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The curse of paying attention is that you can simultaneously feel very encouraged by some things while feeling profoundly hopeless about others.

Secret Trade Agreements

The Real Meaning of "Fast Track"—It's Alienation and Powerlessness for the Rest of Us -- Larry Wines

Secrecy in government that is producing a very bad "trade deal," and will now, by LAW, produce more secret "trade deals" all the way through the term of the unknown NEXT president, is now a fact.

The furor over a piece of cloth in the form of a Confederate Battle Flag is the perfect diversion from institutionalizing secrecy that cripples American workers. It's also the perfect cover, post-Charleston, to make the public forget the toxicity of a fear-based society awash in too-easily-obtainable guns.

So much for "power to the people."

The furor over a piece of cloth in the form of a Confederate Battle Flag is the perfect diversion from institutionalizing secrecy that cripples American workers.

The whole TPP thing, et. al., should have been dead last week. The public opposes it. In fact, it was opposed by just about everybody but the fatcats, the banksters, and the political elite that they own. But incongruously, President Obama forged an alliance with congressional Republicans to pass it in both houses — the only weighty thing on which they've agreed for his entire presidency.

And they passed it — "it" being a "Fast Track" mechanism of abdication of congressional oversight, of Constitutional "advise and consent" — after the possibility of that happening was supposed to be dead. Because if you are a bankster, you own and can exercise enough economic clout to keep getting additional bites at the apple until you eat it all.

In my political neck of the woods, we have a lot of concern over manipulators who restrict the rights of people to vote. We really do not understand "self-disenfranchisement" and how many people who can vote without challenges or constraints just don't bother.

But I'm beginning to understand. It comes from alienation. It comes from feeling such disgust with the process and those who constantly manipulate and control it for their own gains and purposes.

I may feel differently, eventually. But it'll take a good long while. Because, right now, if Bernie Sanders were not running, I would sit this one out. Clear through 2016. And I would do it very openly, very publicly, and with a spirit of nonviolent revolution. A "League of Non-Voters" would be a strong possibility. Because buying-in to a system that has the game rigged only impedes the change that's needed.

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Bernie Sanders represents that needed change. He is therefore regarded by the political establishment as an insurgent. Sure, there is one other candidate regarded as an "insurgent," but his ideas are dangerously regressive, and he, Ron Paul, would be a disaster.

Since Elizabeth Warren isn't running, Bernie Sanders has, alone, staked the claim to genuine, authentic, progressive populism, to a New Deal-like program to reemploy Americans doing what so desperately needs to be, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and making college education free, like Europeans have to enhance their global competitiveness. He, alone, would pay for it by putting tax rates on the rich back where those rates were when Bill Clinton was president.

Too much is at stake to sit things out with Bernie running. We have a shot at American Renewal. At high-speed rail. At an adequately-funded Amtrak. At a space program that isn't starved into being a national embarrassment.

But. Without Bernie Sanders on my ballot, I don't particularly see any point in reserving a ballot in my name. Senate candidates? Barbara Boxer is retiring. Dianne Feinstein just voted for the whole awful TPP scene. A congressman / congresswoman? We'll see.

Oh, I know all the Hillary supporters are screaming about now. Fine. Why aren't you screaming at Hillary for hiding-out for MONTHS on TPP, et. al., when, had she voiced her opposition, she could have been influential and killed it? No, Hillary behaved like a calculating politician, planning the moves on the chess board so as not to upset her corporocratic financial support base. That was not the quality displayed by the completely authentic, slay-the-dragon Bernie Sanders.

Yes, I might — might — still see enough from whichever wingnut Republican wins their nomination, and I might, in the end, vote for somebody other than Bernie Sanders if he isn't on my ballot.

Right now, I just don't think so.

Bernie is the only candidate between me wanting a ballot or me wanting to sit it out, self-disenfranchising as a statement that I refuse to lend credibility to a bought-and-paid-for process.

If we're going to keep losing in increments? Then studying the issues, knowing the facts, confronting the low-information opposition — both intellectually and passionately fighting them — is just a kabuki dance.

Perhaps it would be better for corporotocracy to fully and openly take over, and thereby cause a REAL revolution. Which, after all, is a certainty if things keep going the way they are. With the 1% taking everything and the rest of us — having abandoned the dream of home ownership — realizing we'll have to keep working to pay rent to some fatcat until the day we drop dead. The latter being an outcome that, if the Supreme Court throws-out Obamacare, might not take all that long.

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Larry Wines