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Where Were You When? Where Will We Be?

Three things are happening in the coming week that mean a lot to me:

  • Monday, January 20th, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Tuesday, January 21st is the fourth anniversary of the Citizens United decision, and
  • Sunday, January 26th is the fourth anniversary of Annabel Park’s post that spontaneously ignited the Coffee Party.

These things could be three different blog posts and the subject of three different blogtalkradio shows. And for me, they are very clearly related.

mlk.jpgDr. King has been a major influence in my life since my teen years. I knew him as thoughtful and courageous, and I continue to believe in his cause. The Seattle Times has a wonderful web site that reflects the man I remember: http://seattletimes.com/special/mlk/

“Martin Luther King Jr. has now been dead longer than he lived. But what an extraordinary life it was. At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his "I Have a Dream" speech. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today.”

The test question for moments of importance has become, “where were you when….” When I learned that Dr. King was dead, I was helping to get ready for my youngest sister’s 8th birthday dinner. On the 20th, I’ll be attending a local 20 year tradition: The Peace Breakfast that kicks off a month long series of events in honor of Dr. King. It includes Day of Service projects from the city and the county.

How will you remember Dr. King? Post a comment here to share or promote how you will spend the day. If you have not decided you can go to  http://mlkday.gov/ to find a Day of Service project near you. Volunteer opportunites for the MLK Day of Service can also be found on this site: http://www.volunteermatch.org/seasonsofservice/mlkday/

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In defense of my defense of Chris Christie

daly-news-chris-christie.jpgCoffee Party contributors have praised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the past, and we had refrained from comment on the bridge closing scandal until Wednesday's release of internal emails implicating high level appointees in the Christie administration. For one thing, it was all speculative, and for another, I don't much care for the kind of partisanship that requires Democratic-leaning bloggers to leap at every chance to attack the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. For these reasons, I asked our most liberal contributors not to use our powerful Facebook page to add fuel to this controversy. 

But, on Thursday morning, I posted this status update myself:

Whether w/ traffic snarls or long lines on Election Day, it is an ugly abuse of power to punish people who (may) vote against you

The Facebook status also included this quote from Maggie Haberman's even-handed article in Politico:

"Text messages and emails sent and received by [New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's] longtime friend, David Wildstein, one of two Port Authority officials to leave their jobs over the scandal, showed people reveling in the misery of the people affected by the traffic jams. The kids stuck in traffic on school buses because of the lane closures, he wrote in one message, were 'children of Buono voters' — a reference to Christie’s Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Democrat Barbara Buono."
MAGGIE HABERMAN, Politico

Although some would object to the term "moderate," I consider Christie to be a fact-based and reasonable Republican who is willing to work with Democrats, even President Barack Obama if necessary, in order to fulfill his sworn duty as an elected official. Whatever your political affiliation, you have to agree that America needs more Republicans like that. And, when considering what sort of Republican presidential candidate would be best for America in 2016, a candidate who would take back the microphone from a viciously misinformed bigot (as John McCain did in 2008) would be better than one who apes and panders to bigots, or, one who is a bigot him or herself. 

Not long ago, these qualities would not have been considered unusual, or even worthy of praise. Fulfilling one's sworn duty to serve the public was, during previous eras of American history, a higher calling than partisanship, media-induced controversies, and the desire to profit by holding office. Courage and integrity in the face of bigotry was, although never commonplace, demonstrated in both political parties, for instance, during the Civil Rights movement, such that no one would say "wow, he supported voting rights and he's a Republican?" But that has not been the case in recent years.

I'm coming to realize now that my affinity for Chris Christie had in it a fatal flaw. The quality I liked most about him was that he would be tough on the TEA Party, that he wouldn't back down, that he might even show them who's boss once in a while and reclaim the Republican party for fact-based, principled conservatives. But the same boldness that allows Christie to break the unwritten rules in the Republican party and stand up to extremism might ALSO be directed at the people I care about the most: the voters. There is nothing more ugly in American politics than abuse of power, and among abuses of power, there is only one abuse that is more heinous than abuse of power for political vendetta. And that would be abuse of power to punish, not one's political opponent, but those who are likely to vote for one's political opponent. So, Wednesday's release of an electronic message that takes even this one step further, celebrating the suffering of the CHILDREN of people who might vote for one's opponent —well, that nearly made me throw up.

