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polly7

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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 10:46 PM
Number of posts: 17,053

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Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’

By Pete Dolack
Source: Systemic Disorder
February 9, 2016

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Protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, October 2015 (photo by Lorena Müller, Pirate Times)

One way to look at this is that the Peterson Institute is to “free trade” agreements as the Heartland Institute is to global warming. Heartland began as a Big Tobacco outfit issuing reports denying links between smoking and cancer. As late as 1998, Heartland President Joe Bast claimed that there were “few, if any, adverse health effects” associated with smoking and boasted to a Phillip Morris executive that “Heartland does many things that benefit Philip Morris’s bottom line, things that no other organization does.”

Heartland later began specializing in global-warming denial, receiving $676,500 from Exxon Mobil alone between 1996 and 2006; after which it stopped identifying its contributors. Mr. Bast seems to have no shame, writing that “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate” in an article describing global warming as a “scam.” In fact, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activity is behind global warming.

It is this same attitude toward the truth that pervades papers predicting wondrous results from “free trade” agreements. In contrast to the Peterson Institute’s rosy projections, the first 20 years of NAFTA proved to be a lose-lose-lose proposition for Canada, Mexico and the United States. Almost 5 million Mexican farmers have been displaced with inflation-adjusted wages in Mexico barely above the level of 1980; U.S. food prices have risen 67 percent since NAFTA took effect and two-thirds of displaced manufacturing workers in the U.S. have been forced to take work with reduced wages; and Canadians suffered drastic cuts in government benefits while their environmental laws were reversed in the wake of corporate challenges.


A more balanced investigation conducted by Tufts University researchers Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta led to the conclusion that the TPP, if enacted, would result in the loss of three-quarters of a million jobs through 2025, including 448,000 jobs to be lost in the U.S. alone. Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia would each suffer jobs losses in the tens of thousands.


The TPP, even more so that previous deals, has very little to do with trade and much to do with solidifying corporate control over life, arguably the most significant erosion of what is left of formal democracy yet. Regardless of where you live, the TPP can be defeated if we continue to organize. And once the TPP is sent to the trash heap, it will be time to go on the offensive to roll back existing trade pacts.


Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/fanaticism-and-fantasy-drive-purported-tpp-benefits/

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

By Tom Engelhardt
Source: TomDispatch.com
February 9, 2016

Stop the cameras there and you’re still talking about the dominant military of this, if not any other century. But of course the cameras didn’t stop. The Bush administration had no intention of shutting them off, not when it saw a Middle Eastern (and possibly even a global) Pax Americana in its future and wanted to garrison Iraq until hell froze over. It already assumed that the next stop after Baghdad on the Occident Express would be either Damascus or Tehran, that America’s enemies in the region would go down like ten pins, and that the oil heartlands of the planet would become an American dominion. (As the neocon quip of that moment had it, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.”)

It was a hell of a dream, with an emphasis on hell. It would, in fact, prove a nightmare of the first order, and the cameras just kept rolling and rolling for nearly 13 years while (I think it’s time for an acronym here) the FFFIHW, also known as the Finest Fighting Force etc., etc., proved that it could not successfully:

*Defeat determined, if lightly armed, minority insurgencies.

*Train proxy armies to do its bidding.

*Fight a war based on sectarian versions of Islam or a war of ideas.

*Help reconstruct a society in the Greater Middle East, no matter how much money it pumped in.

*Create much of anything but failed states and deeply corrupt ruling elites in the region.

*Bomb an insurgent movement into surrender.

*Drone-kill terror leaders until their groups collapsed.

*Intervene anywhere in the Greater Middle East in just about any fashion, by land or air, and end up with a world in any way to its liking.


Long, full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/shoulda-woulda-coulda/

School of the Americas Graduates Responsible for 1989 Jesuit Massacre Face Extradition to Spain

Military Officers Arrested in El Salvador
by SOA Watch / February 8th, 2016

North Carolina/El Salvador – The 1989 massacre of 16-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and six Jesuit priests at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, that galvanized opposition to the U.S. relationship with Central American death squads and that sparked the movement to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, is making headlines again.


A United Nations Truth Commission cited 26 Salvadoran officers for the 1989 “execution-style” massacre. Nineteen of those were trained at the School of the Americas, renamed in 2001 the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). After its role in training human rights abusers came to light, Central Americans frequently dubbed the SOA the “School of Assassins.”

