20 Years of NAFTA Show Why TPP Must Be Stopped

Excerpts, The Raw Story – ” The post-NAFTA era has been marked by growing inequality, declining job security and new leverage for corporations to attack government regulations enacted in the public interest.

But it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Back in 1986, when the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico began talks on a regional trade deal that eight years later would culminate in the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), they sold the pact to the public as an economic win-win for all parties involved.

On signing the treaty in 1994, then-President Bill Clinton said, “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.” He promised that NAFTA would result in “an export boom to Mexico,” and claimed that such trade deals “transcend ideology” because support for them “is so uniform that it unites people in both parties.”

Twenty years later, we can test how those claims panned out in the real world. And Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch did just that, releasing a comprehensive study of NAFTA’s impacts…

Shortly after NAFTA, we did a very detailed dig to find all the promises of US producers who made very specific claims before the treaty was signed that ‘if NAFTA passes, we will add X number of jobs.’ So we went and looked at the federal government’s Trade Adjustment Assistance database and we found that company after company — big US manufacturers like Chrysler, GE, Caterpillar — that promised to create specific numbers of US jobs instead were offshoring thousands and thousands of US jobs to Mexico, and then they were bringing the product back into the country and selling it. It was still their US brand name, but made with much lower wages in Mexico.

The trade data are very telling. The year before NAFTA, the United States had a small trade deficit with Canada — about $20 billion dollars — and a slight surplus of $2 billion dollars with Mexico. Now, 20 years later, we have almost a $200 billion dollar trade deficit with those countries. So the surplus with Mexico turned into a huge, huge deficit, as all those companies relocated there to produce goods with lower wages.

And this Trade Adjustment Assistance database is really fascinating. There are 845,000 specific US workers who are certified under just this one narrow program as having lost their jobs since NAFTA to trade with Mexico and Canada. And you’d be surprised at the kinds of companies you see. In the beginning it was a huge wipeout of the auto sector, textiles and apparel, and appliances. But now it’s computers, it’s clean manufacturing of computer chips, high-end electronics, aircraft – these are high-end, high-tech, well-trained, well-paid jobs. The so-called jobs of the future are all being offshored.

Even if you didn’t lose a job, what we’ve found with this study, and, more importantly, what economists, including those who supported NAFTA originally, found is that shifting a million well-paying jobs out has an effect economy-wide on wage levels and on income inequality.” Full Article on The Raw Story

Related Content & Links

The Council of Canadians – “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is 12-nation (and counting) free trade and corporate rights deal that is being led by the United States but also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand, The Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining the talks, which would eclipse the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the ways democracy would be constrained in the interests of multinational corporations.

Of the 26 chapters currently being negotiated in the TPP, only two have to do with trade. The other 24 deal with issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.

The TPP is also considered a geopolitical weapon of the U.S. government, which is trying to isolate China in the Asia-Pacific region, and to block alternative, and more successful, forms of development than the “free trade” model has to offer. But the TPP is being resisted by people across all participating countries because of how it will lock-in a myopic type of corporate globalization that is the main cause of runaway climate change and which has done little to create good, sustainable jobs or reduce poverty worldwide. People working across borders fought and defeated the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Our goal is to make sure the TPP suffers the same fate.”

via MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF)

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines.

While I was searching for more information on the TPP and work that is being done at our local Santa Teresa point of entry, I came across this interesting pdf from the White House…

U.S. – Mexico
21st Century Border Management

Realizing the Strategic
National Value of our Trade,
Tourism and Ports of Entry
with Mexico

“A renewed focus by the United States and Mexico on economic cooperation and efforts by Congress to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico offer a number of opportunities. The proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 proposes the addition of 3,500 additional Customs and Border Protection officers to staff the ports of entry to be funded by a newly created Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund. In addition, S. 178 and H.R. 1108, the Cross Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2013, aim to facilitate enhanced staffing but also infrastructure improvements at ports of entry via alternative financing mechanisms such as public-private partnerships. Legislation such as this is necessary in order for the United States to take full advantage of NAFTA’s potential as well as the next generation of trade agreements, including the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which have the potential to significantly enhance North American competitiveness for decades to come.” Full Report Available Here

More information on the planning/development and work along the US-MX border can also be found here -

Evidence: Stock Market Crash is Coming

The latest from StormCloudsGathering – “We’re getting very close to a stock market crash. In this video we go into the technical evidence.”

