Stop the Secrecy!

Wikileaks Publishes Intellectual Property Chapter of TPP!

Yesterday Wikileaks published the chapter on intellectual property of the secretively negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, an agreement that would usher in global corporate rule.  Probably the most controversial of all the TPP texts that have been leaked, it would impact medicine, Internet freedom, and more.  See the DemocracyNow! coverage in the video above and the following links for the text on both the IP chapter and the chapter on investment as well as analyses of both.

It is vital that anyone and everyone who cares about Internet freedom, civil liberties, and democracy post this information and call, email, and tweet your representatives in Congress to demand that they VOTE NO ON FAST TRACK, a Nixon-era relic that Obama is trying to resurrect in order to override Congressional oversight on this virulently elitist document that would enrich the few at the expense of the many worldwide and erect a global corporate state unanswerable to the people in the signatory countries.

Here is the link to the intellectual property chapter: http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/TransPacificIP1.pdf

Analysis of the TPP intellectual property chapter on access to medicines:
MSF/Doctors Without Borders’ Release and Memo on How the Trans-Pacific FTA Undermines Access to Medicines

Public Citizen’s Memo on Obama Administration Backtracking from Bush Era Access to Medicine Commitments

MSF/Doctors Without Borders’ White Paper “Trading Away Health”

Public Citizen’s Access to Medicine Analyses Comparing TPP Proposals with Existing Laws and Trade Pacts

The Global Treatment Access Group Paper on the TPP and Access to Medicines

Analysis of the updated TPP intellectual property chapter:
Public Citizen Memo “What’s New in the Wikileaks TPP Text?”

The TPP investment chapter can be found online here

Analysis of the TPP investment chapter:

Global Trade Watch Analysis of Leaked TPP Investment Text

Gordon Campbell on the Trans-Pacific Partnership leaks

Professor Jane Kelsey on the TPP Investment Chapter

Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network Statement on the TPP Investment Chapter

Health GAP Analysis of the TPP Investment Chapter

Hunger, Poverty, Homelessness

Due to the malfeasance of Wall Street banksters causing the mortgage crisis and the world economy to crash, and now the corporate puppets in congress insisting on austerity, we are experiencing an epidemic of hunger, poverty, and homelessness. Predatory banks have foreclosed upon people illegally, jobs have vanished, and we the people are being dispossessed.

Unchecked carbon emissions have altered the atmosphere and the resulting climate change is causing record droughts and famines. At the same time, our food supply is being threatened and controlled like never before.  Pesticide companies like Monsanto have patented genetically-modified seeds that can withstand toxic chemicals like the neonicotinoids research has identified as responsible for the destruction of bee colonies and are pushing Frankenfood onto consumers, without GMO labelling.

We are facing a worldwide crisis perpetrated by corporate giants who would extend their corporate rule through the abuse of our Bill of Rights by corporate “personhood” nationally, and globally by “treaties” like the TPP. Citizens, voters, consumers are the losers and we must join together and fight for our right to decent work at a liveable wage, affordable housing, and a safe and nutritious food supply.

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Fossil Fuels, Global Warming, and Climate Change

Climate change is a serious threat to life on this planet. Due to the overuse of fossil fuels, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise causing drought, glaciers to melt, sea levels to rise, the frequency and severity of hurricanes and noreasters like the recent Sandy mega-storm, to increase. We MUST take steps to reverse this trend and turn to greener alternatives such as wind, solar, and geothermal sources of power, which we have in abundance.

The only reason this shift has not occurred is the greed of the billionaire class who own the fossil fuel industry and the collusion our government through the subversion of our democracy and the capture of our regulatory agencies. The core reason for this is corporate “personhood” which has been abused by the corporate world to claim they have rights equivalent to human beings. This must stop. Take a look at the videos below for some graphic and serious explanations of the impact of global warming and what we can do to stop it and check out Move to Amend for more information about corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” and what you can do to help pass a constitutional amendment to end these two illegitimate legal doctrines that have hampered environmental progress at every turn.

Peace or Profit: Violence as Commodity

We honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of non-violence as well as recognize the 3rd year anniversary of the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.  Many times, especially in the aftermath of violence like the recent school shootings, it is difficult to see the big picture and the interconnectedness of events, as we are overwhelmed by sorrow and a marrow-deep feeling of helplessness, and at first blush, these two symbolic dates may seem unrelated.  They are not.

