Educate yourself about the TPP with Bill Moyers, Yves Smith, and Dean Baker

If enacted, these laws will be an end-run around existing laws and institutions created to protect us.  Their goal is to continue the transfer of our rights as citizens to transnational corporations, eliminating regulations and “opening markets.”  As they simultaneously oppress and steal from us, they will have removed all legal mechanisms for us to fight back.  It is an obvious threat to activism of any kind and a major worldwide threat to all working people and our environment.

The TPP/TTIP are essentially neoliberalism enshrined in trade law.  The laws will be used to extract wealth, consolidate corporate power, and quell dissent. The agreement has been described as “NAFTA on steroids.” Consider how much damage has been done to our country – and others – by massive corporations and financial institutions who used NAFTA to rip good jobs out of our hands, only to give them to unprotected workers in other countries, where the corporations polluted and exploited with impunity. Then the manufactured crisis of 2007-08 was unleashed on us by the same people. They have stuck the knife in, they have turned it, and now they want to finish us off and put the final nail in the coffin of anything resembling freedom or democracy.

When the global corporate elite control everything, the only thing left will be for us to consume, produce and obey.  If we have been marginalized to such an extent that we are unnecessary to that system, then the system has no place for us and asks that we not be seen, or preferably die quietly.  We aren’t far off from this now.  Millions suffering in poverty, a rapidly dwindling middle-class, the rich reaching new heights of wealth every day. They have bought the political system, they have instituted mass surveillance, militarized police forces, corporate control of almost every aspect of our lives…and that is not enough for those who constantly want more.

People who are still paying the bills, have retirement, can buy a few high tech consumer goods, help their kids out every month, maybe take a vacation now and then, somehow think they’re immune. If they think about the reality of our situation as a country (and as a world) they may despair or shrug and think, same as it ever was…but it’s not.  Things have changed. We have never had a global elite like this in the history of the world. Collectively, they have and control more wealth and power than has ever existed in history.  They cross borders with impunity, have no allegiance to any state, play entire countries off of each other, raid pension funds and government treasuries…the list is seemingly endless.  They write the laws and they make the rules.  If they can’t “outsource” your job, they are trying to replace every worker they can with a machine – and not just blue collar workers…

Even if TPP is never enacted, a variation will be – or a thousand variations, stuck into laws and trade agreements around the world.  NAFTA has had a massive impact on all of us. As clinton fast-tracked it and pressed for China’s entry into the WTO, most of us chose not to listen to the people who were trying to warn us about it.  Now, the TPP promises to be a thousand times worse. Intellectual property rights enabled pharmaceutical companies to keep poor people in need from getting access to generic drugs (and many middle-class americans), they helped monsanto make criminals of millions of farmers. Now it seems Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), an aspect of existing trade agreements under the WTO, are a major focus of the TPP. Not only will they criminalize even more of the world, they will use TRIPS to clamp down on the internet and all of its users. They believe they can succeed where SOPA and PIPA failed.

Of course, the earth, our environment, is front and center in most big trade agreements written by corporations.   When a transnational corporation sees an opportunity for exploitation in a particular country, say oil drilling, but a government (and more importantly, it’s citizens) doesn’t want it to happen, that would be considered, in trade-speak, a “barrier to trade.”  We don’t know the details because all of these trade negotiations are taking place in private, but leaks from preliminary documents indicate they want to get paid – with our tax dollars – on the projected income losses from not being able to exploit a resource.  The logic is twisted and perverse.  It is the logic of capitalism.  So, not only do they want to more “efficiently” exploit more of the earth with impunity by “opening markets,” it appears they also want to be paid – by us – for doing nothing.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves and have a sense of urgency.  Whatever your situation is today, it is not static. There are dynamic changes happening and the corporations writing the TPP in secret are at the vanguard of those changes. The only true way to fight this is to realize it is part of the same neoliberal agenda that corporations and venal politicians are using to privatize education, water, steal money out of our pockets through the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) “economy,” make war, sell weapons, and displace huge populations around the world.

Many people are beginning to see the same policies enacted in different countries with the same wealthy elite benefiting and the same working people paying the price – just talk to anyone in Britain…

So, first we need to learn about what is happening and realize its profound impact.  Then we need to organize to fight a capitalism that is using neoliberal strategies to oppress and exploit the planet – and all but a few of its inhabitants.  Not only do we need to organize world wide, but we need to have a vision of what we want. I suggest we create a way of life that puts people before profits.  No time like the present…

This is how I’m remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

There is a lot of humanity and intelligence here.  This discussion gives some insight into the well from which he drew.  I could quibble with some things that were said by both of them, but the important thing is just to take a moment to acknowledge a talented human who felt deeply, was thoughtful, and created – despite the impediments many of us face.