The SOA made headlines again in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this shocking admission, and even in the face of hundreds of documented cases of human rights abuses connecting to soldiers trained at the institution, no independent investigation into the training facility has ever taken place.

Protests calling for the closure of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC have taken place around the November 16 anniversary of the San Salvador massacre since 1990. Last year over 2,000 participated in the annual demonstration at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia to call for the closure of the military training school, which continues to instruct Latin American soldiers, as well as to demand an end to U.S.-led militarization in the Americas that continues to fuel violence and forced migration. SOA Watch maintains that for justice to prevail, the U.S. officials who are responsible for the training of repressive foreign militaries need to be held accountable as well.


http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/02/school-of-the-americas-graduates-responsible-for-1989-jesuit-massacre-face-extradition-to-spain/

I just saw this one the other day.



Yemen is being destroyed, purposefully. Hospitals, schools, infrastructure, important heritage sites Yemenis have always placed so much pride in. Millions are suffering from food-shortage or starvation. It's sick, and the world couldn't care less.

Risking World War III in Syria

February 6, 2016

Exclusive: After Saudi-backed Syrian rebels balked at peace talks and the Russian-backed Syrian army cut off Turkish supply lines to jihadists and other Syrian rebels, the U.S. and its Mideast Sunni “allies” appear poised to invade Syria and force “regime change” even at the risk of fighting Russia, a gamble with nuclear war, writes Joe Lauria.

The Prize of Aleppo

The excuse of the Geneva collapse is a ruse. There was little optimism the talks would succeed. The real reason for the coming showdown in Syria is the success of Russia’s military intervention in defense of the Syrian government against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Many of these groups are supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States in pursuit of overthrowing Assad.

These three nations are all apparently poised for a ground invasion of Syria just as, by no coincidence, the Syrian Arab Army with Russian air cover is pushing to liberate perhaps the greatest prize in the Syrian civil war — Aleppo, the country’s commercial capital. The Russians and Syrians have already cut off Turkey’s supply lines to rebels in the city.

On Saturday, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates joined the Saudis in saying they would intervene only as part of a U.S.-led ground invasion. The Obama administration has maintained that it would not send U.S. ground forces into Syria, beyond a few hundred special forces.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/02/06/risking-world-war-iii-in-syria/

Regime change ......... it never gets old.



General Wesley Clark tells of how Middle East destabilization was planned as far back as 1991










At least 33 refugees drown off Turkish coast


Deaths come as Turkish and German officials hold talks to stem the flow of refugees.

08 Feb 2016 14:13 GMT

At least 33 refugees drowned off Turkey's Aegean coast as they tried to reach a Greek island, and a search and rescue operation was under way for the remaining passengers.

Turkey's private Dogan News Agency, which reported the 33 deaths on Monday, said that one boat set sail from Turkey's Edremit coastal district and the other from the town of Dikili, further south.

Both were headed for the Greek island of Lesbos, just a few kilometres away.


More than 900,000 people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and other war-torn or impoverished countries arrived in Greece from Turkey last year, often risking their lives in the short but perilous sea crossing in overloaded boats.

Last month marked the deadliest January on record for refugees trying to reach Europe, as more than 250 died while making the journey.


http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/33-refugees-drown-turkish-coast-160208130920304.html

Tunisia, As Expected

By Samir Amin
Source: Mr Zine
February 8, 2016


"Mass protests have returned in Tunisia, since the 20th of January, in Kasserine, then in Tunis, and in the rest of the country. As expected, the pursuit of neoliberal policy by the so-called “national unity” government (ranging from Islamists of Ennahdha to leftists, including Bourguibists and survivors of the defunct Ben Ali regime) has not allowed any social progress for five years and has even led to the continuing degradation of social conditions. Thoughtless praises lavished upon this government by Western “democrats” of all stripes have proved to be vacuous."

"At the roundtable that we (Third World Forum–World Forum for Alternatives) organized at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2015, we explained that to begin to respond to the just demands of the Tunisian people would require a different economic policy, breaking with neoliberalism. The secretary general of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), Houcine Abassi, noted in his speech, with powerful and convincing arguments: “Nothing has been solved in Tunisia yet, and electoral democracy without parallel implementation of new and audacious social and economic policies would do nothing to stabilize the country.” Making an umpteenth appeal to Western countries, especially France, for financial aid will not help advance the solution to the Tunisian problems. Beginning to solve them means carrying out a sovereign development plan and initiating negotiations with partners open to supporting it: China, BRICS, even the neighboring Algeria."