We recognize Dr. King’s birthday because he is a powerful symbol for peace and non-violent protest and we recognize the anniversary of Citizens United because it is a symbol of how out-of-control corporate influence and the pursuit of violence for profit is in this country.  The theme today is “Peace or Profit:  Violence as Commodity.”  We chose this title to highlight the fact that this is indeed the choice and that there is a bigger pattern at play that needs to be illuminated. We can choose peace, or we can choose to allow runaway corporate profiteering off violence in all its forms: endless wars, weapons, defense contracts, the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on workers, the war on homeowners, the war on women and minorities, the war on the earth.

Some would say that we have peace here in America because we so aggressively protect our country from terrorism, but the truth is we are at war in the Middle East because of corporations protecting their oil interests and their profit margin and because they make billions from war itself.  But corporations are also at war with the citizens of this country, and anyone is expendable in the pursuit of profit.

Achieving peace requires treating people and the earth with respect, a willingness to share wealth, and cooperation that can come from only a democratic system based on fairness, a level playing field, and the rejection of exploitation and violence, including economic violence, which today is being perpetrated by the 1% onto the 99% in a massive redistribution of wealth from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. The corporate elite have subverted our democracy for their own uses and have distorted it into a plutocracy.

The corporate world and the military-industrial complex profit greatly from, and are addicted to, violence, which has been turned into a commodity to be traded and sold for the profit of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Violence, exploitation, and coercion are hallmarks of unbridled capitalism and greed, and corporate greed for profit is poisoning our society by nurturing sociopathy and turning the entirety of civilization and the earth itself into a perpetual war zone.

What are we to do about this?  Many solutions are being proffered to address gun violence and campaign contributions, but while getting money out of politics and instituting some limits on the selling of any gun to anyone, are examples of how corporate abuse of our democratic system could be stemmed somewhat, there is a larger problem:  corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.” This goes back much further than the 2010 Citizens United decision, to 1886 in fact, when the Supreme Court declared in Southern Pacific Railroad v. Santa Clara County that corporations are “persons.” Since that time, thousands of subsequent decisions have reinforced this misguided notion and allowed corporations to exploit this illegitimate status by claiming they have “rights” under the Bill of Rights, which was meant exclusively for actual people, not artificial entities like corporations, which are legal fictions. The end result is we now have corporate rule of every aspect of our lives.  Let me give you an idea of the scope of the problem.

The Corporation controls:

  • Our industry – small mom and pops and independent businesses have increasingly been taken over by large corporations like Wal-Mart and the laws have been re-written to favor them
  • Our banks – small, independent, local banks have been taken over by huge multinationals who have engaged in criminal practices that have crashed domestic and foreign economies and who continue to illegally foreclose on homeowners
  • Our energy sources and policy – big polluters fight greener alternatives, such as solar, wind, geothermal, rapid transit, while receiving government subsidies to continue to pollute
  • Our healthcare –big pharma pushes Rx drugs, insurance companies and hospitals are run as for-profit enterprises, research is corrupted, biotech companies patent life forms, including human genomes
  • Our food supply – agribusiness dominates with their use of GMO’s, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives=denatured, poisoned food
  • Our natural world – oil drilling and oil spilling in sensitive, pristine areas, fracking and destroying aquifers, spewing CO2 from industrial plants, slashing and burning the rainforest, dumping nuclear waste in the ocean, toxic waste in landfills, clearcutting forests, mountaintop removal mining
  • Our airwaves – corporate giants have taken over major networks: GE (NBC), Disney (ABC), Westinghouse (CBS), Time-Warner, individual media moguls like Rupert Murdoch control huge markets (FOX Networks, 20th Century FOX, etc.) and Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting Network) while simultaneously fighting to end public television and radio, which is one of the only independent alternatives
  • The Internet – Internet Service Providers like AT & T, Verizon, Time-Warner track usage, attempt to curtail or eliminate access, pressure the FCC for authority to control online activity, back bills like SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA
  • Our drug policy – corporate interests support the “war on drugs”, thereby perpetuating a black market and violent cartels and the criminalizing of substances like marijuana in order to maximize profits from legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco)
  • Our foreign policy – big oil, industrial giants who produce fuel, weapons, and equipment foment and profiteer from wars as they receive giant government contracts
  • Our commons – corporations bankrupt local governments, convert and take over public land, property, and infrastructure for private purposes and corporate gain; exploit natural resources—minerals, forests, oil, water–for private profit with no concern for environmental and health consequences while paying no royalties
  • Our government – Congress, the White House, and the Courts

1. Lobbying and the revolving door – corporations manipulate congress, regulatory agencies for the benefit of private enterprise to the detriment of the taxpayer and voter

2. Elections – corporations buy elections by funneling huge donations into campaigns while trying to suppress the vote of those who would oppose them

3. Representatives and justices – corporations buy influence by campaign contributions, perks, junkets

4. Legislation – corporations support and even write laws that benefit corporate interests rather than the interests of the people and fight passage of laws that would protect the citizenry

5. Ballot Initiatives – powerful corporate interests promote ballot initiatives that are often wolves in sheeps’ clothing that serve their interests at the people’s expense while dumping huge sums of money into defeating others like the tobacco industry did with Prop 29 in CA June 2012.

Corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” are at the core of this systemic sickness of profiting from violence, exploitation, and the stripping away of the constitutional rights of real people that has infected not only our nation but our world.  There have been plenty of attempts to try to legislate campaign contributions, as well as environmental rights, workers’ rights, gun control, protect our food supply, and many other issues, all to no avail because the corporate world can and does litigate all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary on the basis of their supposed “rights” as “persons” being abridged or denied.  “Personhood” was the prize they sought back in the 1800’s because they knew it would enable them to challenge every single law that local, state, or federal governments tried to pass to limit their abuses and protect the economy and the citizenry.

For example, money as “speech,” which was expanded upon in Citizens United, is based on the First Amendment, to which corporations have been enabled to claim they have a right because they have been recognized by the Supreme Court as “persons.”  This decision allowed corporate interests representing the 1% to contribute millions of dollars in this last election cycle and will continue to allow the outright buying of elections and representation until we pass an amendment to the Constitution correcting this misappropriation of personhood standing to artificial entities, because any legislation that is passed will be struck down by the courts until “personhood” that was wrongly awarded to corporations is abolished.

People who are aligned with corporations will be the last to acknowledge the clear choice between profit or peace and that violence has been turned into a commodity by corporate greed, but eventually even their denial will be shaken I believe as the dark side of the corporate world is exposed to the light of day. The recent shootings reveal this to an excruciating degree as weapons and munitions manufacturers profit exponentially in the wake of these tragedies like Newtown, something they bank on and which they work to ensure through organizations like the NRA.

The TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership “treaty”, also known as NAFTA on steroids, is another extreme current example of the insidious overreach of corporations and the extent to which they have infiltrated and control both major parties and run, and will even trump, government if TPP passes, as it will institute corporate world government where corporate tribunals will have the final say. It is vital that the public be made aware of these attempts to circumvent democracy and nullify the will of the people and the fact that nothing short of a constitutional amendment will remedy these abuses of power and unrelenting attacks on our freedoms.

Though the process is difficult and requires a sustained effort, the fix to the massive amount of problems we face is elegantly simple because all of them are traceable back to the abuse of the misguided notion of corporate “personhood.” Once this is corrected, laws can be passed to regulate corporate excesses and they will stick, because there won’t be any basis upon which to challenge them. Our non-partisan organization, Move to Amend, is building a grassroots movement towards this end, and keeps its eye singlemindedly on the goal of returning the power to the people via constitutional amendment to end corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.”

Our government has been bought and has allowed the corporate world to monopolize every sector of our economy and commit unspeakable crimes against humanity and the environment while escaping all accountability, paying no taxes, shipping our jobs overseas, and bankrupting our country while getting government contracts, subsidies, and bailouts. All of this has been made possible by the expansion of the unconstitutional concept of corporate rights. This insanity has to end.

Honoring peace, remembering our dead who are victims of all the forms of violence, and finding solutions means not only addressing the immediate crisis, but turning away from violence for profit and illuminating the clear choice between profit or peace by expanding the conversation to all of the ways in which violence is perpetrated, not simply by individuals with guns. We are either building peace and non-violence, or we are destroying it through pursuing profit through violence. As long as corporations and the profit motive rule, we will never have peace.

We must amend the Constitution to end the corporate takeover that has allowed the wealthy elite to ruin our economy, strangle our democracy, commodify and profit from violence and destroy our society, our country, and our world.  Join us at Move to Amend in reclaiming our democracy by working for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” so that we may build a healthy society and world not based on profit, but on peace!

Is a Cure Coming? Marijuana Compound Stops Aggressive Cancers | Care2 Causes

One of the biggest reasons legalization of cannabis continues to be fought so hard is because Big Pharma wants to synthesize, monopolize, and capitalize on it and its use.  But from what I understand, it is the full complement of natural cannabinoids that are especially effective; just as in all synthesized and rarefied drugs, something vital is lost in the process.  If we had access to pure, natural food, spices, and herbs (like cannabis) instead of the irradiated, pesticide, hormone, preservative-laden GMO Frankenfood the corporate world wants to foist on us, there would be little need for all of these drugs, because our immune systems would be healthy and capable of warding off disease.  But then, how would a poor pharmaceutical CEO and his 1% employers, the drug cartels, and their corrupt governmental enablers survive  if they weren’t profiting off of the ill health of the 99%?!