Rick Roderick – Fatal Strategies

So, I could get into detailing all of things i disagree with, but RR is just sort of great unto himself – and who doesn’t love listening to an academic with a strong southern accent discuss Baudrillard.  Of course, enduring questions will always be relevant – and unfortunately, questions of virtual reality and the real will be relevant long after we are dead and gone… For those lit crit masochists out there, this is probably around twenty years old, so it’s like a little theory and america time capsule. You can see RR struggling with the definition of the – or The – Post-modern…There is a lot of overreach here, but with perspective it’s easy to pick out questions and subjects for further discussion.

So, have at it. It’s a fun ride (if you’re into this kind of thing…).

Waiting for…

This clip is from Waiting for Beckett. It is the only place I can find any of the Steve Martin, Robin Williams production.  You will find it between 4:06 and 10:40, but do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing.  Not insignificantly, it was directed by Mike Nichols and also featured Bill Irwin, F. Murry Abraham, and Lukas Haas.  I – and it seems many others – would love to see the whole thing someday, but it is nowhere to be found.

Williams and Martin appear to nail the comedy in Beckett.  I get the feeling Williams could play every character brilliantly (though I don’t like his improv in the scene – so wrong on so many levels).  Aside from the criticism (“Critic!”), their attempt at playing Beckett is intriguing to say the least.

Aha! I just found this:

http://www.anecdotage.com/articles/106409/robin-williams-improvising-shakespeare

It seems the pre-Godot Robin Williams agreed with me about improvising on Beckett’s text.

Here is part I of the documentary, Waiting for Beckett.  Just play the youtube wild goose chase after that to find the other parts.  It is excellent – well worth suffering through the poor quality of the copy.

Educate yourself about the TPP with Bill Moyers, Yves Smith, and Dean Baker

This is an end-run around left and/or liberal activism and a major threat to all working people around the world. The TPP will be used to extract wealth, consolidate corporate power, and quell dissent in the most wicked, nefarious, and brutal ways possible. The agreement has been described as “NAFTA on steroids.” Consider how much damage has been done to our country – and others – by massive corporations and financial institutions who used NAFTA to rip good jobs out from under us, only to give them to unprotected workers in other countries, where the corporations polluted and exploited with impunity. Then the manufactured crisis of 2007-08 was unleashed on us by the same people. They have stuck the knife in, they have turned it, and now they want to finish us off and put the final nail in the coffin of anything resembling freedom or democracy.

The myth of the american dream has become superfluous to our global corporate elite. It is simply no longer necessary for them to continue the lies. When the myths are gone and they have crushed the last dreams, the only thing left will be for us to consume and obey. Look around. We aren’t far off. Millions suffering in poverty, a rapidly dwindling middle-class, the rich reaching new heights of wealth every day. They have bought the political system, they have instituted mass surveillance, militarized police forces, there is corporate control of every aspect of our lives…and this is not enough for those who constantly want more.

People who are still paying the bills, have retirement, and can buy a few high tech consumer goods, help their kids out every month, maybe take a vacation now and then, somehow think they’re immune. If they think about the reality of our situation as a country (and as a world) they may despair or shrug and think, same as it ever was…but it’s not. Things have changed. We have never had a global elite like this in the history of the world. They cross borders with impunity, have no allegiance to any state, play entire countries off of each other, raid pension funds and government treasuries, they write the laws and make the rules and the only use they have for us is as labor to exploit – and maybe as consumers (if they actually produce anything).

Even if TPP is never enacted, a variation will be – or a thousand variations, stuck into laws and trade agreements around the world. NAFTA has had a massive impact on all of us. Most of us chose not to listen to the people who warned us about it as Clinton fast-tracked it and pressed for China’s entry into the WTO. Now, the TPP promises to be a thousand times worse. Intellectual property rights enabled pharmaceutical companies to keep poor people in need from getting access to generic drugs, they helped monsanto make criminals of millions of farmers. Now it seems Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), an aspect of existing trade agreements under the WTO, are a major focus of the TPP. Not only will they criminalize even more of the world, they will use TRIPS to clamp down on the internet and all of its users. They believe they can succeed where SOPA and PIPA failed.

Of course the earth, our environment, is front and center in most big trade agreements written by corporations. Not only do they want to more efficiently exploit more of the earth with impunity, they want to rig the system to pay them – with our tax dollars – when they see an opportunity for exploitation, say oil drilling, but a country (and it’s citizens) doesn’t want it to happen.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves and have a sense of urgency. Whatever your situation is today, it is not static. There are dynamic changes happening and the people writing the TPP in secret are at the vanguard of those changes. The only true way to fight this is to realize it is part of the same neoliberal agenda that corporations and venal politicians are using to privatize education, steal money out of our pockets through the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) “economy,” make war, sell weapons, and displace huge populations around the world.

Many people are beginning to see the same policies enacted in different countries with the same wealthy elite benefiting and the same working people paying the price. So, first we need to realize what is happening, then we need to organize to fight it. Not only do we need to organize world wide, but we need to have a vision of what we want. I suggest we create a way of life that puts people before profits. No time like the present…