Posts Tagged ‘trump’

From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation

by Finbarr Livesey

Profile Books Ltd (2016)

Book Review

In From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation, Finbarr Livesey challenges the common neoliberal claim that globalization is the be-all and end-all of global prosperity.

Livesey’s premise, which he supports with an impressive array of data, is that globalization peaked shortly after 2008 and the world economy is in a period of deglobalization. World trade is slowly declining as a percentage of GDP, and many companies who moved factories to the third world are improving their bottom line by reshoring them to the US and Europe.

Livesey contends that, to a large extent, last year’s vote for Britain to leave the EU and for a US president who promised to withdraw from the TPP and bring back American jobs, merely reflect an economic trend that began nearly a decade ago.

The present deglobalization was triggered by the 2008 financial crash that sucked trillions of dollars out of the global economy. However, Livesey identifies a number of other factors that influence this trend – chief among them the volatility of oil prices and shipping costs (containers must be booked months in advance) and the growing cost of labor in China and neighboring countries. At the same time, technological advances, including 3D printing and “additive manufacturing,” have led to an upsurge in “on demand” industries and consumer frustration with being limited to millions of identical mass produced items.

At present many companies find it more profitable to shorten their supply chain by producing most or all component parts locally or regionally. Between 2010 and 2015, over 1300 companies brought production back to the US. Even Apple and Google have started to reshore significant manufacturing operations.

At present three-fourths of everything bought in the US is made in the US.

Originally published in Dissident Voice

New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio

 

By Max DeHaldevang

Quartz Media

US president Donald Trump turning his back on the Paris climate agreement would send a terrible signal about the country’s commitment to staving off an environmental catastrophe—the US alone is responsible for 15% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

But there’s at least some hope: millions of Americans will stay committed to the agreement no matter what Trump does. How? Through their cities.

Eyeing Trump’s repeated threats about leaving the Paris accords, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti last November rallied 71 US mayors, whose cities are home to tens of millions of people, to sign an open letter calling on the then-president-elect to stay in the agreement. Garcetti didn’t mince his words in an interview with Quartz in January, saying: “If we were to withdraw…from the Paris accords, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do: we’re going to adopt it locally.”

New York mayor Bill de Blasio affirmed the message today, amid the most serious speculation to date that Trump will trigger an exit from the agreement.

The six largest cities in America, the mayors of which each signed Garcetti’s letter, are home to about 21 million people just by themselves. Add to that the 40 million people in the state of California—where governor Jerry Brown has promised (paywall) to “take significant action” if the US abandons the Paris agreement—and Trump’s potential action at the federal level is significantly undermined.

America’s urban areas are home to more than 80% of the country’s population. As social scientist and visionary political theorist Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World, told Quartz in a Q&A last year, “About 80% of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities and cities also control about 80% of GDP. They can do a lot to combat climate change, whether or not Trump undermines the COP21 agreement.”

Barber, who died of cancer in April, days after his last book Cool Cities: Urban Sovereignty and the Fix for Global Warming was published, also argued that cities’ power extends far beyond complying with the Paris agreement.

That’s shown by a host of initiatives US mayors are taking to cut carbon emissions locally. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, for example, claims he can cut emissions by 25 percentage points in his city by picking off “low-hanging fruit” like retrofits on wasteful buildings and incentives to businesses to cut energy use. “To take action in the city of Atlanta, the center of the ninth-largest metro in the country…it takes my decision and eight votes from [the city] council,” he said in an interview last year. “In my opinion, that’s very efficient.”

It isn’t just altruism that compels the nation’s cities to take action. With solar panels becoming cheaper than fossil fuels in 2016, it’s making less and less economic sense to shy away from alternative energy sources. “Even if you didn’t believe in climate change, [green energy] is a pure driver of economic activity,” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said in December. “The city is never going back from this.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hidden History of the United States

John Judge (1994)

 

What I find most remarkable about this 23 year old presentation by late assassination researcher John Judge is its amazing grasp of facts and concepts that have only become public knowledge with wide popular access to the World Wide Web and social media.