Is a Cure Coming? Marijuana Compound Stops Aggressive Cancers | Care2 Causes

FreePress.net | No More Media for Murdoch

On the heels of the election, Obama’s FCC chairman is set to relax the rules for the likes of Rupert Murdoch.  Despite his rhetoric, Obama  and his pick for Chairman, Julius Genachowski, have done nothing to break up the media monopolies and now appear poised to attempt a big Christmas giveaway to the scurrilous media mogul Murdoch by relaxing the FCC rules even further than they were under Clinton.  This must be stopped—the FCC rules need strengthening and enforcing and these media takeovers stopped, not enabled! If it goes through, our news will be even more managed and manipulated than it is now. Take action by going to:

FreePress.net | No More Media for Murdoch

The Corporate World State?

dollar-eye

The outrageous Trans-Pacific Treaty being pushed by the Obama Administration, if it passes, will outlaw local, state, and even national efforts to protect food, air, water—all our natural resources—as it simultaneously bestows the corporation with more power than even nation-states and disembowels democracy.   Very telling is the fact that the negotiations for this multi-national treaty have been conducted in secret, and the only reason any of us know what is in it is the fact that some of the document thankfully leaked, revealing the brazen agenda of the 1% behind this coup.

Nothing more urgently requires our attention at the present time than this treaty and the loss of civil liberties because together, they form a frightening picture of world government a la The Corporation who, armed with new powers to control, exploit, and force its will on people as well as on the earth, will be virtually unstoppable since citizens are being stripped of our rights and disempowered.  The U. S., predictably, is leading the way for the most extreme provisions of this “agreement” between governments (over the will of their respective peoples) of New Zealand, Peru, Chile, and Vietnam, among others, and is attempting to add as many countries as possible to the list, including China.

We the People must wake up and end this attempt at world domination NOW; otherwise I fear we will lose all of our freedoms and ability to affect not only our lives but the fate of the planet, permanently.  Nothing emphasizes the urgency of a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate “personhood” and ties it to every effort to reclaim our right to a safe and healthy environment, or any kind of a life, more than this treaty.  It is imperative that we make sure that the dark motives behind it are exposed and that we abolish corporate personhood; otherwise this is just a preview of similar power grabs we can expect in the future.

We must stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Occupy the next meeting in San Diego which takes place the week of July 2-10–OCCUPY TRADE AGREEMENTS !

Democracy NOW covered this story on June 14–please watch and pass on this link:

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/6/14/breaking_08_pledge_leaked_trade_doc

The Corporation Controls Your Life

After I heard David Cobb of Move-to-Amend speak last summer, I got to thinking about all the multitude of ways in which the Corporation has invaded and taken over our lives.  Here is a list of how far-reaching the problem is and why it is of such overriding importance that we ban corporate “personhood”.

The Corporation controls:

  • Our industry – small mom and pops and independent businesses have increasingly been taken over by large corporations like Wal-Mart and the laws have been re-written to favor them
  • Our banks – small, independent, local banks have been taken over by huge multinationals that have engaged in criminal practices which have crashed domestic and foreign economies
  • Our energy sources and policy – big polluters fight greener alternatives, such as solar, wind, rapid transit, while receiving government subsidies
  • Our healthcare –big pharma pushes Rx drugs, insurance companies and hospitals run as for-profit enterprises, research is corrupted, biotech companies patent life forms, including human genomes
  • Our food supply – agribusiness has squeezed out individual farmers and threatened our health with their use of GMO’s, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives=denatured, poisoned food
  • Our airwaves – corporate giants have taken over major networks: GE (NBC), Disney (ABC), Westinghouse (CBS), Time-Warner, individual media moguls like Rupert Murdoch control huge markets (FOX Networks, 20th Century FOX, etc.) and Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting Network) while simultaneously fighting to end public television and radio, one of the only independent alternatives
  • Our drug policy – corporate interests support the “war on drugs”, thereby perpetuating a black market, violent cartels, and the criminalizing of substances like marijuana in order to maximize profits from legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco)
  • Our foreign policy – big oil, industrial giants that produce fuel, weapons, and equipment foment, support, and profiteer from wars as they receive giant government contracts
  • Our commons – “Too big to fail” corporations bankrupt local governments, convert and take over public land, property, and infrastructure for private purposes and corporate gain; exploit natural resources—minerals, forests, oil, water–for private profit with no concern for environmental and health consequences of citizens while paying no royalties
  • Our government – Congress, the White House, and the Courts–through:

