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Member since: Thu Feb 25, 2016, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 4,667

Journal Archives

Ralph Nader: Sanders Should Stay in Democratic Race, Is Only Losing Due to 'Anti-Democratic' System

Washington Post’s Latest Bernie-Bashing Binge (TYT)

Washington Post’s Latest Bernie-Bashing Binge


Related and interesting links on single payer and state healthcare programs--


Myth: User Fees Ensure Better Use of Health Services (Canadian Government "mythbuster"

(Another thing the Urban Insitute and TYT both ignore, the undisclosed, real reason - trade policy! for Clinton's ideological rigidity on single payer)

"Foreign Free Riders drive up US drug Prices" - myth - Donald W. Light





TTIP: How would the secret deal affect the United States?

TTIP: How would the secret deal affect the United States?


What will be the impact of TTIP across the pond? Gwen Buck from Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northen Ireland interviews Bill Waren of Friends of the Earth United States to find out.

Gwen Buck: What would be the implications for the US if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) went ahead?

Bill Waren: We do have some idea of what is in TTIP negotiating text thanks to the somewhat more open European process, and thanks to whistle-blowers who have revealed secret documents.

The investment chapters in TTIP show that firms would be able to sue governments for potentially billions in financial damages if environmental or public health regulations interfere with future profits. This would discourage positive government action like restricting oil and gas drilling, imposing pollution controls, limiting the use of fracking, or even stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

TTIP would stymie congressional action to more effectively regulate chemicals associated with breast cancer, autism and infertility. More immediately, it could undermine effective toxic chemical regulation currently on the books in California and other states. TTIP would also undercut GMO labelling initiatives in the US.

Ambassador Froman, the US Trade Representative, and the Republican congressional leadership are hell-bent on using TTIP to increase US coal, oil and gas exports to the world that are fuelling global warming. Ambassador Froman also wants TTIP  intellectual property provisions that protect  patents on plants, animals and other life forms, giving corporations monopolies over the use of parts of the genetic code.

Gwen Buck: The US is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which allows free trade between Canada, the US and Mexico. Can this be used an example of what TTIP will be like for people? What have the implications of NAFTA been for the US?

Bill Waren: Last January was the twentieth anniversary of NAFTA. It is the primary reason labour, environmental and public health standards are so much lower here compared to Europe. TTIP promises to harmonise down European standards to the level of the United States – post NAFTA.

If what you want in Europe is an accelerated flow of wealth from the 99% to the 1%, environmental deregulation, unsafe food on the kitchen table, the destruction of small-scale family farms, prohibitively costly medical care, big pharmaceutical corporations unfairly raising prices, and near total corporate control of government and your economy, then by all means work hard to ratify TTIP.

Gwen Buck: With the UN Paris climate talks happening this year, what impact will TTIP have on the US's ability to limit its carbon emissions?

Bill Waren: As a result of the boom in environmentally-destructive fracking, the fastest-growing natural gas and oil producer in the world is now the United States.  Dirty energy companies are some of the businesses pushing for TTIP to be ratified. This would help them export to global markets, where they can demand higher prices for coal and gas. Meanwhile, Canada wants to transport tar sands oil through the Keystone XL pipeline, to refineries in Texas, which if TTIP goes ahead will be shipped overseas where they can sell it far more profitably than in the US.

Recently leaked EU documents exposed the EU's intention to increase US oil and gas exports to Europe. EU negotiators at TTIP talks want the US to scrap its current legal prohibition on crude oil exports and its licensing restrictions on natural gas exports. TTIP would encourage increased US coal, oil and gas exports to the world that will fuel continued global warming.

The huge extra demand for fossil fuels as a result of TTIP threatens to turn the US into an EU fracking colony.

Gwen Buck: The US is currently in the process of negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well as TTIP. What has been the general public's reaction to these new mega trade deals and what are people's concerns?

Bill Waren: The big  focus of public concern in the US today is Fast Track trade promotion legislation that may come up for a vote in the US Congress imminently.

Traditionally, under the US Constitution, Congress writes legislation in open committee sessions where amendments are offered, debated on and voted for. The Constitution also gives Congress the power to make international trade policy. However the Obama administration aims to pass Fast Track before the American people know about it. Fast Track legislation would sharply limit Congress' role in trade policy by forcing TPP and TTIP deals through on a quick up or down vote, with little debate and no amendments.

TTIP text has been classified as a state secret, enforced by serious criminal penalties. Even the few members of Congress who read TTIP text cannot disclose to the public the details of what they read. The former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, admitted in a candid moment that disclosing  would "raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign".

In effect, a vote to approve Fast Track is a vote to approve TTIP and TPP unseen – because the public and press are denied access to the secret negotiating text.

Gwen Buck: President Obama has spoken in favour of TTIP, is this true of his party and other political parties?

