Lord Acton asserted nearly two centuries ago that “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”
While I find this observation to be apt, it is decidedly incomplete. It’s not only that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but also that positions of high authority have an overwhelming propensity to attract the corruptible. Sociopaths driven to dominate are motivated by a seething ambition that the rest of us simply cannot identify with.
In the 1960’s, Alan Watts discerned that:
“…nobody is more frightened of anybody else than a tyrant. He sits with his back to the wall, and his guards on either side of him, and he has you face downwards on the ground because you can’t use weapons that way. When you come into his presence, you don’t stand up and face him, because you might attack, and he has reason to fear that you might because he’s ruling you all. And the man who rules you all is the biggest crook in the bunch. Because he’s the one who succeeded in crime. The other people are pushed aside because they — the criminals, the people we lock up in jail — are simply the people who didn’t make it. So naturally, the real boss sits with his back to the wall and his henchmen on either side of him.”
Thus we can begin to conjure the philosophical reasons for the problems of the world that Socrates and Aristotle debated over two-thousand years ago: Why is it that our governing institutions are plagued with corruption to the point that fraud, depravity and exploitation seem not to be bugs of the system, but programs inherent within the system itself? Why is the emergence of ethical and benevolent leaders so incredibly rare?
Part of the problem stems from the fact that the greedy typically stop at nothing in their ruthless pursuit of power, while the wise avoid it altogether. The truly wise recognize this world for the illusion that it is, and cultivate that which is truly important for the nourishment of their soul, and material wealth and physical power simply don’t fit into that perspective. So the wise retain an extreme aversion to the pursuit of power because wisdom is inherently without greed; meanwhile, the greedy gravitate upward into positions of power and bring into being a plethora of problems because greed is inherently without wisdom.
With the internet age catapulting the evolution of human culture and ideas into today’s intimidating exponential acceleration, the possibility finally exists for the last vestiges of the old paradigm to finally fall away, including their manifestations which include parasitism, dominance, morality, war and predation. As professor Robert Solomon observes, the emergent paradigm has the possibility of a human society predicated upon the edicts of truth, loyalty, justice and freedom.
I would respectfully suggest that for this new paradigm to materialize as more than mere philosophical musings on the blogosphere, and become a concrete reality that can be seen and touched in the physical world, that the wise must change their paradigm as well, and pursue the throne for the benefit of all beings. Until that happens, the greedy, for whom wealth and power are endless pursuits, will take ever more power, resources, and wealth, and impoverish the rest of the world until they are forced by an extinction event or a mass revolution to cease their looting of the planet. The addictions of wealth, possessions and power are like salt water – the more one partakes of them, the thirstier they become – trying to fill the inner void with these unskillful means inexorably expands the void. And right now, the biggest imperial expansion in written human history is underway.
It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and if you’re unfamiliar with it you might want to start asking yourself why you’ve never heard of it. Because behind those seven syllables of banality, those three innocent words, is a cleverly disguised iron fist of biblical proportions.
For many who have heard of it, the Trans-Pacific-Partnership has been sold by the Associated Press and Reuters as nothing more than a casual business deal as boring as it is innocuous. A cleverly orchestrated smokescreen of financial jargon and obfuscating legalese is drawn to calm the masses and appease the public who are wooed to complacency on the promise that the TPP has nothing to do with us.
Meanwhile, a steady campaign of apocalyptic headlines is pumped into our consciousness to distract us from the biggest corporate power grab ever, as the emergency headlines of confederate flags, ISIS attacks in Paris, and the unadulterated puerility of Donald Trump are beamed into the consciousness of the nation. Thus few have heard of the TPP or are familiar with how its passage promises to usher in a state of fascist dictatorship the scope and magnitude of which have never been witnessed on planet Earth before.
While we’re meant to think that this so-called “trade deal” is solely concerned with the mutual lowering of tariffs, it’s really a corporate ownership agreement that will change every facet of our lives. The TPP will change our laws in favor of a global legal system that caters to corporations and which is presided over by corporate lobbyists. The allowance of corporations to sue governments for impeding on their projected profits by means of secret trade tribunals is perhaps one of the most diabolical effects of the TPP. If a country has any kind of regulations on industry intended to protect environmental or social health, the corporation can sue the country for a loss of projected profits, as Philip Morris did against Uruguay last year for the country’s tobacco regulations. But under the TPP, we can expect this kind of lawsuit to become commonplace. As former Secretary of Labor under Clinton Robert Reich wrote earlier this year:
“The TPP also gives global corporations an international tribunal of private attorneys, outside any nation’s legal system, who can order compensation for any ‘unjust expropriation’ of foreign assets.”
