The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is the latest plan of conglomerates to strengthen their grip over the planet.
viMay 10, 2013 |
A corporate world order is emerging, and like any parasite, it is slowly killing off its host. Unfortunately, the “host” happens to be the planet, and all life upon and within it. So, while the extinction of the species will be the end result of passively accepting a corporate-driven world, on the other hand, it’s very profitable for those corporations and their shareholders.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the latest corporate-driven agenda in what is commonly called a “free trade agreement,” but which really amounts to ‘cosmopolitical corporate consolidation’: large corporations dictating and directing the policies of states – both nationally and internationally – into constructing structures which facilitate regional and global consolidation of financial, economic, and political power into the hands of relatively few large corporations.
Such agreements have little to do with actual ‘trade,’ and everything to do with expanding the rights and powers of large corporations. Corporations have become powerful economic and political entities – competing in size and wealth with the world’s largest national economies – and thus have taken on a distinctly ‘cosmopolitical’ nature. Acting through industry associations, lobby groups, think tanks and foundations, cosmopolitical corporations are engineering large projects aimed at transnational economic and political consolidation of power… into their hands. With the construction of “a European-American free-trade zone” as “an ambitious project,” we are witnessing the advancement of a new and unprecedented global project of transatlantic corporate colonization.
In a 2006 article for Der Spiegel, Gabor Steingart suggested that, “to combat the rise of China and Asia,” the “role NATO played in an age of military threat could be played by a trans-Atlantic free-trade zone in today’s age of economic confrontation.” With the possible “addition of Canada,” the US and EU “could stem the dwindling of Western market power by joining forces… [which] would inevitably lead to a convergence of the two economic systems.” In a process that would likely take decades, “a mega-merger of markets” would send a “new message” to the East, to “ serve as a fortress.”
During the worst of the initial financial and economic crisis in January of 2009, Henry Kissinger wrote an article for the New York Times in which he noted that America’s “prescription for a world financial order has generally been unchallenged,” though the crisis had changed this, as “disillusionment” became “widespread.” Nations now wanted to protect themselves from the global markets and thus, become more independent. Kissinger warned against this, proclaiming: “An international order will emerge if a system of compatible priorities comes into being. It will fragment disastrously if the various priorities cannot be reconciled… The alternative to a new international order is chaos.”
Kissinger noted that the economic world was “globalized,” yet the political world was not, and in the midst of “political crises around the world” accelerated by “instantaneous communication,” the political and economic systems had to become “harmonized in only one of two ways: by creating an international political regulatory system with the same reach as that of the economic world; or by shrinking the economic units to a size manageable by existing political structures, which is likely to lead to a new mercantilism, perhaps of regional units.” President Obama’s election victory was an “opportunity” in “shaping a new world order.” But that opportunity had to become “a policy” as manifested through “ a grand strategy.” A central facet to that grand strategy would include the strengthening of the “Atlantic partnership,” which “will depend much more on common policies.”
Some four years later, former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski praised the “enormous promise” in the new transatlantic agreement, “It can shape a new balance between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceanic regions, while at the same time generating in the West a new vitality, more security and greater cohesion.” Not worth mentioning, apparently, was that this was all about “cohesion” of power interests. In the same speech where Brzezinski endorsed “greater cohesion” between the U.S. and the European Union, he criticized the EU for being “ a Europe more of banks than of people, more of commercial convenience than an emotional commitment of the European peoples.”a Large Corporations Seek U.S.–European ‘Free Trade Agreement’ to Further Global Dominance | Alternet.
It is common knowledge that the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest in the world. This Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, to make the ocean “safer for both wildlife and humans,” the Atlantic must reduce its sodium content from 3.3% to 2.4% over the next five years.
“As the Atlantic is the biggest offender in the war against salt, it was only natural that it would be the first target on our list,” claims a senior EPA ecologist. “We realize that the Atlantic faces many issues: oil pollution, trash build-up, pelicans…however it is our sincere belief that salinity is the first problem the Atlantic must address. We’ve come to this conclusion mainly because it was our committee’s decision.”
Salt Water Fish to wear Saltine patches!
Though the reduction was applauded by public safety advocates, residents of the Atlantic ocean are not pleased. This includes coral reefs, fish, and a dude on a houseboat. The Middle Oceanic Fraternal Order of Seahorses and Related Species (or MOFOS, as it is more commonly known) is an opposition group which has been vocal about what they see as an encroachment of their basic rights as oceanic inhabitants. “This aggression will not stand!” shouts their spokesperson, the dude on the houseboat.