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Angry on command: on media and the existence of gay people

The words "Duck Dynasty" used to refer to a mildly funny TV show, but now most Americans think of it as a reality TV show about a reality TV show — a conservative media circus designed to normalize, advance, and profit from bigotry toward gay people. It seems there is nothing that makes a consumer of conservative media products more angry than a reminder that hatred is going out of style. For this reason, and others, they are willing to hate on command. All they need is a signal from their radio or TV.

DWS-2014-01.jpgA member of the Coffee Party, David Shelton of Clarksville, TN, has been writing intelligently on this topic of late. He happens to be gay, but this is not the reason I recommend his analysis of this problem.

The existence of gay people is controversial. Gay marriage is not. And equal justice under law is not, as there is no argument against those things once we accept that gay people exist.

Shelton's writing first caught my attention when he wrote about the Duck Dynasty controversy and our conversation via Facebook led to a followup article on the hypocrisy of the right wing rage machine. He and I both felt a followup was necessary after a similar story broke, and the outrage industry produced an opposite reaction. Why opposite? Because the person who spoke out about the controversial existence of gay people was (gasp) in favor of it.

Shelton writes about the ordeal of professional football player Chris Kluwe, who said he supports marriage equality, and faced workplace intimidation from his Minnesota Vikings coaches before being let go:

Chris Kluwe was indeed fired because of his views on homosexuality. Only this time, he was a supporter of LGBT and marriage equality. He called out the blatant bigotry of one of his coaches (something about nuking an island of gay people until it glowed), and how his vocal support of same-sex marriage created a rift between him and certain members of the Vikings’ coaching staff.

Breitbart’s response is to run an article detailing how the Vikings is a “private” organization and that his first amendment rights had nothing to do with his being fired. Therefore, no one should cry foul using the Constitution to back him up.

Klewe.pngThe fact is that both situations were identical. Both men spoke very forcefully outside their usual role. Both men were disciplined (allegedly) because of their outspoken nature on the topic of homosexuality. 

To be clear: Neither situation is about the first amendment.

Yet because the right wing is so hyped up to be angry about every thing that comes down the pike, the Right Wing Rage Machine works overtime. This time, it was in gear to kick down the gays because we got mad at Phil Robertson comparing us to bestiality and terrorism.

The Right Wing Rage Machine is never quiet. It’s never silent. It’s always working. It has many agents. It rages against anything that could possibly, maybe, in a round-about-sort-of-way, be a big bad evil socialist thing. Or something. [read more]

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Looking Back at Recent History: Feb. 2011

The TEA Party has consistently gotten more publicity — let's face it, the TEA Party primarily WAS publicity, and that's nothing to sneeze at in today's media dominated world.  But many of the events in this Top Ten list that Annabel and I compiled in early 2011 turned out to have more impact than anything on Fox News at the time. And of course all of this was six months before the Occupy movement transformed our national narrative, in my opinion, for the better. When it was originally published, this essay received nearly a million hits and was shared 60K times.

Below is a look back at what we were thinking in February of 2011.  (Or, click here for video evidence.)

by Annabel Park & Eric Byler

Years from now, we will think of February 2011 as the tipping point in America’s great awakening. After all the warnings and wake-up calls, this be will remembered as the time when the American people decided to come together, confront the plutocracy that plagues our republic, and do something to change the economic inequality / instability that has grown from it. There is a tide. If you don't yet feel it, here are Ten Wake Up Calls that we predict will help define February 2011 in America.  The more people who get involved, the more meaningful it will be.  So, please share this page with others who may still need a reason to wake up and stand up.

1)  Egypt.  It had to have an impact: so many Americans glued to their televisions, watching as people take to the streets, ready to die for freedom, destined to topple an oppressive regime that had dominated them for decades.  How?  By peacefully demanding self-governance.  Their triumph made us believe we could, and should, demand the same.  

wisconsin1.jpg2)  Bob Herbert's Challenge To America.  While some Americans looked at Egypt and thought, "They're trying to get what we already have," Bob Herbert's Feb. 12 column challenged us to look in the mirror.  He wrote, "Senator John Kerry said that the Egyptian people 'have made clear they will settle for nothing less than greater democracy and more economic opportunities.' Americans are being asked to swallow exactly the opposite. In the mad rush to privatization over the past few decades, democracy itself was put up for sale, and the rich were the only ones who could afford it. ...The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that's a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away."  Herbert's analysis connected the erosion of the American democracy to the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision and the infestation of money in politics.  