As Joyce Nelson of Live Leak expains:
“Now the TransPacific Partnership – which is being called “NAFTA on steroids” – would award Big Pharma and other multinationals even more corporate “rights” in more countries, including the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism by which they can sue signatory governments for regulatory changes that affect their profits.
“As the Canadian website rabble.ca notes: ‘The Canadian government is currently being sued through NAFTA by Eli Lilly, an American pharmaceutical company, for invalidating the firm’s patent extensions on two mental health drugs. A Canadian Federal Court decided in 2010 that the patent extensions had not delivered the promised benefits and the drugs should therefore be opened up to generic competition. Generic drugs significantly reduce the cost for end users, but Eli Lilly cried foul and launched an ISDS claim against the government, demanding US$500 million in compensation for lost profits. The case is still in progress, but regardless of the outcome we can expect the TPP to lead to similar ISDS disputes. Powerful multinational pharmaceutical companies will use any available means to cling to over-priced drug monopolies. Greater intellectual property protections in the TPP will give these companies an even stronger quasi-legal basis to sue governments and crowd out generic [drug] competition.’”
Following the recent publication of the TPP’s 30 chapters, Ralph Nader, referring to the TPP as “the most brazen corporate power grab in American history,” explained the trade tribunals in more detail to journalist Chris Hedges:
“It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws…The TPP removes legislative authority from Congress and the White House on a range of issues. Judicial power is often surrendered to three-person trade tribunals in which only corporations are permitted to sue. Workers, environmental and advocacy groups and labor unions are blocked from seeking redress in the proposed tribunals. The rights of corporations become sacrosanct. The rights of citizens are abolished.”
And attorney Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance told Hedges:
“The TPP creates a web of corporate laws that will dominate the global economy. It is a global corporate coup d’état. Corporations will become more powerful than countries. Corporations will force democratic systems to serve their interests. Civil courts around the world will be replaced with corporate courts or so-called trade tribunals. This is a massive expansion that builds on the worst of NAFTA rather than what Barack Obama promised, which was to get rid of the worst aspects of NAFTA.”
This trade deal could make any form of dissent or protest illegal, since any open act of defiance can be construed as an impediment to a corporation’s “projected earnings” and is therefore eligible for lawsuit under the ISDS provisions. But that isn’t the only way in which protesting the New World Order may become impossible with this new system of law.
Recognizing how the free flow of information threatens corporate hegemony, the TPP also promises to censor and control the internet, something the corporations failed to accomplish with all of their previous internet control bill attempts, illustrating how determined these people are to never accept “no” for an answer regardless of how much resistance they encounter from the people. When they pushed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) the internet community rallied together and shouted “No!” Then they pushed PIPA (Protect IP Act) which failed due to popular resistance. Then they created CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) and the internet community shut them down again. Then they pushed ACTA down our throats (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and again, the reaction was no different. Legislative attempts to shackle the free flow of information have failed because the internet community has consistently stood up and denounced internet control. But as long as the same corrupt bureaucrats who cooked up these schemes remain in power they will they will never stop their attempts to censor the internet, and the TPP provides them the legal loophole they need to bypass our parliamentary process altogether, effectively nullifying whatever popular resistance emerges as a result. As the Guardian’s Evan Greer reported earlier this month:
“TPP even prescribes a mechanism for that censorship to occur. A section that can best be described as “Zombie-Sopa”, due to its similarity to the failed Stop Online Piracy Act, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to play “copyright cops” and create systems for hastily taking down internet content upon a copyright holder’s request, even without a court order.”
Many ISPs such as Charter Communications are already playing the role of “copyright cops,” spying on their users activities and enabling armies of lawyers and lobbyists to threaten to sue their customers whenever the potential to monetize copyright infringement presents itself. Now the TPP codifies this borderline criminal activity into law at the expense of every internet user, and in-turn threatens to abolish free speech through a clever alteration of conceived copyright rules, as Greer also explains:
“One provision demands that TPP member countries enforce copyright terms 70 years after the death of the creator. This will keep an immeasurable amount of information, art and creativity locked away from the public domain for decades longer than necessary, and allow for governments and corporations to abuse copyright laws and censor content at will, since so much of what’s online will be subject to copyright for decades.”
In short, the TPP is a complete power grab nightmare that is so much worse than anyone could have predicted; a veritable wish-list for corporations tired of playing by the rules, sick of adhering to environmental standards, and no longer willing to tolerate the ridicule for their slave-labor practices around the world. Of all the corporate threats to humanity, the TPP constitutes the most egregious menace yet conceived, and it will transform our world into a totalitarian travesty devoid of any constitutional protections or basic human rights.