"It is time, now that the Tunisian people is regaining the initiative, that all democrats of the world at last understand what are the real objectives of the strategy of the imperialist powers, their local friends (the Islamists of Ennahdha, the Bourguibists, and the survivors of the defunct Ben Ali regime), and even a good number of organizations engaged in democratic struggles on multiple fronts. The dominant reactionary forces are pursuing a single goal: to keep Tunisia in the position of a country subordinated to the needs of imperialist capitalism of financial monopolies — nothing more. The discourse on “democracy,” the falsely naïve remarks about Ennahdha characterized as a “convert to the democratic cause,” is only a smokescreen, to delay the necessary political awakening of popular classes engaged in the struggle. Following the policy imposed by the Western powers can only help “terrorist” networks take root. The leaders of the “democratic” West certainly understand that; but that’s what they want. Their only fear is that people are taking into their own hands the conduct of their own affairs."


https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/tunisia-as-expected/

Nor is Mexico ...... or Canada, for that matter.

NAFTA Is Starving Mexico
Posted by polly7 in General Discussion
Thu Oct 20th 2011, 09:40 AM
NAFTA Is Starving Mexico
By Laura Carlsen, October 20, 2011

http://www.fpif.org/articles/nafta_is_star...

"Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became the law of the land, millions of Mexicans have joined the ranks of the hungry. Malnutrition is highest among the country’s farm families, who used to produce enough food to feed the nation.

As the blood-spattered violence of the drug war takes over the headlines, many Mexican men, women, and children confront the slow and silent violence of starvation. The latest reports show that the number of people living in “food poverty” (the inability to purchase the basic food basket) rose from 18 million in 2008 to 20 million by late 2010.

About one-fifth of Mexican children currently suffer from malnutrition. An innovative measurement applied by the National Institute for Nutrition registers a daily count of 728,909 malnourished children under five for October 18, 2011. Government statistics report that 25 percent of the population does not have access to basic food."


Thanks to NAFTA, Conditions for Mexican Factory Workers Like Rosa Moreno Are Getting Worse

Texas Observer / By Melissa del Bosque

The difficult and dangerous working conditions that Rosa and at least 1.3 million other Mexican workers endure were supposed to get better. They didn't.



Photo Credit: Alan Pogue

December 11, 2013 |

.... On this night, Feb. 19, 2011, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, a premonition that perhaps she shouldn’t go. But she needed the money. It was the final shift in her six-day workweek, and if she missed a day, the factory would dock her 300 pesos. She couldn’t afford to lose that kind of money. Her family already struggled to survive on the 1,300 pesos (about $100) a week she earned. Unable to shake the bad feeling, she’d already missed her bus, and now she’d have to pay for a taxi. But the thought of losing 300 pesos was worse. She had to go. Rosa kissed her six children goodnight and set out across town.

In the Mexican border city of Reynosa, the hundreds of maquiladoras that produce everything from car parts to flat-screen televisions run day and night—365 days a year—to feed global demand. Rosa worked from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. at a factory called HD Electronics in a sprawling maquiladora park near the international bridge that links Reynosa, an industrial city of 600,000, to Pharr, Texas. Like the 90,000 or more workers in Reynosa, the 38-year-old Rosa depended on these factories for her livelihood. In the 11 years since she moved to the city, she had welded circuitry for Asian and European cell phone companies, assembled tubing for medical IV units to be shipped over the border to the United States, and worked on a production line assembling air conditioners for General Motors.

This was her second month at HD Electronics, a South Korean firm that had moved to Reynosa in 2006 to produce the metal backing for flat-screen televisions made by another South Korean firm, LG Electronics—a $49 billion corporation. LG also has a plant in Reynosa and could scarcely keep up with the North American demand for its plasma and LCD televisions.