In a letter published by The Atlantic (no relation), the Atlantic Ocean defended itself in its own words:
“I feel that I’m being very unfairly targeted by the EPA’s mandate. The Pacific Ocean is nearly double my size, and the Dead Sea is nearly twice as salty, and yet I’m taking all the guff. Is it merely a convenient coincidence that both The Dead Sea and the Pacific Ocean are major contributors to the campaigns of several top-level appointees in the EPA? You be the judge!”
A coffin ship was the name given to the ships that carried Irish immigrants escaping the effects of the potato famine. These ships, crowded and disease ridden, with poor access to food and water, resulted in the deaths of many people as they crossed the Atlantic. While coffin ships were the cheapest way to cross the Atlantic, often more than half of the passengers died during the voyage. It was said that sharks could be seen following the ships in packs because so many bodies were thrown overboard.
There are always going to be exceptions to the rule and in the case of the Jeanie Johnston we have a ship with a record that by 19th century standards was to be envied. A coming together of a ship’s doctor, a ships master/captain and a ship’s owner who tried their best to deliver their passengers to the new world and never lost a life.
The 408 ton cargo ship was purchased in Liverpool by John Donovan and Sons of Tralee, Co. Kerry. As the famine gripped Ireland, the company ran a successful trade bringing emigrants from Ireland to North America and returning with timbers bound for the ports of Europe.
The Jeanie Johnston made her maiden voyage on 24th April 1848 from Blennerville, Co. Kerry to Quebec with 193 passengers on board. Over the next seven years the ship made 16 voyages to North America carrying over 2,500 emigrants safely to the New World. Despite the seven week journey in very cramped and difficult conditions, no life was ever lost on board the ship – a remarkable achievement which is generally attributed to the ship’s captain, Castletownshend-born James Attridge and the experienced Ship’s Doctor, Dr Richard Blennerhassett.
he Jeanie Johnston boasted just a single main deck and a poop deck, housing its travellers in very cramped bunks. It offered few comforts on the hazardous journey, which usually lasted about two months, but it was also far removed from the infamous “coffin ships” most notably associated with the thousands of emigrants who perished on the transatlantic voyages in 1847.
The emigrants on the Jeanie Johnston were berthed below deck in the steerage area, where temporary accommodation was rigged up for them, and they were expected to provide their own bedding. They were pressed tightly together in tiny spaces – four to a six foot-square bunk, with two children counting as one adult! It is difficult to visualise that, on one trip, the stalwart ship carried a total of 254 passengers. These brave Irish souls paid the fare of £3.10 shillings to make the heroic journey to the “New World”.
The makeshift quarters used by the emigrants were removed when they disembarked in North America, enabling the ship to perform its secondary role of transporting vital supplies of food and timber back to Ireland on its return journey.
The passengers onboard the Jeanie Johnston has to make do with very limited food provisions during their treacherous journey. They were expected to bring some food on board with them, and also required to provide their own cooking utensils and to cook for themselves. This meant queuing up for a turn on the only stove, located on the main deck, and if the weather was bad, the family would go hungry that day or be reduced to eating raw flour or meal.
The shipping legislation of the times shows how meagre were the weekly provisions allocated to the emigrants onboard:
21 quarts water
2½ lbs bread or biscuit
5 lbs oatmeal
2 ouzes tea
½ lb molasses
Despite the extremely cramped and primitive conditions by today’s standards, the Jeanie Johnston was a well run and humanely operated ship which cared as best it could, in the most difficult circumstances, for the fleeing emigrants.
Its enviable record (in the context of 19th century transatlantic voyages) of not having lost a single life to either disease or illness at sea was largely due to the great efforts of Dr. Richard Blennerhassett, supported by the humanitarian attitude of the ship’s master, Captain James Attridge. The doctor would ensure that hatches were open every day when possible, that the bedding was aired, the accommodation below deck was kept as clean as possible and that everyone would be encouraged to take a walk on deck each day unless the weather was too rough.
In this regard, the Jeanie Johnston differed from many other ships of the time in that it employed a highly reputable and experienced doctor. In their frequent letters of appreciation to Captain Attridge following their voyage, the passengers also singled out Blennerhassett for praise.
It is also worth remembering that even when the ship met its final end, no lives were lost. In 1856, she was sold as a cargo ship to William Johnson of North Shields in England, and two years later when en route from Quebec (Canada) to Hull (England) with a cargo of timber, she ran into trouble in the mid-Atlantic. Overloaded and waterlogged she sank, but not before all aboard were rescued by a passing Dutch ship. The Sophie Elizabeth, preserving her unblemished safety record.
The Jeanie Johnston holds a powerful spot in Irish folklore because in a time when many people died on immigrant boats, she never lost a passenger.
via IrishAbroad | Blogs.
via IrishAbroad | Blogs.