Chris Hedges summarizes how the TPP will change our world inside out:
“Wages will decline. Working conditions will deteriorate. Unemployment will rise. Our few remaining rights will be revoked. The assault on the ecosystem will be accelerated. Banks and global speculation will be beyond oversight or control. Food safety standards and regulations will be jettisoned. Public services ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to the post office and public education will be abolished or dramatically slashed and taken over by for-profit corporations. Prices for basic commodities, including pharmaceuticals, will skyrocket. Social assistance programs will be drastically scaled back or terminated. And countries that have public health care systems, such as Canada and Australia, that are in the agreement will probably see their public health systems collapse under corporate assault. Corporations will be empowered to hold a wide variety of patents, including over plants and animals, turning basic necessities and the natural world into marketable products. And, just to make sure corporations extract every pound of flesh, any public law interpreted by corporations as impeding projected profit, even a law designed to protect the environment or consumers, will be subject to challenge in an entity called the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) section. The ISDS, bolstered and expanded under the TPP, will see corporations paid massive sums in compensation from offending governments for impeding their “right” to further swell their bank accounts. Corporate profit effectively will replace the common good.
“The TPP is part of a triad of trade agreements that includes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA, by calling for the privatization of all public services, is a mortal threat to the viability of the U.S. Postal Service, public education and other government-run enterprises and utilities; together these operations make up 80 percent of the U.S. economy. The TTIP and TiSA are still in the negotiation phase. They will follow on the heels of the TPP and are likely to go before Congress in 2017.
“These three agreements solidify the creeping corporate coup d’état along with the final evisceration of national sovereignty. Citizens will be forced to give up control of their destiny and will be stripped of the ability to protect themselves from corporate predators, safeguard the ecosystem and find redress and justice in our now anemic and often dysfunctional democratic institutions. The agreements—filled with jargon, convoluted technical, trade and financial terms, legalese, fine print and obtuse phrasing—can be summed up in two words: corporate enslavement.”
I implore whoever is reading this to not give in to the phenomenon of learned helplessness that the system has beaten into all of us, perpetuating the myth that there is nothing we can do about this. we need to shatter this presumption, because like the elephant who learns over time through classical conditioning that being tied to a tiny twig in the ground constitutes unconditional immobility, these limitations exist solely in our imagination. It’s obvious to us that a seven-ton elephant is more than capable of freeing itself from a flimsy twig, but the elephant, having been tied to a tree at an early age, was conditioned from infancy not to question its human authorities. Nevertheless, the limitation is a figment of the imagination, and so it goes with societal obedience to the established oligarchical regime. If the people ever wake up to the power of the swarm, it could spark a global big-bang movement capable of changing the course of history away from tyranny’s predictability.
And don’t fall into the mental trap that the buck stops with the parliamentary circus of our congressional representatives; even if most of them weren’t payed off by the corporations that fund their campaigns, they couldn’t do anything about this even if they wanted to, because of fast-track authority enables President Obama to sign the agreement before Congress even has a chance to debate it. Hedges continues:
“The TPP, because of fast track, bypasses the normal legislative process of public discussion and consideration by congressional committees. The House and the Senate, which have to vote on the TPP bill within 90 days of when it is sent to Congress, are prohibited by the fast-track provision from adding floor amendments or holding more than 20 hours of floor debate. Congress cannot raise concerns about the effects of the TPP on the environment. It can only vote yes or no. It is powerless to modify or change one word.”
However we conceive the world creates the reality we see around us, but the first step is getting informed. So whatever you do, don’t give into the learned helplessness that suggests there’s nothing you can do about any of this, because that’s the television talking. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. There is still time to stop the TPP/NWO, but if it passes, resistance to it will define daily life for those of us who simply cannot accept the annihilation of the indomitable human spirit. If you don’t do something, you are complicit in whatever happens.
Openly opposing and preventing the TPP are just the beginning, however. If our previous experiences with internet control bills tell us anything, it’s that our owners will never take “no” for an answer. Even if we can somehow prevent the TPP’s passage, the oligarchs will draft another document that will be negotiated in secret and they will not stop until they have successfully dominated every square inch of every continent, every penny of every dollar, every action of every body, and every thought in every mind. The time has come for an explicit rejection of every system, product and personality contributing to the paradigm that is destroying the planet and every life upon it.
Gabrielle Lafayette is a journalist, writer, and executive producer for the Outer Limits Radio Show.
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