At HD Electronics, Rosa operated a 200-ton hydraulic stamping press. Every night, six days a week, she fed the massive machine thin aluminum sheets. The machine ran all day, every day. Each time the press closed it sounded like a giant hammer striking metal: thwack, thwack, thwack. The metal sheets emerged pierced and molded into shape for each model and size of television. At the factory, 20 women, including Rosa, worked the presses to make the pieces for the smaller televisions. Nearby were 10 larger presses, each of which took two men to operate, to make backings for the giant-screen models.


Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/labor/after-20-years-nafta-thanks-nafta-what-happened-mexican-factory-workers-rosa-moreno?akid=11305.44541.10ylde&rd=1&src=newsletter939436&t=21


How NAFTA Drove Mexicans into Poverty and Sparked the Zapatista Revolt

By EDELO, Creative Time Reports

The North American Free Trade Agreement, passed 20 years ago, has resulted in increased emigration, hunger and poverty (with Video)

December 30, 2013

Mexico was said to be one step away from entering the “First World.” It was December 1992, and Mexico’s then-president, Carlos Salinas, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The global treaty came with major promises of economic development, driven by increased farm production and foreign investment, that would end emigration and eliminate poverty. But, as the environmentalist Gustavo Castro attests in our video, the results have been the complete opposite—increased emigration, hunger and poverty.


While the world was entertaining the idea of the end of times supposedly predicted by the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012, over 40,000 Mayan Zapatis . tas took to the streets to make their presence known in a March of Silence. The indigenous communities of Chiapas—Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques and Mames—began their mobilization from their five centers of government, which are called Caracoles. In silence they entered the fog of a December winter and occupied the same squares, in the same cities, that they had descended upon as ill-equipped rebels on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA came into effect.

In light of the 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation and the Zapatista uprising, we set out to explore both the positive and negative effects of the international treaty. The poverty caused by NAFTA, and the waves of violence, forced migration and environmental disasters it has precipitated, should not be understated. The republic of Mexico is under threat from multinational corporations like the Canadian mining company Blackfire Explorations, which is threatening to sue the state of Chiapas for $800 million under NAFTA Chapter 11 because its government closed a Blackfire barite mine after pressure from local environmental activists like Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was murdered in 2009.

Still, one result of the corporate extraction of Mexico’s natural resources and displacement of its people that has followed the treaty has been the organization and strengthening of initiatives by indigenous communities to construct autonomy from the bottom up. Seeing that their own governments cannot respond to popular demands without retribution from corporations, the people of Mexico are asking about alternatives: “What is it that we do want?” The Zapatista revolution reminds us that not only another world, but many other worlds, are possible


Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/world/how-nafta-drove-mexicans-poverty-and-sparked-zapatista-revolt?akid=11347.44541.RWB6aQ&rd=1&src=newsletter941851&t=19

Drug War Mexico, NAFTA and Why People Leave -

You must be forgetting a little something.

Mandela praised Qaddafi for fully supporting ending apherteid.

This question becomes even more valid in light of what the mainstream media, in the wake of the former South African president’s death, have been anxiously hiding from the public: the actual close and crucial alliance between Mandela and Gaddafi. Back in the 70s and 80s, when the West refused to allow sanctions against Apartheid in South Africa and used to call Mandela a terrorist, it was none other than Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi who kept supporting him. Gaddafi funded Mandela’s fight against Apartheid by training ANC fighters and by paying for their education abroad, and their bond only became stronger after Mandela’s release from prison on February 11, 1990.


When Mandela was taken to the ruins of Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, which was bombed by the Reagan administration in 1986 in an attempt to murder the entire Gaddafi family, he said:

“No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do. Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi. They are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.”

In response, Gaddafi thanked Mandela for his friendship, saying: “Who would ever have said that one day the opportunity for us to meet would become reality. We would like you to know that we are constantly celebrating your fight and that of the South African people, and that we salute your courage during all of those long years you spent in detention in the prison of Apartheid. Not a single day has passed without us having thought of you and your sufferings.”

Eight years later, when then U.S. president Bill Clinton visited Mandela in March 1998, Clinton criticized the South African president’s meeting with Muammar Gaddafi. In reaction to that criticism, Mandela straightforwardly replied:

“I have also invited Brother Leader Gaddafi to this country. And I do that because our moral authority dictates that we should not abandon those who helped us in the darkest hour in the history of this country. Not only did the Libyans support us in return, they gave us the resources for us to conduct our struggle, and to win. And those South Africans who have berated me for being loyal to our friends, can literally go and jump into a pool.”