3)  The Protest & the Prank Call in Wisconsin  Even Fox News has acknowledged the historic showdown in Madison, Wisconsin has nothing to do with balancing a budget as Gov. Walker claims.  "It’s about the power," Paul Krugman wrote on Feb. 20 in his NY Times column. "The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.  So will the attack on unions succeed? I don’t know. But anyone who cares about retaining government of the people by the people should hope that it doesn’t."

Fully aware that this is a power play, tens of thousands of people have been protesting for the last 10 days in the state capitol in Madison. The Wisconsin protest has sparked a movement, theSave the American Dream movement, which launched with rallies across the country on Feb. 26.

KochWalker.jpg

With the state capital overflowing with protesters, and Governor Scott Walker insisting Wisconsin's public sector workers should be punished for the global credit crisis, journalist Ian Murphy called the Governor's office on Feb. 23 falsely identifying himself as California billionaire David Koch.  Their now infamous phone callposed a vital question to the nation: would a taxpaying resident of Wisconsin be granted the same access?  "That's where you see the access and power that major corporations and wealthy contributors will have in a Walker administration," Ezra Klein pointed out.  And Mary Bottari of PR Watch outlined theshocking corruption implied in this now infamous recording.  But both Klein and Bottari would readily agree: this same type of corruption permeates our federal government as well.  News of Gov. Walker's disgrace has penetrated layers of society who could care less about collective bargaining, but enjoy a good prank.  Thus, America now has names and faces — two men who are not in jail, but in power — to symbolize the systemic, institutionalized corruption at the heart of our republic.  Money buys influence because money buys elections, and this incident will help push America into changing that. 

4)  Johann Hari's article in The Nation.
  If you haven't caught the bug, you will when you read this article.  Johann Hari begins with, "Imagine a parallel universe," speaking of the almost unimaginable success of UK Uncut: a leaderless social movement that swept Great Britain, announcing to the world:"There is an alternative to making the poor and the middle class pay for a crisis caused by the rich."  Hari recounts how UK Uncut transformed the national dialogue on proposed budget cutsby comparing the price tags for missing revenue caused by corporations who refuse to pay their taxes and cuts in housing subsidies, for instance, that would drive people who DO pay taxes out of their homes. 

The resulting uproar changed the course of history.  Hari's follow-up article laid out some steps for making this happen in the United States, and among the many promising results: US Uncut held dozens of protests at Bank of America branches on Feb. 26 calling attention to the fact that they didn't pay any taxes in 2010.  US Uncut is working in concert with a coalition of more than 40 organizations called Save the American Dream which on the same day held rallies at all 50 state capitals and elsewhere in support of the people of Wisconsin.

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Information Activism: How We Break the Cycle of Corruption

Cycle_of_Corruptionsm.jpg

THIS ESSAY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN APRIL, 2011

by Annabel Park & Eric Byler

There are consequences when people are misled about the place of the President’s birth.  Irresponsible news entertainment, and the confusion, hatred, and alienation it causes, have the effect of preserving the status quo.

So long as We the People are mesmerized by false controversies and manipulated by partisan bickering, we will be unable to confront the real challenges we face: our two unfunded wars, our millions of homes facing foreclosure, and our gridlocked Congress corrupted by money.

Endless streams of celebrity gossip and divisive political theater presented as "news" serve no one, except for a small, powerful collusion of interests that prefer to see Americans actively despise one another while ignoring what truly divides us: money and power. 

Two Economies

There is only one America; but there are two American economies. 

Wall Street’s economy has already recovered from the financial collapse of 2008.  Thanks to taxpayer-funded bailouts, Wall Street’s major players have been rewarded handsomely for causing the Great Recession, and are again enjoying record profits and record bonuses. 

But Main Street’s economy has not recovered.  Too many of us are unemployed or under-employed.  Our quality of life has declined as our incomes have stagnated.  One out of four children lives below the poverty line.  And our parents and grandparents are being told they might not receive benefits from insurance programs they paid into all their lives.


