David Cay Johnston – The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens our liberty

February 5, 2016

Economic theory holds that removing trade barriers among nations should increase global wealth. But the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that Congress must soon give a straight up-or-down vote threatens our liberties as Americans and is likely to add almost nothing to U.S. economic growth. I have been a longtime critic of the agreement, especially since WikiLeaks obtained a draft of its intellectual property provisions, showed a clear bias in favor of corporations. Since Washington made the text public in October I have come to see some very real benefits in the agreement — but not nearly enough to warrant making it the law of the land. What I see now is a pact that would make government subservient to corporations, posing a real threat to freedom and self-governance. Read

Infectious Myth – Variety of Media Issues with David Christopher – 01.26.16

January 26, 2016

In Episode 86, David Crowe interviews David Christopher of OpenMedia.ca about a variety of media issues, including net neutrality, government warrantless eavesdropping on everyone’s communications, media ownership concentration, and how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will negatively affect internet users. OpenMedia.ca is similar to the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) in the United States, and many of the issues are similar. Since the interview is relatively short, and David (Crowe) didn’t manage to get into the important media issue of freedom of speech, on the internet, or elsewhere, he continues by discussing it. The backlash against a white human rights journalist who photoshopped her face into different races and cultured. The irony of jargon of people who claim to be excluded actually excluding others from participating in discussions. Why the “Je suis Charlie Hebdou” activists are very selective about what kind of speech they rally to protect. Finally, David addresses some environmental issues: Are tens of thousands of coal jobs more important than neurological coal pollutants? Can milk contaminated with pesticides cause Parkinson’s? What’s happening with the water in Flint, Michigan? The resources David references can be found at: http://theinfectiousmyth.com/PRN-TIM/86.php

Derrick Broze – TPP Trade Deal Will Cost US 448,000 Jobs, Say Researchers

January 25, 2016

One of the major purported selling points for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a supposed increase in new jobs as a result of the controversial trade deal. The deal involves 12 nations, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia and more. However, two recent economic reports have contradicted the claims that jobs will increase. They have shown that, more than likely, the deal will lead to a loss of jobs. First there was a World Bank report that predicted that TPP would produce negligible boosts to the economies of the U.S., Australia, and Canada. TechDirt writes: So according to the World Bank’s figures, the U.S. will gain an extra 0.04% GDP per year on average, as a result of TPP; Australia an extra 0.07% annually, and Canada a boost of 0.12% per year. Read

Ian Gustafson – Bleak Prospects For Latin America Under Trans-Pacific Partnership – Analysis

January 11, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, agreed to on October 5, 2015 by the twelve participating countries, is likely to prove disastrous for the Latin American states—Chile, Mexico, and Perú—that have joined the pact up to now. Multinational economic interests based in the United States have exerted extraordinary influence over the accord, inserting language that will arguably serve to damage Latin American interests. Though the TPP has often been presented as a disinterested effort to stimulate basic economic growth and development in the Pacific Rim, the economic principles that underlay the TPP may instead serve to advance the interests of the world’s leading corporations. U.S. President Barack Obama promised in a statement that the TPP would slash over 18,000 foreign taxes that the U.S. faces for its exports.[1] Despite being heralded as a path to prosperity for developing countries, eliminating protectionist measures in countries like Chile, Perú, and Mexico could prove to be very harmful. The great nineteenth century German economist Friedrich List argued that developed countries calling for expanded free trade in less developed countries is hypocritical as well as misleading. As List put it, “it is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he

Jon Kofas – Review Of Global Trends In 2015 And Prospects For 2016

December 30, 2015

Introduction Top events in 2015 that shaped the world and are very likely to continue doing so include the economic slowdown not just in China and India, but in most of the world outside the US. Globalization under the neoliberal model of development continued to devastate the middle class in 2015 as it has in the last three decades, especially in countries where monetarist austerity combined with neoliberal policies took effect. Combined with a fiscal structure that favors corporations and the wealthy, monetarism and neoliberal policies had the effect on a world scale of slowing consumption spending owing to downward pressure on wages, forcing some governments to increase capital spending, especially in the defense sector, to stimulate growth. Capital goods spending trend will continue in 2016 in a number of developed countries trying to keep GDP growth steady against pressures of a declining world GDP in 2016. At the same time, because of monetarism (austerity) and economic stagnation in less advanced countries, the transfer of capital from the less advanced countries will continue toward the G-7, especially US, China, and Germany. Sociopolitical volatility as a result of downward socioeconomic mobilization in much of the world will entail more uprisings than

Pepe Escobar – Empire of Chaos preparing for more fireworks in 2016

December 28, 2015

In his seminal ‘Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization,’ Bryan Ward-Perkins writes, “Romans before the fall were as certain as we are today that their world would continue forever… They were wrong. We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.” The Empire of Chaos, today, is not about complacency. It’s about hubris – and fear. Ever since the start of the Cold War the crucial question has been who would control the great trading networks of Eurasia – or the “heartland”, according to Sir Halford John Mackinder (1861–1947), the father of geopolitics. We could say that for the Empire of Chaos, the game really started with the CIA-backed coup in Iran in 1953, when the US finally encountered, face to face, that famed Eurasia crisscrossed for centuries by the Silk Road(s), and set out to conquer them all. Read

John Kiriakou – Saudi Arabia and the UN’s Human Rights Scandal

December 14, 2015

audi Arabia has completed its first three months as Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council. If anything exemplifies the irrelevance of the United Nations and the body’s seeming inability to put its collective foot down on human rights abuses around the world, it is having Saudi Arabia as the leader of the UN body that is supposed to protect those human rights around the world. You remember Saudi Arabia. It’s the country in the Middle East with which the United States has had a “special relationship” since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. It’s the country from which the U.S. buys 17 percent of its oil. It’s the country that intervened in May in Yemen’s civil war and has killed about 650 civilians per month ever since, all in the name of “combating Iran.” It’s the country that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from. It’s also a country that has an absolutely dismal record of human rights abuses. Read

Kevin Dennehy – 40% worldwide are unaware of climate change

December 14, 2015

A poll conducted in 119 countries reveals the factors that most influence climate change awareness and risk perception for 90 percent of the world’s population. The contrast between developed and developing countries is striking, note the researchers: In North America, Europe, and Japan, more than 90 percent of the public is aware of climate change. But in many developing countries, relatively few are aware of the issue, although many do report having observed changes in local weather patterns. The study, which uses data from the 2007-2008 Gallup World Poll, will appear today in Nature Climate Change. Read

Expanding Mind – Our Robots, Ourselves – 12.10.15

December 10, 2015

A talk with historian and engineer David Mindell about drones, social robots, agency, and his enlightening new book Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy. https://esd.mit.edu/Faculty_Pages/mindell/mindell.htm
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