who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Ten Reasons Why the TPP
Must Be Defeated
2. Are Corporate-Friendly Trade
Deals Top New Year
Priority for White House?
3. American Socrates
Carlin interview (one of the last)
This is a Nederlog of
Thursday, January 1, 2015. This is the first ordinary file of 2015, but
there is an Updates for the new year
from arlier today that
gives some numbers for 2014.
This is a crisis file, and there are 4 items with 4 dotted
links: Item 1 is by Bernie Sanders, and explains
why the TPP is very bad; item 2 is by Jon Queally
and is about Obama's strong support for the TPP, and also about
Sanders' article in item 1; item 3 is by Chris
Hedges about Noam Chomsky; and item 4 is not an
article but three connected interviews (each or around 10 minutes) with
George Carlin, that must be one of the last interviews Carlin gave.
I hope and think that most things I installed for the new year work,
and if not, this will be sorted out tomorrow.
Reasons Why the TPP Must Be Defeated
The first item today - and of the new year,
in an ordinary file - is an article by Senator Bernie Sanders that I
found on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the
interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of
workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American
democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in
The TPP is a treaty that
has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world.
Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major
media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the
American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked
out of the process. Further, all Americans, regardless of political
ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would
deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their
The TPP follows in the
footsteps of other unfettered "free trade" agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA
and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These
treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and
low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses
in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of
factories. These corporately backed trade agreements have significantly
contributed to the race to the bottom, the collapse of the American
middle class and increased wealth and income inequality. The TPP is
more of the same, but even worse.
Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It
is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large
corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker
rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and
financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in
international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was
such a good deal for America, the administration should have the
courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal,
instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.
Yes, indeed - and I
to say that I ended last year's ordinary files with an
end of the year statement by
Sanders, which indeed I liked, except that I thought it was rather
optimistic, and that Sanders also should also have rejected the various
trade agreements (for the TPP is one of several, and all are awful).
Well... he did, the next day, and this is the article, and it is good.
There is considerably
more there, under ten headings, which I recommend you to read. Here I
just give the headings, but all have explanatory texts:
10 Ways that TPP Would
Hurt Working Families
1. TPP will allow
corporations to outsource even more jobs overseas.
sovereignty will be undermined by giving corporations the right to
challenge our laws before international tribunals.
benefits, and collective bargaining will be threatened.
4. Our ability to
protect the environment will be undermined.
5. Food Safety
Standards will be threatened.
6. Buy America
laws could come to an end.
drug prices will increase, access to life saving drugs will decrease,
and the profits of drug companies will go up.
8. Wall Street
would benefit at the expense of everyone else.
9. The TPP would
reward authoritarian regimes like Vietnam that systematically violate
10. The TPP has
no expiration date, making it virtually impossible to repeal.
Yes, indeed - and
mind that the "international tribunals" of point 2 are not
2. Are Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals Top New
Year Priority for White House?
The second item today is an article by Jon
Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There is rather a lot
more under the last dotted link, and indeed the article of Bernie
Sanders I started with is both mentioned and quoted. This also is a
good article, that I recommend you read.
It's not yet the new
year, but the Obama administration appears to be preparing an all-out
effort to push through the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) trade agreement in 2015 despite the widespread concerns among his
Democratic base, the unified opposition of hundreds of progressive
organizations, and vocal warnings from individual lawmakers.
To its critics—along with
a similar deal now being secretly negotiated with European nations
known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the
TPP represents an anti-democratic and regressive set of economic and
regulatory policies, many of which have little to do with trade and
much more with consolidating corporate power across international
Led by U.S. Trade
Representative Michael Froman, the White House push to gain support for
the TTP—which would lower trade barriers and codify reams of
corporate-friendly rules between the U.S. and twelve Pacific rim
nations—will likely be a top policy priority in the months ahead.
Though administration efforts in 2014 to gain executive "trade
promotion authority" (aka "fast track") failed in Congress, the White
House seems hopeful that a new Republican-controlled Congress will be
more willing to give away their right to review or amend the content of
the deal before it receives a single up-or-down vote.
third item today is
an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This is about Noam
Chomsky and starts as follows:
whom I interviewed last Thursday at his office at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, has influenced intellectuals in the United
States and abroad in incalculable ways. His explications of empire,
mass propaganda, the hypocrisy and pliability of the liberal class and
the failings of academics, as well as the way language is used as a
mask by the power elite to prevent us from seeing reality, make him the
most important intellectual in the country. The force of his intellect,
which is combined with a ferocious independence, terrifies the
corporate state—which is why the commercial media and much of the
academic establishment treat him as a pariah. He is the
Socrates of our time.
I think the name -
"American Socrates" - is deserved, not so much because in 2500
years time (if there is so much time, with a - then - thriving human
species) Chomsky will be as well-known then as Socrates is now, but
especially because has been treated like a pariah, while most of his
criticisms were quite justified, and usually much better founded than
4. George Carlin interview (one of the last)
and last item today
is not an article but a video (in fact: three videos, linked together)
of one of the last interviews George Carlin gave:
I think this is from
2008 (the year Carlin died) and while it does not provide any really
new ideas, Carlin does explain - among other things - why he does not
vote, and why he has given up on the United States and on his species,
and does so in a bit more detail than I've heard him before.