Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Gay-Marriage Wild Card (And Other Ways Our Government is Smoke Screening the TPP)

In what has been referred to as a "landmark" decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday morning that gay marriage is now legal in all 50 United States of America. Facebook erupted with celebration upon hearing the news. Both the gay community and most of the liberal community have been ecstatic. Facebook even quickly came up with an App that tinted people's profile pictures with rainbow gay-pride colors.

This was a "big win" for President Obama. In fact, it was the second big win to happen in just two days. On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision in the controversial 
Affordable Care Act and also cleared up any ambiguity in the law that would allow future Republican administrations to twist interpretations in a way that would justify changes to the law. This means Obamacare has successfully secured itself as the "law of the land" for the unforeseeable future.

Obama has, indeed, been looking good in the news lately. Aside from the Supreme Court rulings, he just recently attended the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims in the recent South Carolina church shootings carried out by 21-year-old Dylan Roof. Obama gave a moving eulogy and concluded it with what World News Tonight David Muir called a "powerful moment" where Obama started singing "Amazing Grace". His singing was a tad out of tune, but the rest of the predominantly black crowd eventually started singing along with him and applauded at the end.

So, yes, Obama seems to have a Midas touch lately - at least, that's how it appears in the mainstream media. I, however, would argue that Obama's recent amazing, near-saintly actions are possibly nothing but shallow political theatrics providing a smoke screen for other objectives. Sounds kind of harsh, right? I know it may, but keep in mind that, as of 2008, Obama was against gay marriage:

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage."
- Obama in an interview with MTV circa 2008 

At some point, Obama flip-flopped his stance on gay marriage, and I don't think it was because of a change of heart; it was because of a change in political strategy. 'Phony' might be an extreme word here, but let's just say Obama's a typical politician willing to compromise his own personal beliefs for the sake of politics. Okay, maybe that is phony.

Before I proceed, I don't want to come off as insensitive when it comes to the nationwide legalization of gay marriage. In fact, when it comes to this issue, I can't believe it took so long for the Supreme Court to make such a ruling. It was an issue that - in my opinion - got needlessly debated to death, basically to the point of turning into an unhealthy public distraction. People are going to love who they love so let them marry whoever they love! It's a no-brainer that never should have been debated for as long as it was.

The same goes for the recent Confederate flag controversy. I mean no disrespect to the victims of the horrific South Carolina church shootings, but even blacks are starting to call the Confederate flag debate a needless distraction (read about this HERE). On one hand, yes, the flag offends certain people, but - on the other hand - we need to acknowledge that there ARE people out there who want to fly the flag around and first amendment rights really prohibit us from doing anything about it. If people want to fly the flag and don't care about alienating and/or making black people feel uncomfortable, what can you do about it in America, land of free expression? This is a debate that could go on forever and there's no way for either side to win it entirely (unless we violate 1st amendment rights, which sets a bad precedent). In the end, the perpetual debating becomes a time-consuming diversion, a diversion that - I would argue - is being used by the Obama administration to wag the dog, so to speak, divert our attention away from more important issues it doesn't want us to focus on.

And there are MUCH bigger issues going on right now, lurking right under our nose. But they're hardly making any kind of appearance in the top stories of the mainstream press. 

Case in point: the TPP.

I hadn't even heard of the TPP (
short for Trans-Pacific Partnership) until fairly recently and I would bet that most of the people reading this article haven't even yet heard of it. This is basically because it's too complicated to be covered easily by the mainstream press and therefore too complicated to 'sell' to the public easily. I've honestly read maybe a dozen articles about the TPP and I still hardly understand what it even means. It's not an easy news story to break down and digest. Complicated news stories like these don't get clicks and hits on Internet news blogs, so that means they don't accumulate good advertisement revenue either. Polarizing whose-side-are-you-on stories about Confederate flag controversy, as well as mass shooting stories and "landmark" Supreme Court ruling stories are simpler and sell much better. The problem, however, is that the more complicated news stories are often the much more important stories. 

The TPP is one of these complicated but important stories. In fact, I would argue that it is the most important thing going on right now that you probably haven't heard of. The TPP should be top news.

In layman's terms, the TPP is a "free trade" agreement that will supposedly lift trade barriers (i.e. import quotas and tariffs) so that it's easier for countries in North America and the Asia Pacific region to trade with each other. "Free trade" has always had a good sound to it, but there are hidden ramifications of a treaty like the TPP that could be disastrous for 99% of...well, basically all humankind.

As I mentioned before, I've read article after article about the TPP and it was mostly a bunch of jargon to me. I eventually came across Vermont Senator (and 2016 Presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders' website and found that his explanation of the TPP, along with its aforementioned hidden ramifications, was the easiest to understand:

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world. 
The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process. 
Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests."

On his website, Sanders goes on to explain that the TPP will outsource more American jobs resulting in increased unemployment. American wages will also decrease in attempt to compete with the low wages of labor in places like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is 56 cents an hour. 