We also have two political classes in America.  There are the multi-national corporations and the wealthy few who can afford to hire K Street lobbyists and make large campaign contributions.  And, there are everyday Americans who cannot.

Wall Street corporations and the wealthy few lobby Congress for policies that benefit them financially while the basic needs of We the People go unanswered, drowned out by money and power.  Thus, we have a circular, self-reinforcing problem. Money is converted into political power.  Political power is converted into policy.  Policy is converted into more money.  That money is converted into more political power.  And so on, and so on.


Information Activism

If we look behind the curtain of manufactured culture wars and circus acts on cable news, what we see is plain, old-fashioned corruption trying to hide itself.  Our job is to drag this corruption into the light.  We must force our Congress to confront abuses of power, rather than facilitating them. 

How will we do this?

  • By becoming producers of content, rather than just consumers.
  • By becoming spreaders of information, rather than just recipients.
  • By flexing our muscles as voters, as consumers, and as active citizens.

The good news is we've already begun.  Although few of us can reach millions of people like cable news channels and broadcasting networks can, our interlocking spheres of influence — powered by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — are growing every day.  More and more of us are learning to use these tools and others like them.  We are realizing our power, and we accepting the civic duty that comes with it.

Look at the progress we’ve made in recent months.  A year ago, America’s Tax Day narrative was limited to, “We are angry about paying taxes and we are angry about the outcome of the 2008 election.”  This year, in addition to these voices, we are hearing from ordinary citizens, experts, and elected officials advocating for tax code reform to reduce our deficit, for the closing of tax loopholes, and for reducing tax expenditures — taxpayer-funded giveaways to the wealthy and to corporations engineered by that same circular problem:

money=power=policy=money=power=policy=money.

Thanks to the democratization of media, We the People have the power to break this corrupt cycle.  We will do this by becoming Information Activists — by rivaling corporate media with people-powered media, by replacing alienation, confusion, and division with accurate information and sustained civic engagement, and by claiming our rightful place in the process of self-governance. 

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2013: A look Back

Janus.jpg

What did you think of 2013, and what are your hopes for an improved 2014? According to Cathleen Decker of the Los Angeles Times, “If a cartoon balloon had floated atop President Obama’s head during his year-end news conference on Friday it would have said, succinctly: “Good riddance, 2013. Here’s hoping for a better 2014.”  The president certainly noted some of the more positive developments in 2013: millions of jobs created, the economy growing more strongly, the unemployment rate at its lowest in five years. The deficit is down, energy production is up and healthcare cost increases have slowed.” 

But as pitiful as these alleged results were, even this was an overreach.  Of the millions of jobs created, the vast majority were low wage jobs in industries such as retail, fast food, and shipping.  The excess energy being produced is couched in the new oil reserves being tapped in the Dakotas – not in the clean energy sector that the President promised would create new, middle class jobs while improving the environment. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the biggest corporate power grab in history looms ever nearer.  The U6 unemployment* number is north of 13%.  The ACA website, to be polite, glitched.  NSA spying continues, both on U.S. citizens and our allies.  And despite being considered a hero by many, Edward Snowden remains in exile for fear of retribution.  The cost of waging war in the Middle East tipped the $6 trillion mark.  68,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.  Civil War in Syria now threatens a very tenuous peace in Iraq.  Given all this, it should come as no shock to anyone that the President’s approval rating has dipped to an all-time low (41%), down 14 points from the beginning of the year. 

Meanwhile, across town, the 113th Congress fared no better.  In total, only 60 laws were passed, making 2013 the least productive of any in modern congressional history.  An embattled House grappled endlessly with the ACA, while automatically triggered austerity measures were enacted with little more than a whisper.  Student loan interest rates doubled.  Food stamp and other assistance programs shrank like a wool sweater in an electric dryer.  Both parties played chicken with sequestration and The People paid the price of their folly.  The federal government shut down for 16 days.  And for many, Santa will bring nothing more than a lump of coal this year as emergency unemployment benefits go the way of the Dodo.  Looking ahead to 2014, what, pray tell, can we do about the ultimate dysfunction in Washington?  Better yet, what will we do?