John begins his presentation with the assertion that secret assassinations and other conspiracies aren’t the handiwork of secret societies and cabals, but of America’s wealthy elite. He maintains the US elite is split into two factions that frequently go to war with each other via the intelligence agencies they control. The CIA is run by the old Eastern banking families, whereas military intelligence is run by the new money Southern rim economy, consisting mainly of oil, aerospace, munitions and real estate.*

Among other topics John covers in this marathon three hour presentation are

  • The CIA-run international drug trade, which he describes as the most profitable industry in the world.
  • UFOs, which he maintains are secret spy satellites operated by Air Force intelligence.
  • George Orwell’s book 1984, originally titled 1948 (as it describes government monitoring of civilian populations that was already occurring). His American (CIA-controlled) publisher forced him to change the title to 1984 when the book came out in the US (1949).
  • MK-Ultra and other CIA mind control operations – John begins by describes by describing his childhood (both his parents worked for the Pentagon) growing up in a CIA bedroom community in Virginia and the heavy use of lobotomy and ECT on many CIA wives, including the World War II intelligence operative who cracked the Eastwood Code (the encoded message forewarning the US government of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. John also talks about CIA director Allen Dulles’s purchase of 150 million tabs of LSD in 1956 – a massive quantity that was clearly intended for mass consumption rather than research (see How the CIA Used LSD to Destroy the New Left).
  • The role of Richard Nixon and CD Jackson** (as naval intelligence operatives) in smuggling thousands of Nazi war criminals and scientists into the US to form the CIA and the US aerospace program”
  • Evidence (eg missing nuclear code books from all Strategic Air Command bombers) indicating that JFK’s murder was a coup authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the failed assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981 was an attempted coup.
  • Evidence linking notorious cult figures linking notorious cult figures – Charles Manson, Jim Jones (Jonestown), David Koresh (Waco) and others to US intelligence.

In Part 2, which launches automatically at the end of Part 1, John discusses his research into Jonestown, which he describes as a secret US intelligence concentration camp and slave colony, (which was 90% African American), and his work with his mentor, the late Mae Brussell (see Mae Brussell: Forgotten Superhero). Brussell, who subscribed regularly to 150 publications, had identified key figures in the shadow government and followed their movements closely. Based information she garnered, she gave Ethel Kennedy (in 1968) five days about her husband Robert’s imminent assassination and Mary Jane Kopechne’s mother (in 1969) three days warning of her daughter’s murder.


*Although he hails from New York, Donald Trump is most closely linked with “Southern rim” real estate interests, which would explain the current war the CIA and the CIA-controlled media are waging against him.

**CD Jackson was a psychological warfare specialist who played a major role in creating Radio Free America and Radio Free Europe and Operation Mockingbird (the operation enabling CIA control of America’s major publishing and media outlets). In 1960 he became publisher of Life magazine.

***Kopechne allegedly drowned while a passenger in Senator Ted Kennedy’s car, this Chappaquiddick incident purportedly used by his enemies to destroy his presidential ambitions.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a 1990 movie based on feminist Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel. Sales of The Handmaid’s Tale have recently skyrocketed, largely owing to the extreme Christian fundamentalists in Trump’s new cabinet, his advocacy for military and police expansion and torture and his attacks on women’s rights.

The plot focuses around a military theocracy during a future period in which most have become infertile through toxic chemical exposure. All women are stripped of their rights and all fertile women are enslaved and forced to produce babies for infertile elite couples of the ruling elite.

In addition to the presence of heavily armed military on every street corner, social control is maintained through a perverted fundamentalist Christian doctrine that sanctions slavery and ceremonial rape. Although the lower classes are forced into strict religious conformity, the elite rulers willfully ignore it as they pursue a life of clandestine debauchery.

Last year the film was remade into a 10-part TV series that premiers in April.

Hulu Handmaids Tale Teaser Trailer

Lies Wars and Empire

By Michael Parenti (2007)

In this presentation, Michael Parenti focuses on the science of media manipulation and mass indoctrination. He makes his most important point at the end: mass indoctrination never works perfectly. Spontaneous skepticism tends to be a natural outcome of a steady diet of media propaganda. I suspect this healthy skepticism is a major reason why Trump’s attacks on the corporate media have been so popular – and why counterattacks by US intelligence and the mainstream media have been so savage.