Poland Confiscates Half Of Private Pension Funds To “Cut” Sovereign Debt Load

Well, just s’long as financial dealings like this stay way ——-> over there in other countries, it’s all good, right? Surely American money/accounts/funds are safe & can never be touched…

Before It’s News- “While the world was glued to the developments in the Mediterranean in the past week, Poland took a page straight out of Rahm Emanuel’s playbook and in order to not let a crisis go to waste, announced quietly that it would transfer to the state – i.e., confiscate – the bulk of assets owned by the country’s private pension funds (many of them owned by such foreign firms as PIMCO parent Allianz, AXA, Generali, ING and Aviva), without offering any compensation. In effect, the state just nationalized roughly half of the private sector pension fund assets, although it had a more politically correct name for it: pension overhaul.

By way of background, Poland has a hybrid pension system: as Reuters explains, mandatory contributions are made into both the state pension vehicle, known as ZUS, and the private funds, which are collectively known by the Polish acronym OFE. Bonds make up roughly half the private funds’ portfolios, with the rest company stocks.

And while a change to state-pension funds was long awaited – an overhaul if you will – nobody expected that this would entail a literal pillage of private sector assets.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings.  The funds would effectively be left with only the equities portions of their assets, even this would be depleted, and there will be uncertainty about the number of new savers joining.

But why is Poland engaging in behavior that will ultimately be disastrous to future capital allocation in non-public pension funds (the type that can at least on paper generate some returns as opposed to “public” funds which are guaranteed to lose)? After all, this is a last ditch step which no rational person would engage in unless there were no other option. Simple: there were no other option, and the driver is the same reason the world everywhere else is broke too – too much debt.

By shifting some assets from the private funds into ZUS, the government can book those assets on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving it more scope to borrow and spend. Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said the changes will reduce public debt by about eight percent of GDP. This in turn, he said, would allow the lowering of two thresholds that deter the government from allowing debt to raise over 50 percent, and then 55 percent, of GDP. Public debt last year stood at 52.7 percent of GDP, according to the government’s own calculations.

To summarize:

  1. Government has too much debt to issue more debt
  2. Government nationalizes private pension funds making their debt holdings an “asset” and commingles with other public assets
  3. New confiscated assets net out sovereign debt liability, lowering the debt/GDP ratio
  4. Debt/GDP drops below threshold, government can issue more sovereign debt

Full Article at ZeroHedge

Barcelona Squatters Occupy Buildings Taken Over By Banks

“The social acceptance of what it means to occupy an empty building belonging to a bank that has also been rescued with public money has changed. In most cases when it comes to court the judge says it’s not a crime . . . we think the law will change. It’s common sense that where people are evicted and the banks have all these buildings that are empty, with no function . . . well, if they don’t give them some kind of use, then we will find a use for them.”

Excerpts, Irish Times – “In Barcelona’s medieval Raval neighbourhood, renowned for much of the 20th century as the hub of the city’s drug, prostitution and crime underworld, a cloth with an anti-bank slogan painted on it flaps in the breeze on the facade of a renovated building in the recently gentrified Plaça del Pedró.

Inside, in a sparsely furnished one-room apartment on the third floor, a photograph taped to a wall shows a suntanned, sporty-looking blonde in a black swimsuit reclining seductively across the bow of a luxury boat. She is gazing at the camera with confidence and a touch of nonchalance, as though secure in the expectation that life will always be this good.

Tania Hidalga (39) is the pin-up girl. Today, coughing relentlessly, she sits wearily on a donated second-hand sofa and looks across at her former self of seven years ago. “Yes, that was me, that was life then,” she says softly, between gasps. “Another world, eh?”

She was once the proud owner of an apartment on the Costa Brava near Empuriabrava, one of the largest marinas in the world, but Hidalga’s comfortable life fell apart after she lost her job as an administrative assistant in 2010.

Humiliating journey


Her relationship ended – her partner owned the boat – and she was evicted last year for not paying her mortgage after her 10 months of dole entitlement ended. She describes a humiliating journey between then and now.

For eight months she lived in a homeless shelter and depended on a nearby church for handouts of groceries. Nights were spent in fear: “There were drug addicts, criminals, prostitutes all living there. But that’s not me. I’m not a criminal – I’m a worker. I want to work and earn my living.” Her physical and mental health suffered severe setbacks. Now, she says, she is starting all over again in the Raval.

