Tag Archives: China

Why the Corporate Friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Really About Containing China’s Rise

By Christine Ahn, AlterNet, January 14, 2014

Thomas Friedman once said the hidden hand of the market needs the hidden fist of the military. The TPP and the Obama administration’s Pacific Pivot pack both.

The struggle for food sovereignty in the Pacific got a major boost last December when Billy Kenoi, mayor of Hawai’i’s Big Island, signed a law that prevents farmers from growing any new genetically engineered crops (with the exception of papaya). This follows a successful push on Kauai, at the other end of the islands, to force large growers to disclose the pesticides they use and which genetically engineered crops they are growing.

This is a major step in the battle for more ecologically sustainable agriculture in Hawai’i, which has suffered for over a century under the heavy weight of U.S. corporate and military domination.

Yet like other local, state, and national regulations intended to protect the public and the environment, these anti-GMO laws can be swiftly overturned if President Obama signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the world’s most ambitious and far reaching free trade agreement yet. On January 9, the U.S. Congress introduced “fast-track” legislation allowing the Obama administration to sign the TPP without undergoing public debate. Fast-track authority would grant the White House the power to speed up negotiations, while giving Congress only 90 days to review the TPP before voting.

The TPP spans 12 countries — including the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam — comprising 40 percent of the world’s economy. Like nearly all trade agreements signed since NAFTA, the TPP is almost to certain to allow multinational corporations from anywhere in the bloc to sue governments in secret courts to overturn national or local regulations, such as Hawai’i’s recent GMO laws, that could limit their profits. So it’s not just Hawai’i’s food sovereignty that’s at risk.

“This is not mainly about trade,” explains Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade.” More than 600 corporate lobbyists representing multinationals like Monsanto, Cargill, and Wal-Mart have had unfettered access to shape the secret agreement, while Congress and the public have only seen a few leaked chapters….

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More complaints about China

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 12/7/13

BEIJING, December 6 — A US diplomat who wished to remain unidentified followed up on Vice President Biden’s December 5 complaint that China is censoring journalists and the Vice President’s remark that “Innovation thrives where people breathe freely, speak freely, are able to challenge orthodoxy, where newspapers can report the truth without fear of consequences.”

In addition to making life difficult for journalists, the anonymous diplomat said, the Chinese political system is insufficiently representative, allowing wealthy insiders to exercise inordinate influence, even to the point of using their personal fortunes to influence legislation and running their own campaigns to gain public offices.

Furthermore, he said, while in office corrupt officials take jobs as lobbyists and steer lucrative contracts toward their own family members and friends, and after leaving office become lobbyists for influential firms.

He also touched on relations between demographic groups in China. “The Chinese do not give full educational and economic opportunities to minority groups, make it harder for certain groups to participate in political life, and allow women have less influence and pay than men. How can anyone in the world respect such a government?” he asked rhetorically.

“Such unfairness makes the Chinese Dream of leading a secure and dignified existence within a self-supporting family unit unattainable for many,” the diplomat added, “And this undemocratic truth is a threat to the very fabric of Chinese life and society.”

His far-ranging remarks also attacked China for exerting military power to attain its foreign policy objectives and further its economic interests. “They even fly aircraft into disputed air space and have a growing commercial and military presence in Asia and Africa. This is truly shocking to those of us who respect our neighbors and would never dream of invading and occupying other countries.”

“No wonder they don’t want journalists poking around in their business,” he concluded.

No Associated Press reporters contacted for this article would answer questions by email or phone, even anonymously, citing past government collection of AP reporters’ messages. One reporter, met in a parking garage, said “James Clapper is watching, but don’t quote me.” New York Times journalist James Risen and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger also declined to comment, citing the US and British government threats of prosecution and jail time against them.

Reporter Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Edward Snowden revelations, said he said only that he prefers to stay in Brazil for fear of arrest if he returns to the US. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past two years, said: “I’d welcome a chance to visit Brazil, or Russia, or China.”

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, Nathaniel Smith, Satire

Hobby Lobby v. ethical consumerism

Hobby Lobby v. ethical consumerism

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by | December 5, 2013 · 3:24 pm

China Announces ‘Occupy America’

The Borowitz Report, 10/28/11

Mysterious Movement’s Goals Unclear

BEIJING (The Borowitz Report) – The Chinese government raised eyebrows around the world today by announcing a mysterious national movement called “Occupy America.”

In a brief statement, the Chinese government said that while Occupy America was “not exactly a protest movement,” its effects would be felt in “every city, town and Wal-Mart in America.”

Hinting that the movement had widespread support in China, the statement said that Occupy America “would have the full participation of approximately 1.3 billion Chinese.”

At the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the goals of Occupy America “remain unclear,” adding, “The official policy of the U.S. government towards things we don’t fully understand is to do nothing.”

Later, after a phone call with Chinese officials, Secretary Clinton said she came away feeling reassured: “They told me that Occupy America actually started thirty years ago.”

Elsewhere, to mark the Statue of Liberty’s 125th birthday, police across the country beat up protesters.

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