Trump is the highest profile politician to ever publicly challenge the official version of 9-11, the job-killing effects of free trade treaties such as TPP and NAFTA, the threats to democratic process posed by investing power in a private central bank (the Federal Reserve) and the long term safety of America’s multiple vaccination regime in children.

Parenti begins with an explanation why, in most cases, peoples’ beliefs are totally impervious to facts. He reminds us that our perceptions are shaped by a number of factors beyond our control, particularly income, status, background assumptions and disinformation.

He maintains that what passes for objectivity in the mainstream media is really conformity of bias – nearly always in favor of corporate capitalism and the status quo. Owing to this emphasis on conformity, expressing a dissenting viewpoint viewed as a radical activity, mainly because it helps expose and expands the boundaries of permissible debate. Because the corporate media only allows an extremely narrow range of debate, you will never see a open discussion of evidence implicating the government in 9-11 or  the JFK, Robert Kennedy or Martin Luther King assassinations.

This lecture examines numerous world events deliberately censored or distorted by the corporate media:

  • The war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic (who died under suspicious circumstances in prison in 2006).
  • The stolen 2004 election (in which election fraud in Ohio, New Mexico, Florida and Arizona wrongly awarded the electoral vote to Bush).*
  • The repeated claim that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 – the Afghan government requested assistance from the Soviets to restore order in the face of a major CIA destablization campaign.
  • Saddam Hussein’s 40-year role as a CIA asset in the coup overthrowing Iraqi prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim and declaring war on Iran.

*See Stolen Elections

The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Michael Parenti (2012)

Film Review

In this presentation, Michael Parenti discusses the fraudulent history we are taught about the late Roman Republic. In particular, he focuses on the popular resistance movement that led to the rise of the Populares in the Roman senate in the second century BC. The revolt of the Roman proletariat was largely a reaction to the privatization of Rome’s collective agricultural lands as latifundia (plantations owned by Roman aristocrats). Historically there was no private land ownership in Rome until thugs hired by aristocrats drove the peasants off their land around 200 BC.

Parenti starts by demolishing the myth promulgated by mainstream historians that Rome was a republic. The Roman senate was a self-appointed oligarchy. For the most part Roman senators paid no taxes though. Instead they loaned money at interest to the Roman government (sound familiar?). The lower classes, in contrast, were heavily taxed.

The first great Populares to serve as consul was Tiberius Gracchus in 133 BC. He and his brother Gaius, who succeeded him, fought for land reform to break up the latifundia and redistribute them to the landless. Despite their aristocratic background, all the Populares consuls challenged a Roman economic system that was rigged in favor of the elites All were assassinated by aristocratic death squads.

Julius Caesar would be the last Populares consul, and he, too, would be assassinated in 44 BC. Among the reforms he enacted were

  • Lowering interest and fines on debts
  • Building exceptional public libraries to be used by all Roman citizens
  • Guaranteeing freedom of religion to Roman Jews
  • Ending the practice of forcing people with unpaid debts into slavery
  • Introducing a democratic constitution
  • Creating state jobs in Rome and the colonies for the unemployed
  • Ending Cicero’s* witch hunts and extrajudicial executions

The aristocrats in the senate, who detested Caesar because he threatened their wealth and privilege, responded by labeling him a brutal tyrant and assassinating him. Ironically the emperors who succeeded him were far more tyrannical. Yet the senate aristocrats supported them as they protected their wealth and privilege.

What strikes me most about this presentation are the clear parallels with the current period, with the liberal elite and intelligence establishment portraying Trump as an unspeakable fascist tyrant based on little evidence other than his rhetoric. I’m aware that much of the liberal establishment is justifiably frightened of the ultraconservative bent of Trump’s appointees. However most of the strident anti-Trump rhetoric seems over the top to me.