*http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp

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Politics in Money

Money in politics is not only a corrosive symptom but also an important cause of structural problems four_presidents_small.jpgwith our economy. 

Politics in money sustains the myths that economic growth leads to prosperity, prosperity alone increases well-being, and economic growth can continue forever.  Economic growth is the unchallenged mantra of every politician. But we are already deep in financial overshoot, manifest as the aggregate of government, institutional, and personal debt. Ecological overshoot is manifest as global warming, air and water pollution, waste dumps, deforestation, desertification, aquifer depletion, natural resource consumption, depleted fisheries, and other exploitations of common resources. Also, income inequality continues to increase.

The book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein exposes the many false assumptions of traditional economics to describe a system that is stable during degrowth, and encourages us to create more of what is truly valuable. The author presents bold solutions to the systemic problems of today’s economy, while describing how a transition to this sacred economy could take place. To learn more, please read my recent review of the book on-line or as a pdf file. The full text of the book is generously offered online as a gift. A short video introduces some of the key ideas.

Economic concerns are so pervasive, so influential, and our economic systems contain so many faults that an economic transformation is required to ignite broader social and political reforms. Money will stay in politics until we can get politics out of money. Transforming our economic systems may be the lynchpin that unleashes a deeper, richer, and longer lasting well-being for all. Learn to recognize and challenge the false assumptions that prop up our economic systems. Break the cycle of politics in money obliging money in politics.

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Christmas Album for Tax Cheats

Coffee Party presents, in partnership with Americans For Tax Fairness: "A Christmas Album for Tax Cheats" featuring Will Rice, The Middle School Accountants, and MORE!

Holiday music expresses our hopes, dreams and aspirations—and it’s no different for tax-dodging corporations. While you and your family sit around a roaring fire enjoying the songs of the season, corporate accounting departments will be sitting around the huge, loophole-ridden tax code, enjoying the warmth given off by innumerable write-offs and special breaks. And they’ll sing, too, just different songs.


“Offshore In A Haven” is a cautionary tale of what happens when corporate tax reform goes too far—by which is meant, actually reforms anything. The heart-breaking story of corporate cash separated from its home office by the overriding need to avoid all U.S. taxes, this haunting tune has inspired generations of lobbyists and tax strategists.



With “Deduct Them All” we revisit the ancient beginnings of corporate tax dodging—the “fa la la” chorus reflects a time when young accountants could cook books, but couldn’t read them. The tax deductions for legal damages referenced in the second stanza goes back to a legal principle of the Middle Ages: rich people don’t pay for their own mistakes.

“Write-Off, The Red-Faced Tax Break” is a rollicking tune that delights current and future CFO’s alike. Children learn that being different is OK, as long as it makes someone money. We all learn that today’s illegal tax evasion can become tomorrow’s clever tax avoidance if we only view it with the proper magical spirit.

“What Tax Is This?” is the most overtly religious of this collection, tapping into a deeply felt conviction on the part of corporate executives that paying taxes is the greatest sin of all. The counter-argument presented in the song—that taxes are necessary to pay for important services—is presented ironically, held up as a common error to which non-corporate types often fall prey.



The happy, hopeful “Taxfree, the Haven” is another favorite of children, who dream of one day visiting the tropical paradise where troubles—and corporate tax liabilities—all melt away. However, it also serves as rallying cry for adults, who learn to stand forever vigilant against the insidious forces of reform.

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Transpartisan Nation-Part II

conflict-300x202.jpgIs the transpartisan strategy the way forward?

There was once a man who set off to change the world, then discovered he didn’t have enough power to change the world.  So he decided to change the country...but again failed.  So he decided to change his own community with no more luck.  He returned home to change his family, who resisted all attempts.  He decided to change himself...and succeeded!  

As a result, his family was transformed, and that spilled out into his community. His community became a role model for other communities in the country, which was positively changed.  And as his country shifted priorities and policies, the world was changed.  

We started this conversation three weeks ago in Transpartisan Nation Part 1. Questions we asked on that show included, “Can we let go of the point-scoring, win/lose paradigm?  Can we trust each other, provide compassion instead of competition and control our fear long enough to be the change we seek?”

In this blog and corresponding radio show, we explore how does one becometranspartisan” and what does this really mean?  Let’s start with what Coffee Party means by transpartisan.

