to him by his funders in the defense industry, states Ring of Fire Radio.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), an opponent of President Obama’s diplomatic efforts to strike an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, suggested on Tuesday that armed conflict with Tehran could be easily contained to “several days of air and naval bombing” and would not require the deployment of American ground troops. The comments echoed the false predictions of Bush administration officials on the eve of the Iraq invasion, according to ThinkProgress.

Mike Papantonio and Abby Martin discuss this story.

Senator Tom Cotton Predicts A 4-Day War With Iran

TYT Network

Tom Cotton is the junior U.S. Senator from the state of Arkansas.  He is a member of the Republican Part and he is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a lawyer.  Cotton is now known for writing a letter signed by 47 Senators to the leadership of Iran, apparently in an effort to undermine the peace treaty being negotiated with the U.S. and five other nations.

Wikipedia:

“On or about March 9, 2015, Senator Cotton wrote and sent a letter to the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran, signed by 47 of the Senate’s 54 Republicans, attempting to cast doubt on the Obama administration’s authority to engage in nuclear-proliferation negotiations with Iran.  The open letter was released in English as well as a poorly-translated Persian version (which “read like a middle schooler wrote it” according to Foreign Policy).  Within hours, commentators suggested that the letter prepared by Cotton constituted a violation of the Logan Act.  Questions also were raised as to whether it reflected a flawed interpretation of the Treaty Clause of the United States Constitution.

“President Barack Obama mocked the letter, referring to it as an ‘unusual coalition’ with Iran’s hard-liners as well as an interference with the then-ongoing negotiations of a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. 

“In addition, during a Vice News Interview, President Barack Obama said ‘I’m embarrassed for them, for them to address a letter to the Ayatollah the Supreme Leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy and their basic argument to them is: don’t deal with our president, because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement… That’s close to unprecedented.'”

Cotton predicted Thursday that U.S. military strikes on Iran could damage its nuclear capabilities without leading to a full-scale war, states USA Today.

He said past Israeli air force attacks on nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria and President Obama’s own statements about a “military option” indicate that “air and naval bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities would in fact work,” states USA Today.

He likened the option to Operation Desert Fox, the four-day bombing campaign President Clinton ordered in 1998 for Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with international weapons inspectors. “That’s what military action would look like if we had to take military action against Iran,” Cotton said, according to USA Today.

Cotton, himself a veteran of the Iraq War, dismissed any comparisons to the predictions of a short conflict by then-President Bush and then-Vice President Dick Cheney and others before the invasion of Iraq.

(Updated report)