1. Lobbying and the revolving door – in order to manipulate congress, regulatory agencies for the benefit of private enterprise

2. Elections – in order to buy elections by funneling huge donations into campaigns

3. Representatives and justices – in order to buy influence by campaign contributions, perks

4. Legislation – support and even write legislation so that it benefits corporate interests rather than the interests of the people

5. Ballot Initiatives – powerful corporate interests promote ballot initiatives that are often wolves in sheep’s clothing that serve their interests at the people’s expense while dumping huge sums of money into defeating others like the tobacco industry just did with Prop 29

Our government has been bought and has allowed the corporate world to monopolize industry, commit unspeakable crimes against humanity and the environment while escaping all accountability, paying no taxes, shipping our jobs overseas, bankrupting our country while getting government contracts, subsidies, and bailouts.  All of this has been made possible by the expansion of the wrongheaded concept of corporate “personhood” which has allowed them to claim rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to citizens, NOT corporations.   Corporations are mere legal fictions as they are artificial entities.  This insanity has to end.  We must amend the Constitution to end the corporate “personhood” sham once and for all that has been allowed to strangle our democracy and destroy our world.

Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder: Occupy Dollar Bills

I love this idea that Ben & Jerry are promoting of stamping dollar bills with 99% slogans.  This expression of free speech aimed at taking back our democracy is also referred to as “Occupy George” http://occupygeorge.com/.  If I might add my own suggestions:  “Money is NOT Free Speech!”, ‘This Dollar Bill CANNOT speak”, “Money Talks, but it doesn’t SPEAK!”  “Money’s ‘Speech’ is never FREE!”, “Invalid if used to Bribe Politicians or Pay Lobbyists”, “Invalid if used to pay Corporate CEO’s”, “NOT TO BE USED TO BAIL OUT BANKSTERS OR WALL STREET CROOKS”, “On my way to the Cayman Islands!”, “Kiss Me Goodbye, I’m off to the Orient,  along with your JOB”, and “On Temporary Loan by the 1%.”

One person pointed out in his comment on the above article that “Federal Reserve Notes” are not government money (that is, they are not issued by the government) and therefore the law against defacing currency does not apply.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces currency (as well as postage stamps) and the U. S. Mint produces coins; the Federal Reserve produces neither, instead producing only federal reserve notes, which the courts have ruled are “legal tender” and “lawful money”.  So, though a federal reserve note is considered the equivalent of government money, from researching this question it appears that the defacing issue applies more to coins than to paper money, except with regard to altering paper money  in an attempt to defraud (e.g. trying to make a $1 bill look like a $10 bill) or to such an extent that it is rendered “unfit to be reissued”.  See these links for more info:

http://voices.yahoo.com/is-illegal-write-draw-us-money-rules-about-5839668.html?cat=3

http://www.ehow.com/list_6535889_defacing-u_s_-currency-laws.html

http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9613.htm

http://moneyfactory.gov/historicallegislation.html

http://www.richmondfed.org/faqs/currency/

As many of us are aware, there is nothing “federal” about the Federal Reserve because though it is subject to some congressional oversight, it is a privately-owned,  independent central bank, which has the power to make the decision to print money, for instance. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Under_the_Federal_Reserve_Act_of_1913_the_what_powers_do_Federal_Reserve_banks_have  What is interesting is that while our paper money used to read “silver certificate” across the top, as it used to actually be redeemable for silver from the U. S. Treasury, these stopped being printed in 1964 and were replaced by federal reserve bank notes which had “national currency” written across the top until 1971, when they were replaced with the federal reserve note which reads “Federal Reserve Note”.

There is a movement to end the Federal Reserve  and put the power to create money back in the hands of the federal government and out of banksters’ clutches. Dennis Kucinich has authored a bill toward this end titled the “National Emergency Employment Defense ( NEED) Act”.  You can read more at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/01/kucinich-bill-seeks-to-end-the-federal-reserve/. The following link to a YouTube video also brings up some important points regarding the printing of paper money and its relation to debt and how it would be advantageous for the government to take back the role of again printing money. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tr5BbH6X8s&feature=colike

Amazing, how the more “federal reserve notes” the Fed prints, the less the 99% benefits.  The idea of “Occupying Dollar Bills” is brilliant in my opinion and I’m going to order me some rubber stamps!

Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder: Occupy Dollar Bills