Transpartisan / Independence

We engage in political and social bridge-building for the sake of finding solutions to common problems, working above and beyond ideological dogmas, putting the country first. (from Coffee Party Core Values informed by the work of CitizenNow)

How does transpartisan forward the the action of seeking common solutions?

  • creates a safe space to explore differences
  • no one party is always right
  • no one party is always wrong
  • evidence based facts and metrics
  • challenge ideas not the person i.e. name calling is out, denigration/dehumanisation is out and mutual respect (civility) is in.

We asked ourselves how might we move from polarization to shared outcomes?  From disengagement with each other to engagement and results?

Stepping Stones from Disengagement to Engagement
  • we can't hear each otherwe can hear but do not understand (controlled narrative, talking points, code words)
  • we can understand but not discuss (blame or ridicule)
  • we can discuss without blaming (empathy)
  • we can hear each other (compassion)
  • we can problem solve together
You might recall trying to share an experience with someone, and they simply cannot understand.  Or you really love a family member or friend...but just can’t talk about certain topics.  Which stepping stone would you be experiencing?

Just as the man who wanted to change the world failed until he changed himself, how might we each, individually, need to change?  What is the attitude, emotion and actions of people who work (or play) together?  

We referred to the Abrahams/Hicks emotional scale.  Abraham-Hicks has come up with a sequence of emotions that will help us work from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever we are experiencing. What do you normally experience when you are engaging in political action?  If you find where you are emotionally on the scale, you can then look for and practice thoughts that feel just a tad bit better. In other words, we only move up or down, one step at a time.  It can take seconds or months.  Practice allows us to shift quicker.  Here’s the scale:

  1. Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
  2. Passion
  3. Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
  4. Positive Expectation/Belief
  5. Optimism
  6. Hopefulness
  7. Contentment
  8. Boredom
  9. Pessimism
  10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
  11. Overwhelm
  12. Disappointment
  13. Doubt
  14. Worry
  15. Blame
  16. Discouragement
  17. Anger
  18. Revenge
  19. Hatred/Rage
  20. Jealousy
  21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
  22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

What are the emotions of transpartisanship?  Our supposition is that transpartisan conversations become available when we reach contentment and higher, because that is where we are “safe” enough to engage.   

So when you engage in political conversations, activism or even comment on Facebook posts, what is your emotion? Anger?  Blame? Optimism? How do you change your emotion or mood? How long does it take? 

At the end of the day, wherever you are on the path to a transpartisan lifestyle, you are fine. Keep exercising the muscle that will move you up the levels of the emotional scale and up the levels of engagement. Exercise gratitude when people show you that you have stumbled. Exercise humility when you dust yourself off. Apologize if needed. And stay on the path. This republic’s democracy is counting on you.

Join us today for a BIG topic of transpartisanship and our role in creating our future.

Thursdays at 12 noon Pacific
Listen online LIVE or LATER
Listen or call in!  646-929-2495
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Should the Coffee Party Officially Demand Transparency on the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, more commonly referred to as the TPP is Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and 12 Asian Pacific countries.  Like other such agreements, it is been being created and negotiated by the the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), who reports directly to the President.   Work on the TPP began in 2005 under the Bush Administration and has continued during of the Obama Administration.  And now, the President has begun talk of using the Fast Track Option to limit debate on and amendments to the agreement during the congressional approval process; a process the President had aimed to complete by the end of 2013.  Twenty-nine chapters in length, many are calling it NAFTA on steroids.  

If you would like Coffee Party USA to demand transparency, please sign our petition: http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/tpp_petition

The White House claims that the purpose of the agreement is to make it easier for American companies to do business in the region.  However, those who oppose the treaty are saying it will do great harm to the vast majority of Americans by handing over even greater power to large, multinational corporations.  But here's the rub.  There's no way for any of us to be certain which is true because for the past eight years, the TPP has been negotiated in total secrecy.  Well, almost total secrecy.

While the American people and even members of Congress are being denied access to the contents of the TPP, 600 representatives from corporations such as Halliburton, Monsanto, Chevron, and Walmart are helping to write it.  What we want to know is this:  Should the Coffee Party officially demand transparency from the White House on the TPP so that it can be properly vetted by The People?

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