Anyone looking closely at No 5 Plaça del Pedró, however, will notice something unusual. The original lock on the building’s front door has been ripped out and replaced, and each studio- apartment door bears the marks of a cutter where the lock has been changed. Hidalga is not renting this flat. She is not even supposed to be here. But in July she and three similarly homeless families, with the help of housing lobby the Platform for Mortgage Victims (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, known as the PAH) broke into the vacant building, now owned by Caixa Banc, and took up residence.

“When we were moving in, the neighbours were all there supporting us and cheering us on – they even helped us,” says Hidalga, her eyes welling up as she proudly points out her fridge-freezer, bed and sofa, all donations from the local community…”

“…Hidalga and her new neighbours are the post-boom squatters, occupying one of 13 bank-owned properties taken over by the platform in Catalunya and used to house people who have been evicted after getting into mortgage arrears. Such occupations are illegal, acknowledges Gala Pin (32), a spokeswoman for the housing lobby, but she distinguishes this kind of takeover from typical squatter invasions.

“We are of course influenced by the squatter movement but there are two big differences: we always occupy buildings that belong to banks, or to big firms; and are always trying to negotiate with the owners in order to try to [pay] a social rent.”

The six-storey building was renovated by a property speculator who subdivided it into studios for short-term tourism rentals but who failed to get permission for the modifications. It lay empty for three years before falling into the hands of Banco de Valencia, which merged with Caixa in July.

The platform organises these occupations not as a first option but as a desperate last resort, says Pin.

Civil disobedience


“The law says it’s illegal but the platform practises civil disobedience only when there are no more alternatives. This is a tactic, a technique that has been used in the history of humanity for changing laws that were not fair. So maybe it’s illegal – but it doesn’t mean that it’s not legitimate.”

She points out that Banco de Valencia was bailed out with the help of €3 billion in public money, later supplemented by €4.5 billion from the Spanish government’s Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring. The platform is now trying to negotiate with Caixa Banc in order to secure the occupants’ tenancy at reasonable rent..” Full Story And Another Video On Irish Times

Like A Phoenix: Power Beyond The Fall

So…you want a revolution, eh? Pissed off…fed up…you know bad things are going bump in the night but don’t know which way to turn for help when officers are murdering people – and pets – all over the place. Your government representatives have gone deaf and blind. Your online activity is not only not private, but can and will be used against you in court…doors are getting bashed in, your milk is no longer legal, your neighbors can vanish and be indefinitely detained & families are being terrorized by armed and masked SWAT men in the middle of the night…

It is time to do something…NOW!!

Enough is enough!! Our founding fathers would not have stood for this and neither should we!! 

The time for a revolution is at hand…!

Or is it..?

Continue reading

The Fuck-It Point; When Is Enough…Enough?

The video below is a short and very powerful film about the darker side of life inside that which we call ‘civilization’. I wonder how we can consider ourselves civilized when our lives are so permeated with death, violence & destruction? Is it civilized to stomp out any and all life forms that happen to either provide something we need or stand in the way of the things we want?

Are we truly enlightened beings if we are willing to obliterate any culture or way of life that is not the same as ours? I don’t think we really are. We say we have ‘advanced’ as a species but is this REALLY true? Would beings who have truly advanced be willing to live inside a bubble that enslaves them? Enslaves others?

Most importantly, would advanced and knowledgeable beings continue to build, live inside of and participate in a system that guarantees their own destruction and the destruction of their entire life support? Doesn’t it seem odd that this is exactly what we do? We act more like spoiled children – taking, taking, taking and throwing temper tantrums & lashing out at anyone who dares to take our toys – than any kind of being with enlightened or advanced way of thinking/acting. What are we going to do when we’ve not only broken all of the ‘toys’ but completely obliterated the toy factory as well?

While I don’t believe in climate change the way it is being sold to us right now, to deny that we are not doing irrevocable damage to every part of this earth is both naive and dangerous. Just as we cannot cure our diseases with medicines that cause even more illness and disease, we cannot continue to mend the damage of technology and machines by creating still more machines and technology.  Spraying pollutants into the sky which interfere with our weather patterns in the name of saving us from ‘climate change’ (re: changing weather patterns) is insanity, pure and simple. And yet, that is exactly what we do

So when will enough be enough?

 Would you defend your children from harm? If so, then isn’t preventing them from living on a destroyed and desolate planet filled with hunger and hardship, defending them from harm?

What lengths would you be willing to go to in order to preserve ALL life and leave it intact for future generations?

Have YOU reached your Fuck-It Point?

Caging The American Dream

$$$

We can only be kept in the cages we do not see.

