Weekend Open Thread: Spain of Flutes, how Cunningham pays his bills, and TPP Protest Sunday on HB Pier!




tpp-flutes-matt thai girls Hey, I don’t think I put this up on the blog yet, but recently the LA Flute Guild asked me to arrange Chick Correa’s popular latin-jazz classic “Spain” for five flutes, piano and congas.   Chick began “Spain” with an intro taken from Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez;”  I decided to end it that way too, because Chick’s ending is kinda tiresome.  Also, if you listen closely about 3/4 of the way through you’ll hear a little bit of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard!”  Oh, also, I decided to call my arrangement (to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” ) “SPAIN SPAIN SPAIN, SPAIN OF FLUTES!”   Hope you like it.  Let me know if you need YOUR favorite song arranged for a shitload of flutes.


2. How does Matt Cunningham pay his kids’ Catholic School Tuition?

I know that is something all of you wonder and worry about a lot – of course AnaheimBlog‘s Matt Cunningham is paid a certain amount to propagandize by Anaheim’s and OC’s big corporate/klepto interests – enough to motivate Matt to jump through the most absurd rhetorical hoops to convince people of things like

  • Minimum wage increases hurt the workers who receive them,
  • that only “leftist/socialist/Democrats” want to vote “by district” in Anaheim (when it passed by over 70%),
  • or that Arte Moreno will up and take his Angels team to Tustin or Hawaii if we don’t agree to rent him the whole gigantic parking lot around the Stadium for a dollar a year for 66 years.

They do pay him enough to write those things without embarrassment, but we know that it is still nowhere near what a father would need to send three or four kids to Catholic school.  How does he do it?  Well, a good friend of ours caught a screen shot of Matt’s blog a few weeks ago that gives us a hint.  Note the targeted Thai-girl hookup ad: 


It’s funny because Matt is such a sanctimonious prude – as I’ve written, a “judgmental ‘Christian conservative’ who boasts of his ‘family values'” … who  fought “hard and successfully against the rights of gays to marry, claiming that it would harm ‘traditional marriage’ in some mystical intangible way,” and who is “such a loyal unquestioning Catholic that he went and humiliated himself defending Monsignor Urell, the notorious protector of priest pedophiles.”  It’s as funny as when we discovered him in 2013 working with the owners of the California Girls strip clubs to help them get past police objections to opening a rowdy “Tilted Kilt” in Matt’s town of Orange – a story that drove Matt around the bend and made him repeatedly threaten to sue us … but it’s still up because it was perfectly accurate!

Oh well, enough fun, THIS is the most serious thing this weekend:

Sunday Rally at the HB Pier against the TPP

(TransPacific Partnership)

This remains the most important, most uncovered-by-the-media story of the last few years – apparently neither the right-wing media nor the allegedly liberal “mainstream media” want these negotiations to fail.  And this “NAFTA on steroids” which will give transnational corporations unlimited power over the efforts of any poor little nation (including ours) to protect our sovereignty, consumers, workers or environment, is gonna be on “FAST TRACK” this month if the President and the corporatists on both sides of Congress get their way.  Seriously, they say, coming to the Senate next week, Congress by April 20.

But, toss a rock in a crowd – no, better make it a foam football – and the chances are MICROSCOPIC that you’ll hit anyone who’s heard of this monstrosity. So we’re having a rally/protest at the Huntington Beach Pier this Sunday from noon to 3. Show up, make your voice heard and/or find out more. I’ll be playing piano and hope to come up with some good anti-TPP songs by then. And the great thing is when you’re done, you’ll find that you’re at the Huntington Beach Pier on what’s likely to be a very nice day! Here, listen to Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who can explain things better than me.

I can happily report that MY Congressman-for-life, the eccentric Republican Dana Rohrabacher, is against the deal and fast track for all the right reasons – I invited him to the rally but he won’t be in town, but hopefully he’ll send a spokesman. Santa Ana’s Democratic Congresswoman-for-life Loretta Sanchez has been speaking against it, but only on the narrow grounds of Communist Vietnam being included in the deal – always playing to her Viet voters. I tried to get across to her guy how MANY OTHER GOOD REASONS there are to be against the TPP.

Ed Royce and Mimi Walters, slimy kleptos that they are, are enthusiastially backing it. I have regrettably not thought about calling Alan Lowenthal yet, and I can’t guess which way he’d go; as I also can’t guess with the malevolent Daryl Issa – just opposing the President is probably reason enough for HIM to fight TPP.

But here are the numbers you should call, first thing Monday – especially our two Senators, neither of whom have made a statement on it yet:

  • Senator Boxer: 202-224-3553
  • Senator Feinstein: 202-224-3841

And whoever is your Congressman – if you’re an OJ reader you probably know which one it is:

  • Congressman Dana Rohrabacher: 714-960-6483 (Thank him)
  • Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez: 714-621-0102 (Tell her it’s more than just Vietnam)
  • Congressman Alan Lowenthal: 562-436-3828 (Report back)
  • Congressman Ed Royce: 714-255-0101 (Chide him)
  • Congresswoman Mimi Walters: 202-225-5611 (Chide her)
  • Congressman Darrell Issa: 949-281-2449 (Report back)

Down San Diego way, THEIR Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas recently led a rally against TPP himself;  I wish we had a leader like that here.