For me the two main ways the parallels break down are 1) the absence of a genuine reform movement from below similar to the Roman resistance movement that led to the formation of the Populares 2) the absence in Trump of the towering intelligence, charisma and military and political ingenuity that Caesar displayed. Trump’s lack of political experience raises the vital question whether he or his conservative cabinet will be in control. Despite his promise of numerous populist reforms, I’m extremely skeptical whether the prominent conservatives in his cabinet support them.

tisa-big

Email from Trade for People and Planet Team:

Dear Corporate Greed Resisters,

The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is currently being negotiated among 50 countries with the objective of expanding on the existing General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

While President Trump has had a lot to say about the TPP and NAFTA, he has not offered public comment on TiSA, which thus far has major provisions to deregulate and privatize the international service economy, including the financial industry and big data.

Deborah James, Director of International Programs for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has clearly outlined Trump’s likely incentives to continue with TiSA negotiations. She reminds us that Trump is not against corporate-driven trade agreements. So you can bet that corporations are actively lobbying in Washington for deregulation and privatization, which Trump and his cabinet are actively seeking to implement domestically. Finally, TiSA is focused on services and not necessarily manufacturing, meaning that opposition from manufacturing workers may be lower as the agreement is focused on the service economy.

Here is where things gets scary. Team TiSA – a consortium of multinational financial, logistics, and big data corporations – are looking to set severe limits on how governments can regulate economies domestically while providing strict investor rights provisions. Deborah James outlined ten aspects of TiSA that have been accepted by all parties or are under negotiations that could have significant consequences:

  1. Companies are expanding the category of “services” in order to make it all-encompassing so that the agreement could apply as broadly within the economy as possible.
  2. Offshoring and outsourcing of jobs and downward pressure on wages could greatly accelerate as TiSA would lock in labor, tax, and regulatory arbitrage.
  3. Not only would TiSA promote offshoring of jobs, but it would also greatly expand domestic “inshoring.” Foreign contractors (say from Japan) would be able to bring in workers (say from Philippines) to conduct work inside a consumer country (say the United States) on terms well below the minimum local pay and standards.
  4. The TiSA does not include a labor chapter, and in fact the draft texts only mention labor rights once.
  5. Preventing governments at the national, state, and even municipal levels from supporting local business and local employment.
  6. The principle of “technological neutrality which TiSA negotiators take as a given would have immeasurable job impacts particularly with regard to the “gig” economy. So if a country opened its market to passenger transport services, it could not apply new and different rules to Uber than to traditional taxicabs.
  7. Job loss as a result of privatization would increase as publicly owned utilities would have to compete under the same rules as private companies, reducing the benefits of public ownership, resulting in the elimination of jobs that inevitably follows privatization.
  8. The financial services text of the TiSA is the closest thing imaginable to a guarantee of another job-killing financial crisis. If the draft texts were accepted, the TiSA would constrain governments from implementing most of the regulations that are recognized, both domestically and internationally, as essential to prevent another global financial crisis.
  9. Workers would have to shoulder even more of the tax burden as corporate tax evasions would accelerate.
  10. The TiSA could potentially be used as the basis of a foreign company’s claim against the United States.

For more details on each point, read Deborah James’s entire article here.

The jury is still out on what the actual contents of the agreement will be under the new administration. However, we do know that the TiSA has been and continues to be a notably secretive agreement with no transparency or public participation. Check out this article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to learn about their proposals to create inclusive and transparent trade negotiations.

We also know that Congress gave the presidency Fast Track authority under Obama, and this authority has been inherited by President Trump. According to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach, this means that “Congress has empowered Trump to unilaterally launch NAFTA renegotiations or create bilateral deals with Mexico and Canada; determine the contents, sign and enter into deals before Congress gets a vote; and then write implementing legislation and force congressional consideration in 90 days with amendments forbidden and Senate supermajority rules suspended.” This applies to TiSA as well and is why we were so adamant about pressuring Congress to reject Fast Track in the first place.

Please take a minute and resend this email to 2-5 people. The people need to know what is behind TiSA!

Join our weekly National People’s Agenda Call next Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9pm EST/ 6pm PST. We need to work together to stop TiSA from passing and to fight the consolidation of the global deregulatory and privatizing machine.

Click here to register for the call.

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