The Story of Your Enslavement

$$$

The American Dream…Nightmare

How much did you borrow to build your own cage?

$$$

Now, tell me…

Are you really free..?

The Taxman SWAT

It was really only a matter of time until the IRS got their very own SWAT teams, wasn’t it? Next thing you know someone will come up with this crazy notion that citizens ought to be imprisoned for their debts…

Nah, that’s far too outrageous of a thought…it would never happen…again…right?

Riiiiiight.

Sourced From RT – Published: 22 March, 2012 -

The US Internal Revenue Service is calling on the big guns to help clampdown on companies shifting earnings from country to country to lower the amount of taxes that are owed to the US government.

The group which is being dubbed an IRS “Swat Team,” is attempting to thwart the technique known as “transfer pricing.”

The issue has been on the agency’s radar since last May when Samuel Maruca took the role of the transfer pricing director.

The position which didn’t exist before the arrival of Maruca, has been a demanding gig. The goal is to put an end to the thriving practice of companies evading global tax responsibilities.

According to Reuters, the major players include worldwide corporations that are continuously exchanging properties, services and resources from one subsidiary to another in different countries.

Full Story Here on RT

So far as I’m concerned, Johnny Paycheck sums it up best -

The JP Morgan Way…

From: LeakSourceArchive:

 The NYPD has arrested over 700 protesters who were occupying the Brooklyn Bridge in what could very well be a defining moment in the battle for freedom and liberty in America.

The police apparently corralled the protesters (depending on whose story you believe) onto the Brooklyn Bridge and then started their arrests of American citizens protesting the very banks that have destroyed this country from within.

The NYPD is essentially doing the dirty work for the banks, which makes complete sense when you consider the fact that JP Morgan actually FUNDS The New York City Police Department.

That’s right, the very police department that has been filmed numerous times beating and macing the Occupy Wall Street protesters has received a considerable amount of money from the very banks that the protesters are targeting!

This is an obvious conflict of interest that the NYPD and corporate controlled media do not want you to know or talk about.

Obviously there are good people on the NYPD force but how are we supposed to believe that the NYPD as a whole just wants to protect their city when they are funded by the very banksters being targeted by the Occupy Wall Street protests?

JP Morgan Press Release http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Home/article/ny-13…

Sovereign Currency

Opening remarks by Bill Still at the Bromsgrove Monetary Reform Conference in Bromsgrove, UK, Oct. 29, 2010

Ignoring The Consequences

Read and occasionally paraphrased from an article Written By: Silver Shield
Titled: Top 5 Places NOT To Be When The Dollar Collapses
http://dont-tread-on.me/

JP Morgan The Prison Warden?

A man was arrested for attempting to cash a check the teller claimed was fraudulent…in spite of the fact the check was issued by the same (JPMorgan/Chase) bank where he was trying to cash it. There was never any evidence to suggest the check was a forgery, no justification for police action whatsoever. No attempt was made to verify the check; no retribution or compensatory damages have been paid for the loss of his transportation and livelihood.

Isn’t it nice that police acted on only the word of a corporate pissant teller and by neglecting to do their duty and actually investigating anything,  they assisted in ruining an innocent man’s life – without being held liable for their actions. I hope the teller, the police department and Chase bank get sued to hell & back but am not naive enough to believe any kind of justice will actually be done.

Oh and people…

THIS is what a corporate police state looks like for those of you who still might not clearly see where this country is headed, here’s another glimpse at what the future holds for us.

Banker Piggies To Add $5 ATM Fee

Nice ATM

Image via Wikipedia

OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!

And yet…so not surprising considering that JP Morgan is probably one of the biggest hogs at the banking trough…

From Business Insider
“JP Morgan has started testing $5 fees in Illinois and $4 fees in Texas for withdrawals at Chase ATMs by non-Chase customers, the WSJ reported.

They aren’t alone — this is reportedly symptomatic of the whole industry, which is changing their ATM policies to earn more fees to replace the cash lost in other areas of a retail bank because of FinReg.

According to the WSJ, “Dodd-Frank is limiting some charges that banks can slap onto consumer accounts, and they’re making up for it in other ways… scrambling to replace billions of dollars in revenue expected to be lost from new federal regulations on overdraft charges and debit cards.”

How depressing. The regulations installed to help the man and woman on the street, are now working against them.

And in case you think you’ll be immune because you’re not with Chase, apparently out of the $7.1 billion banks earned last year in fees, $3 billion was garnered from charging their own customers for using another bank’s ATM.”