31 May 2016

Brexit "beneficial" to trade: committee

The Blog

According to a British Parliamentary committee report, leaving the European Union could actually put Britain at certain economic advantages.

Various media have pointed out the battle of often inaccurate "claims and counter-claims made by both the leave and remain sides", as Treasury Select Committee Chairman Andrew Tyrie MP termed them.

The video below from 38 Degrees shows the endless trading of truths, half-truths and exaggerations by the two campaigns over the future of Britain and the EU.

Tyrie acknowledged, "the Committee confined itself to looking at economic costs and benefits. But this is only part of the story. For some, other issues are more important. As the founder of Leave.eu put it, for him: "this isn't about pounds and pence, it's about democracy"."

The "In" campaign tends to prey on economic fears. Head of Labour's "In" campaign Alan Johnson MP stated, "The economic evidence isn’t so much piling up as becoming a landslide: leaving Europe would hurt Britain’s economy." Anti-democratic war criminal Tony Blair said just holding the EU membership referendum itself is an "enormous economic problem".

However, there are actually strong arguments that leaving Europe would be economically wise and put Britain on a path to restoring its much-depleted international influence and wealth.

Britain outside the EU could enjoy what Tyrie called "potential beneficial opportunities". As the report stated, "high-quality trade agreements with countries like China, India and the United States" may become increasingly possible to sign after the United Kingdom is no longer constrained by EU regulations and dedication to the European market.

It is certain that there would be a major international realignment if Britain was outside the European Union. Whether Britain will become closer to the American regime or be pushed further away from it towards friendlier relations with emerging economies such as China is not clear.

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US regime "corporate rule" to continue

The Blog

With the final contest for the seat of United States President likely to be fought out between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the outcome will only be more continuous "corporate rule" by a hideous regime driven by endless greed.

This is the picture drawn by Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) writer Kevin Carson. Immanuel Wallerstein holds a similar position on electoral politics, viewing it as unavailing as any means of transforming the world-system.

Other political writers similarly diagnose the US "democratic" political system to be fake, much as its press freedom is a fraud and any meaningful criticisms of the regime's barbarism and war crimes are continuously redacted from newspaper and television by government cronies. The revolving door between all US corporations, "NGOs" and government departments makes them essentially fronts for the regime in Washington.

As concluded by Carson at the end of a clever analysis authored on 28 May:
...on all the issues most fundamental to keeping us from having [human-friendly economy of small-scale]  — the transportation subsidies, intellectual property,” the global Empire and permanent warfare state — the two parties are almost indistinguishable. I don’t know — one party may give us a form of corporate rule that’s somewhat more bearable than the other. But either way it will be corporate rule, without a doubt.
Predicting none other than a continuation of endless war and the subsidization of greed corporations by the US regime no matter who wins the White House, Carson states of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively, "American politics isn’t divided between a Party of Working People and a Party of Big Business. It’s always been divided between two Parties of Business that serve two somewhat different but overlapping segments of the capitalist class."

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27 May 2016

Intellectual property, secrecy, and death

The Blog

Known for likening the use of patents to exploitation, murder and terrorism, C4SS writer Kevin Carson points out that Monsanto is hiding behind intellectual property to conceal its responsibility for deaths. Desperate to prevent consumers knowing about deadly ingredients in its herbicides, the company needs secrecy.

Most opponents of Monsanto's Roundup chemical product believe glyphosate is carcinogenic - a claim refuted in various scientific studies. The scientific community believes glyphosate is safe, although this says nothing for the safety of Roundup itself, which still accompanies a high rate of cancer among workers.

As reasoned by Kevin Carson at the Center for a Stateless Society website:
legally, Monsanto is required to make public only the active ingredient — glyphosate — itself. In fact the “inert ingredients” are all trade secrets, legally protected by so-called “intellectual property.”
Carson also writes, "the existence of legally protected trade secrets is a weapon against the health and welfare of the public, depriving them of any knowledge of the nature of toxic chemicals they may be exposed to". He compares this with the behavior of companies and governments surrounding shale gas production, writing that in this industry various proprietary ingredients are "also kept secret from the potentially affected public by “intellectual property.”"

In this analysis, libertarian "free market" advocates such as Ronald Bailey at Reason who defend Monsanto's freedom from the apparent cruelties of consumer rights, labeling and transparency are acting hypocritically. While supposedly triumphing individual rights, such libertarians are effectively cheer-leading the state while it crucifies individuals, blindfolding them and refusing them any right to know what is harming their health.

Carson writes such immoral rules do not constitute a "libertarian legal order", where, "given the prevalence of cancer like non-Hodgkin lymphoma among agricultural workers exposed to Roundup, there would long ago have been lawsuits in which Monsanto was compelled to disclose the full list of ingredients in Roundup".

Whether or not glyphosate is the danger, Roundup and the quantities it is used in should be suspected for as long as the apparent connection to cancer still exists.

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Memorial Day for the military's victims

The Blog

Writing ahead of Memorial Day in the US, Garrison Center director Thomas Knapp asked Americans to think about the victims of the US government's violence too.

Noting that modern states "murdered more than 260 million human beings in the 20th century alone", the author reminds us to remember not only people who died for governments but the far vaster number killed by them for dumb reasons.

Noting the terror inspired by the US military around the world now, Knapp concluded in his post:
We occasionally see a flag-draped coffin, or encounter an amputee on the street, but our concerns with, for example, terrorism, simply aren’t in the same league as the reasonable fears of those around the world living with American planes and drones constantly overhead or American troops on their streetcorners
This Memorial Day, let’s set aside a moment to think about them.
The 260 million figure offered by Knapp excludes soldiers killed in action in the wars of the 20th Century, and is six times greater than the number of dead troops in those wars. It includes victims of genocides committed around the world by untenable regimes.

In the current century, the greatest civilian losses in wars are caused directly by the US government and its allies in the Middle East and other poor regions. The greatest example now is the war in Syria, waged by the US government as part of its strategy to overthrow foreign governments and replace them with "friendly" regimes.

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