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America’s Biggest Crisis: The Economy Is Rigged for the Wealthiest

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Posted on Jan 26, 2014

Monster Pete (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

(Page 2)

The United States is in the Driver’s Seat

The United States, through trade policy, is a lead driver of the neoliberal march across the planet. We have written frequently about the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it will destroy sovereignty, placing governments, even down to the local level, at the service of transnational corporations.  Leaked Wikileaks documents from the TPP reveal that the US is the most extreme nation advocating for corporate power and neoliberal economies.

This week, the EU announced that it will delay negotiation of a key section, the Investor State Dispute Settlement, of the Atlantic version of the TPP known as TAFTA. They are concerned that giving corporations the power to sue governments for loss of expected profits will undermine their laws to protect the health of people and the planet and are seeking greater public input. Contrast that with a case that is going forward in Mora County, NM in which Shell Oil is suing a community over its fracking ban. If Shell is able to sue a community for loss of expected profits, that community would never be able to afford that and would have to change its law; and other communities will be afraid to enact laws in the public interest or to protect the planet.

Momentum is building to stop the TPP. Organizations from across the spectrum and across the continent are working together to stop the President from being given authority to Fast Track the TPP through Congress and to unite in a day of action. Visit StopFastTrack.org to join the Ten Days of Action to Stop Fast Track which culminates in a day of protest on January 31.

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Systems to Control the Masses

Predatory capitalism is directly linked to the growing national security state and militarism. As poverty and suffering increase, so does resistance by the people and those in power fear mass revolt. As corporations require access to resources around the world, the military is necessary to secure them. And it also happens that the national security and military industrial complexes profit greatly by finding new markets for their weapons and security products.

Spying on people in the US and around the world continues to become more sophisticated. The New York Times reports that the NSA can retrieve data stored in computers or USB cards using radio waves even when the computer is turned off.  In Kiev this week, the government used cell phone technology to locate people and send them a text message warning them that they were considered to be part of a mass protest, which has now been deemed illegal.

The overreach of the state is starting to backfire. Recently, an independent federal review board concluded that the collection of cell phone calls by the NSA is illegal and must be stopped. Obama’s own review board called for an overhaul of the NSA, but last week the President announced only minimal reforms that protect the surveillance program. Instead of announcing real changes, he worked to reassure the public that spying is perfectly normal and acceptable. Chris Hedges interpreted his speech for us describing how faux reforms were designed to mollify Americans while “as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, along with our courts, continue to eviscerate those rights.”  And the Electronic Frontier Foundation decoded the proposed reforms, giving Obama a 3.5 out of a possible score of 12 for what is considered the bare minimum of necessary overhaul.

The expansion of the security state is a boon for the corporations that produce scanners and other technology. In order to profit and grow, they must find new markets. Perhaps this is behind the announcement that all entrances to Major League Baseball stadiums will be equipped with metal detectors in 2015. We wonder what is next.

At some point, we as the public must draw the line. Concerted action to protest this encroachment through boycotts of places that use them is one effective way to stand up for our rights.

Protesting War, Pipelines and Wealth Inequality

This week, so-called peace talks for Syria are taking place in Switzerland. Ajamu Baraka explains the politics behind the talks. He writes that “it would be more accurate to call a ‘war conference’ rather than a ‘peace conference’ due to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s insistence on keeping the scope of the agenda confined to the terms of the Geneva I communique, which calls for a political transition in Syria.”

It is doubtful that real solutions to address the crises in Syria will come from the talks. Relief from the extreme violence and displacement are not part of the conversation. This is all about regime change and as expected, the propaganda is rolling out. Human Rights Watch released a report this week on Syria that lacks all credibility, as described by Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor.


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