Sovereignty in both the U.S. and other countries will be compromised because the TPP will give corporations the ability to challenge any already-existing domestic laws that could get in the way of "expected future profits". In other words, the corporate bottom line becomes the end good for all and any law, restriction or regulation getting in the way of the bottom line is seen to be not only bad but possibly illegal. These lawsuits will be taken to UN and World Bank tribunals (not domestic courts). These international tribunals transcend any domestic (democratically-created) laws and basically make up new laws on their own without any proper democratic process. Say goodbye to any semblance of sovereign democracy. Hello corporate-created global government.

The TPP also gives corporations the right to challenge any environmental laws that may threaten their "future profits". For example, laws regulating logging, pollution, fishing etc. could be deemed illegal because they may get in the way of a corporation's bottom line. 

Also, food safety laws/restrictions could be deemed illegal as well. On his website, Sanders points out that contaminated imports would increase, like fish from Vietnam that has been known to be contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, mercury etc. Tight food inspection only gets in the way of the bottom line. Corporations can sue to lift those restrictions.

Pharmaceutical companies stand to benefit from the TPP as well. The patent-trolling pharma monsters could potentially sue to stop the availability of generic brands of drugs that are cheaper and therefore more accessible to poorer people in poorer nations. With generic drugs out of the way, big pharma companies strengthen their monopolies and can keep their medicine prices high, making them more inaccessible to the poor. This is almost like a sinister form of manufactured Darwinism, weeding out the poor and - in the elite's eyes - less worthy people of the earth.

Even more sickening is the fact that the TPP is unpatriotic and perhaps even treasonous. There are currently laws that require our government to buy goods and services that are made in America or mostly made in America. With the TPP in action, foreign companies will have an equal opportunity to compete for government contracts. This means our government doesn't have to 'buy American' anymore. They can go with the cheaper bidder. This is what free trade is and, while equal opportunity sounds good to the ears, it can also mean throwing all-American, patriotic companies under the bus for the sake of taking a cheaper avenue.

There are way more negative ramifications and probably way more than anybody really knows about, seeing that much of the TPP treaty still hasn't been made public. For blatantly suspicious reasons, the corporate architects of the TPP are keeping most of the treaty confidential. How is it that a treaty kept hidden from the public is being "fast-tracked"? This latter term means that Congress surrenders its power to make amendments to and/or filibuster the 'treaty'. Obama is left alone to oversee the corporations as they write up the treaty on their own terms, which is un-democratic and even dictatorial in nature. All this is going on and nobody's even talking about this in the mainstream news? It's pretty baffling.

The bottom line here (pun intended) is that the corporate bottom line is becoming God, even more than it already is. The majority of human beings on the planet are essentially being conquered by an inhuman entity: the corporation. We could all potentially become serfs like people were in a medieval feudal society but at least in past feudal societies a serf's lord was a human being. In this new feudal society, we will be enslaved to the inhuman corporate bottom line and everything we do must be in line with the best interests of corporate "future profits". Even our freedom of expression, Internet expression, free sharing of information etc. is being threatened by this TPP treaty. Any user-generated content or media-sharing for educational, non-profit purposes could be viewed as a potential threat to "future profits" and be grounds for being sued.

Again, the recent gay marriage ruling is great. But the timing of it, in my opinion, is suspicious. I feel that the Obama administration has been waiting to use the legalization of gay marriage as a wild card for when it needed to smoke screen something unfavorable to the public like the TPP deal. On the surface (and according to mainstream press), Obama is on a roll doing all these great things for the American public. But it's shallow and phony. As I mentioned before, Obama was on record in 2008 literally saying that he was anti-gay marriage:

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage."

But now Obama's literally lighting up the White House with rainbow colors? What??? It's all political theatrics that help "fast track" a crooked TPP deal that Obama's been trying to get rolling for about five years now. 

The gay marriage ruling is, indeed, a good thing and it is progressive but I'm afraid it happened at the time it did to make Obama look great and lead us to believe that everything Obama does is great. So if Obama wants to pass this TPP thing, whatever it is, hell, let him do it! He legalized gay marriage so this TPP deal must be good, too! Right?!

Wrong. It's all trickery. With the revolutionary gay marriage ruling, people are fooled into thinking that the country is finally going in a much better direction than it has been, but the reality is that it's potentially going in a much worse direction. And it's not going in a worse direction because of the gay marriage ruling. The gay marriage ruling is great. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong (sorry if I'm repeating myself but I must make this super-clear lest I get persecuted by the super-left liberals). However, the one step forward our country takes with the nationwide legalization of gay marriage pales in comparison to the hundreds of steps backwards it will take if the TPP gets successfully implemented. 

So don't be fooled. The gay marriage ruling, combined with other distractions like the Confederate Flag debate - not to mention sensational prison break stories in Upper State New York and Bruce Jenner sex transformations etc. - are simply diverting the public's attention away from issues that are way more dangerous than any flag flying high at a State House.

But don't take my word for it. Look into the TPP for yourself. Try to understand it. And please let me know if you understand it better than I do because I'm still confused about many aspects of this convoluted treaty. I'm no genius, but I at least want to TRY and better understand this extremely shady-sounding, snake-in-the-grass TPP thing. In the words of Shakespeare, something is rotten in Denmark.

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