Predatory lenders “work to bankrupt the countries that received those loans so that they would be forever beholden to their creditors, and so they would be easy targets when we needed favors, including military bases, UN votes, or access to oil and other natural resources.” – John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” I’ve been on the side of underdogs ever since I heard the biblical story about little David and the giant Goliath. My support for underdogs was strengthened during my childhood when I found myself always cheering for whichever baseball team was playing against the powerful New York Yankees in the World Series (usually the Dodgers) during the era when the Yankees dominated major league baseball. And when I first read Lord Acton’s famous aphorism, something resonated with me. Acton said: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” To me the saying wasn’t just about brutes, bullies, dictators, the “divine right of kings”, drill sergeants, tyrannical politicians or fascist militaries. To me, Acton was talking about every kind of dominative power one could think of (as opposed to the non-dominative power of love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion), which would include economic, corporate, racial, religious, and sexual powers
It’s Friday morning and it seem certain that fast track will pass later today. The hype is that the vote is too close to call but that seems only to be hype. NAFTA was a squeaker. It’s hard to believe that this will be a one-vote squeaker. The Congressional passage of fast track for the TPP will announce to the world that the US is a corporatocracy, although many, like John Perkins, have known this for decades. Living under a Corporatocracy What will it be like living in a corporatocracy? Initially not much different except health safeguards, inexpensive medicines, clean water at reasonable prices, GM food, labeling ingredient laws, cigarette labelling warnings, and requirements for less pollution will slowly be overturned. Slowly but surely towns, cities and states will be unable to pay for the lost profits of the corporations violating local restrictions and so, to avoid bankruptcy, will be forced to capitulate. This will be the new face of big business in our country: a face that many already see but now it will be the de jure law of the land. Whatever a corporation wants—as long as it does not explicitly require the deaths of human beings—the corporations
The precise date for election in Venezuela is not defined as yet. Probably Venezuelans will go to vote in October – November. President Nicolas Maduro said he wanted an election as soon as possible. The pre-race campaign hits the radar. It could be said without exaggeration that the fate of Venezuelan – style socialism, the goal of Bolivarian movement, is at stake. According to the results of 2010 National Assembly election, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Spanish: Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV) got 96 seats with three seats going to the Communist Party and 6 to Fatherland for All (Patria Para Todos, PPT) and PODEMOS (literally meaning ‘We can’, an abbreviation of Por la Democracia Social, Spanish, meaning ‘For Social Democracy’). The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (Spanish: Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD), a catch-all electoral coalition of Venezuelan centrist, centre-left, left-wing and some centre-right political parties, gained 65 seats. The correlation of forces allows President Nicolas Maduro to get the laws approved by parliament without expecting any serious obstruction from the right-wing opposition. Will the United Socialist Party of Venezuela maintain its position in the National Assembly after the 2015 election? It’s hard to be optimistic.
Researchers report that as the world population increases and food demand has grown, globalization of trade has made the food supply more sensitive to environmental and market fluctuations. This leads to greater chances of food crises, particularly in nations where land and water resources are scarce and therefore food security strongly relies on imports. The study assesses the food supply available to more than 140 nations (with populations greater than 1 million) and demonstrates that food security is becoming increasingly susceptible to perturbations in demographic growth, as humanity places increasing pressure on use of limited land and water resources. “In the past few decades there has been an intensification of international food trade and an increase in the number of countries that depend on food imports,” said Paolo D’Odorico, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and one of the study’s authors. “On average, about one-fourth of the food we eat is available to us through international trade. This globalization of food may contribute to the spread of the effects of local shocks in food production throughout the world.” D’Odorico’s paper is published this week in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Food security, D’Odorico said,