Bill Waren: No, Obama is out of touch with his party. The overwhelming majority of Democrats in the US House of Representatives will oppose TTIP, just as they are blocking the path to passage of Fast Track trade legislation today. There will also be a surprisingly large number of conservative Republicans who oppose TTIP – because of the threat it presents to constitutional government and national sovereignty. But there is pressure from global corporations and Wall Street fat cats, who have made political campaign donations and are calling in all their IOUs to pass Fast Track so TTIP can help them gain greater profits.

Gwen Buck: Across Europe stopping TTIP has captured the imagination of millions of people, a lot of those are people who've never before been involved in environmental and social campaigning, young and old alike. How do American citizens feel about TTIP? Have they been inspired to act against TTIP?

Bill Warren: We face a much tougher situation here in the United States.  There is an almost total mainstream news blackout of trade policy. The biggest problem is corporate control and censorship of the mainstream media in the US.

According to a study by Media Matters, the biggest network evening news shows in the US have ignored the trade policy debate almost completely. With the big exception being the New York Times. However, though they do cover TTIP, it is too often supporting TTIP.

In the face of the mainstream media blackout, Friends of the Earth US and other TTIP critics on this side of the Atlantic are relying on old fashioned community organising and new fashioned alternative media to inform and mobilise the US public. There has been some movements but it is not easy or quick. We have a long way to go before we can match the kind of success that you have had in Europe.

Gwen Buck: Personally, what do you find most worrying about TTIP? And what would you say to someone who is currently a TTIP supporter?

Bill Warren: The TTIP regulatory review provisions worry me most. They have nothing to do with trade and everything to do with setting up institutions and procedures to effect deregulation.

TTIP would allow foreign investors to sue governments for compensation for the cost of complying with regulations that reduced their investments' value or future profitability.

There would also be inappropriate use of business-friendly, cost-benefit analysis. This process gives disproportionate weight to quantitative data and economic costs, while diminishing the importance of qualitative benefits such as health, and protecting wild places. Using cost-benefit analysis to quantify costs for environmental regulation can easily be manipulated, and if an environmental benefit cannot be measured in dollars and cents, then its value is unfairly discounted. For example, food safety standards would be lowered if the undervalued "benefit" of protecting the food we eat is outweighed by the "cost" to corporate profits.

In many circumstances it may be impossible to attribute a price to the intrinsic value of human life, living things and nature itself. How does one put a price, discounted to "present value," on a human life or nature itself?


It's clear from speaking to Bill Waren that the consequences of TTIP faced in Europe will also be felt in the US. More power to corporations and less to people and planet.

The US has already suffered at the hands of NAFTA, so Americans know what's at stake. Let's stop standards being lowered on both side's of the Atlantic and say no to TTIP together.

Article with many links is at: https://www.foeeurope.org/TTIP-secret-deal-United-States-270315

Hillary Supporter Reveals Corruption At Nevada Democratic Convention (TYTnetwork)

Published on May 18, 2016

A Hillary Clinton delegate in Nevada, explains just what went on inside the Nevada Democratic Convention. Ana Kasparian, and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Hosts: Ana Kasparian, John Iadarola

Cast: Ana Kasparian, John Iadarola

Money creation in the modern economy - The Bank of England


Money creation in the modern economy - The Bank of England

By Michael McLeay, Amar Radia and Ryland Thomas of the Bank’s Monetary Analysis Directorate

• This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial
banks making loans.

• Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply
as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’
central bank money to create new loans and deposits.

• The amount of money created in the economy ultimately depends on the monetary policy of the
central bank. In normal times, this is carried out by setting interest rates. The central bank can
also affect the amount of money directly through purchasing assets or ‘quantitative easing’.

re:publica 2015 – Ralf Bendrath, Estelle Masse et al: Trade Agreements and the Net – the FAQ Panel

re:publica 2015 – Ralf Bendrath, Estelle Masse et al: Trade Agreements and the Net – the FAQ Panel

Published on May 27, 2015
Find out more at: http://re-publica.de/session/trade-ag...

As a follow-up to the talk by Sanya Reid Smith on trade agreements and data policy, this panel will drill deeper into three main topics: data protection, intellectual property, net neutrality. All of them are affected by ongoing trade talks on TTIP, TiSA, CETA, TPP, ...

Ralf Bendrath

Estelle Masse

Gaelle Krikorian

Sanya Smith

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany
(CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)

A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future: Cancer claimed Kim Suozzi at age 23, but ...

A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future: Cancer claimed Kim Suozzi at age 23, but she chose to have her brain
preserved with the dream that neuroscience might one day revive her mind.


In the moments just before Kim Suozzi died of cancer at age 23, it fell to her boyfriend, Josh Schisler, to follow through with the plan to freeze her brain.

As her pulse monitor sounded its alarm and her breath grew ragged, he fumbled for his phone. Fighting the emotion that threatened to paralyze him, he alerted the cryonics team waiting nearby and called the hospice nurses to come pronounce her dead. Any delay would jeopardize the chance to maybe, someday, resurrect her mind.