On the eve of the NATO-led war against Libya, Gaddafi’s booming country largely co-funded three projects that would rid Africa from its financial dependence on the West once and for all: the African Investment Bank in the Libyan city of Sirte, the African Monetary Fund (AFM), to be based in the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, in 2011, and the African Central Bank to be based in the capital of Nigeria, Abuja. Especially the latter angered France – not coincidentally also the main orchestrator of the war on Libya – because it would mean the end of the West African CFA franc and the Central African CFA franc, through which France kept a hold on as much as thirteen African countries. Only two months after Africa said no to Western attempts to join the AFM, Western organized “protests” against the AFM’s benefactor, Muammar Gaddafi, started to erupt in Libya… ultimately resulting in the freezing of $30 billion by the West, which money mostly was intended for the above mentioned financial projects.

But Gaddafi helped the African continent in more than just material ways. More than any other African leader, he supported Mandela’s ANC’s struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. Above that, many Black Africans, especially sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees, found a new home in Gaddafi’s prosperous Libya.


http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37301.htm



Gaddafi was praised for his human rights record towards women. He introduced equal pay, women were half the work force. Do you have equal pay in the U.S.? Crickets.

Prior to western military involvement Libya was a modern and secular state with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living. No more. We fixed that!

Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights. More than half of Libya’s university students were women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.

Now, the new 'democratic' Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Extremist Islamic forces see gender equality as a Western perversion.



Bill Maher Doesn’t Hold Back Defending Bernie Sanders On Foreign Policy

February 6, 2016 9:26 am ·

Bill Maher Goes All in for Bernie Sanders: ‘F*ck Yeah’ He’s Ready to Be Commander-in-Chief

During a segment of Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedic host went all out in his defense of Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy experience.

During the segment, the lefties at the table agreed that Sanders is excellent on economic issues. Though some seemed skeptical that Sanders has the same grasp of foreign policy issues. Maher was asked by MSNBC’s Alex Wagner if he seriously thinks that Sanders is fit to lead the nation as president when it comes to foreign policy matters. Wagner asks Maher:

“Do you want Bernie Sanders getting off Air Force One, making a deal on foreign police with…? Do you think he’s at the level that we need?”


Maher responds to Wagner’s question, saying:


“Fuck yeah! The guy who voted right on the Iraq war? Yea, I do.”


Then, Armstrong Williams, an advisor for Ben Carson, decided to chime in. Williams implies that it doesn’t actually matter how well Sanders knows foreign policy. That’s because Sanders would be surrounded by experts.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2016/02/06/watch-bill-maher-doesnt-hold-back-defending-bernie-sanders-on-foreign-policy/




Published on Feb 5, 2016

Bill Maher really let loose tonight on the idea that Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a chance to be president, telling the “I like Bernie but…” people to just “shut up.” He said in an election year where Donald Trump is giving the finger to every single person who said he wouldn’t make it in the election, people shouldn’t be throwing cold water on Sanders’ chances when he could actually go all the way. MSNBC’s Alex Wagner pushed back a bit on the Sanders love, saying he preaches “absolute idealism” and asking Maher if he honestly thinks Sanders is qualified enough to lead America on the world stage. He cried, “Fuck yeah! The guy who voted right on the Iraq war? Yea, I do.” Things got a bit awkward when Ben Carson adviser Armstrong Williams tried to pile on Sanders’ foreign policy chops, only for Maher to turn the tables and ask him what about his own guy’s “no qualifications.” Despite presidential candidate Bernie Sander’s less than stellar responses to foreign policy questions during the Democratic debate earlier this week, Real Time host Bill Maher gave the Vermont senator his full-throated support saying, “F*ck yeah!” when asked if Sanders was ready to become Commander in Chief. With MSNBC analyst Alex Morgan saying she believed Sanders won the first half of the debate dealing with jobs and the economy, she stated that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clearly was superior when it came to the foreign policy portion. “Do you want Bernie Sanders getting off Air Force One making a deal with–,” Wagner asked Maher. “Seriously — on foreign policyn — do you think that he’s at the level that we need–” Wagner never finished her question as Maher jumped right in. “F*ck yeah!’ he exclaimed to cheers from the audience. “The guy who voted right on the Iraq war?” he shot back. “Yeah I do.” Watch the video below captured by Mediaite:
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