Finally anyone not yet up to speed on this burning issue should read the great piece D’Marie Mulattieri wrote for this blog in February;  I believe I’ll just go ahead and reprint most of it right here.  Then when you’re done, go ahead and talk about this and whatever else you’d like – this is your WEEKEND OPEN THREAD.

tpp For the last six years, corporate representatives have met in secret to hammer out the details of the next “free trade agreement” between the United States and 11 other nations bordering the Asian rim. This agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (TPP.) The other participating nations include: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Do you remember during the 1992 Presidential debates when candidate Ross Perot said that the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico would cause a huge sucking sound of manufacturers moving south? He very clearly explained that big business follows the path of least resistance, meaning lower labor and environmental protection costs.

The above headlines regarding our sinking economy since the implementation of NAFTA show the accuracy of Mr. Perot’s predictions. What do you think is going to happen when we open trading with Vietnam where their minimum wage is less than $55 per month? There will be another huge sucking sound, this time to south Asia.

obama caricatureWhat’s really scary is that President Obama is asking Congress to basically give up their Constitutional right to negotiate international trade (Article 1 Section 8) by awarding him a negotiating tool called Trade Promotion Authority. Formerly called Fast Track Authority, this tool has been implemented to pass bad trade policy like NAFTA. It gives all negotiating power to the executive branch, limits the amount of time that the House and Senate can debate the trade agreement and restricts Congress from making any amendments on the TPP or any other free trade agreement that would be considered during the next five years it is in effect. Quite simply the trade agreement becomes a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

So, what is exactly contained in this “free trade agreement” that President Obama hailed in his State of the Union address? That’s a great question. It’s impossible to give a straight answer because the draft text which consist of over 450 pages and 29 chapters has been heavily guarded from the public as well as our Congress members! grayson Representative Alan Grayson was granted time to review the draft after months of requests. Not allowed to take notes or photos, and having had to swear that he would not divulge actual details, he emerged saying,

“Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty, and I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. It’s all about tying the hands of democratically elected governments, and shunting authority over to the nonelected for the benefit of multinational corporations. It’s an assault on democratic government.”

warren tpp

From leaked texts we know that only 5 of the 29 chapters actually deal with trade. The balance of the chapters basically gives multinational corporations carte blanche to do what they want, where they want, when they want. No local, state or national regulations will be safe from scrutiny or prosecution by big business if they deem the laws to prohibit future potential profits. A provision called “Investor State Dispute Settlement” will allow corporations to actually sue government agencies for healthy, safety or environmental protections that they feel will impede future earnings. The United States has already paid out over $350 million to foreign investors due to bans on toxic substances, land use rules and timber policies, and we continue to face another $12 billion more in claims thanks to NAFTA.

What does this mean for you?

  • Loss of jobs and lower wages, greater income inequality.
  • Health and safety laws will be attacked resulting in dangerous working conditions.
  • Imported food that does not meet our US safety guidelines.
  • Labeling of foods NOT ALLOWED.
  • Continued deregulation of financial markets that could lead to another financial meltdown.
  • No “Buy American” or “Buy Local” campaigns used to rebuild our economy.
  • Increased medical patents resulting in higher price medicines and surgeries.
  • Your internet freedom undermined by severe copyright laws.
  • The quality of our water, earth and air severely compromised by the destruction of environmental protections.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! At this point you may be scratching your head and wondering why would Obama and other Congress members be pushing something that will put the nail in the coffin of our dying economy? bribeFollow the money! Cui bono? Who benefits?

The TPP replicates the worst of past damaging trade deals on offshoring and more, but it goes further, championing outrageous new corporate-favored terms that benefit the multinational corporations to the detriment of the residents of participating nations. The continued push for Fast Track now known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to further the advancement of fake free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and its kissing cousin following on its tail, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is proof positive that we are living in an oligarchy where the 1/10 of the 1% hold all the power.

Folks, if you are a small business owner, you need to be involved in stopping these deals. The deals are for the benefit of BIG BUSINESSES alone – the huge transnational corporations – not for small businesses at all. If you are a working professional, you need to be worried. This time it’s not manufacturing that is going to get hit, it’s white collar professionals. The Asian rim has been preparing for this and educating their cheap workforce to take your jobs. If you are retired, you need to be concerned as these provisions will severely impact your Medicare as well as your quality of life. In short, WE ARE ALL AFFECTED!!! So we all need to be involved in stopping this huge give away to the fascists that are running the globalization of our planet.

What can YOU do?

tpp protestThe concern over the dangers associated with Fast Track and the secretive trade agreements is shared by those on the right and left side of the aisle. During the fall of 2013 Democrats and Republican Congress members wrote letters telling President Obama they would not support Fast Track Authority. The new Trade Promotion Authority bill will be released next week and hit the floor of Congress in March. We need to take action NOW!

tpp protest 2Call your US Representative and US Senator and tell them that you want them to vote NO on Fast Track aka Trade Promotion Authority. Tell them you want them to their job which is to negotiate FAIR trade for our country. Tell them we want them to take their time going through the proposed “free trade agreements” and that they need to be able to amend the deal if it is necessary to do so to protect our rights and democratic process. Congressional Switchboard is 202-224-3121.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.