It was impossible to know on that cloudless Arizona morning in January 2013 which fragments of Kim’s identity might survive, if any. Would she remember their first, fumbling kiss in his dorm room five years earlier? Their private jokes and dumb arguments? The seizure, the surgery, the fancy neuroscience fellowship she had to turn down?

More than memories, Josh, then 24, wished for the crude procedure to salvage whatever synapses gave rise to her dry, generous humor, compelled her to greet every cat she saw with a high-pitched “helllooo,” and inspired her to write him poems.

They knew how strange it sounded, the hope that Kim’s brain could be preserved in subzero storage so that decades or centuries from now, if science advanced, her billions of interconnected neurons could be scanned, analyzed and converted into computer code that mimicked how they once worked.

But Kim’s terminal prognosis came at the start of a global push to understand the brain. And some of the tools and techniques emerging from neuroscience laboratories were beginning to bear some resemblance to those long envisioned in futurist fantasies.

Continued: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/us/cancer-immortality-cryogenics.html


How to recognize a cult when you see one.

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism

Substantial new barriers against generic drugs envisaged by the TPP will eliminate competition


Drawn Up in Secret, the TPP’s Text Helps Big Pharma Put Patents Over Patients


The substantial new barriers against generic entry envisaged by the TPP will not only ensure longer monopoly pricing for pharmaceutical products but also render competition between brand and generic manufacturers unviable.

The text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, involving the United States and 11 other countries – and 40% of the world’s GDP – was finally released in the public domain by prospective member parties earlier this month. Despite its breadth and the incorporation of significant new legal standards in international trade, the seven-year long negotiations leading up to the treaty were shrouded in secrecy with no details available to the public.

The Intellectual Property chapter, in particular, has been a cause for great concern, as leaked drafts of the text revealed substantial leaps in exclusion rights to rights-holders over and above the prevailing TRIPS standard. Consistent push-back from public health and open access advocates, internet freedoms activists, environmentalists, labour groups and even governments seems to have had only a marginal impact on the negotiations as the released text confirms this shift towards more restrictive standards. Most seriously, continual access to medicines faces a severe threat from the new barriers envisaged in the TPP text as pharmaceutical companies have been given not only stronger monopoly rights, but the opportunity to arm-twist national governments by invoking the private dispute resolution mechanism in the treaty.

Closed door negotiations

The fight for transparency in the TPP negotiations follows a history of intellectual property law making driven by corporate interests and characterised by knowledge asymmetries and coercive politics.

The very idea of linking intellectual property to international trade regulation via GATT – as opposed to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – was mooted and zealously advocated by a lobbying group of industry interests in the US that ingenuously transformed a buried provision against counterfeiting into a proposal for a full-fledged agreement covering all aspects of intellectual property. The developing world, particularly India, fought back against the imposition of mandatory minimum standards in IP, especially in the areas of pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products in agriculture. However, by linking WTO membership to the adoption of TRIPS, the developed world left other countries with no choice but to sign on.

At the same time, this resistance eventually translated into provisions that enabled modified rules in public interest, known as TRIPS flexibilities. These hard won flexibilities have enabled transition periods for developing countries and least developing countries (who just received a 17-year exemption for patents on pharmaceutical products), compulsory licenses and provisions against evergreening. Having failed at the global forum, the US and the EU have since attempted to counteract these flexibilities by introducing higher standards through regional free trade agreements. The TPP, in isolating the developing countries in that region and conducting negotiations on the basis of ‘advice’ from industry groups and away from civil society scrutiny, prevented the mobilisation of public opinion that successfully pushed back against such private interest-driven policymaking at the time of the TRIPS Agreement. It is no surprise then that the TPP envisages huge gains for corporations to the detriment of public interest.

The rest of this excellent article is at:


See also:


New Study Shows Repeated Failed Outcomes Despite Rosy US Government Projections for "Trade" Deals


Big problems found with the USITC's Methodology and past results failed to predict outcomes.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is required to release a report
projecting the economic effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) no later than May 18,

The USITC study on a trade pact, which is required as part of the Fast Track process,
typically generates considerable attention from policymakers and the press. However, with
respect to past such studies, the USITC projections have been dramatically inaccurate.
Indeed, past USITC trade agreement studies have systematically projected positive outcomes that
have been contradicted by the actual results of trade agreements.

This analysis reviews the USITC projections for the three most economically significant U.S.
trade agreements relative to the pacts’ actual outcomes. The USITC projected an improved trade
balance, gains for specific sectors, increased U.S. economic growth and additional benefits in its
reports on the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the 2007 U.S.-Korea
Free Trade Agreement (FTA).3

For China’s 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) accession
agreement with the United States and related China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR)
vote, the USITC report projected a small increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China.
However, the USITC reports on NAFTA, China’s WTO accession/China PNTR and the Korea
FTA not only overstated the prospective benefits. Each of these USITC studies also simply got
the bottom line wrong: The U.S. trade deficit with the trade partners increased dramatically and
as detailed in the text of this study, industries projected to “win” saw major losses.
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