31 July 2014


This interview by Channel 4 of Australian-born Mark Regev, apartheid Israel's spokesperson for the benefit of the general international media is most illuminating - spin, spin, spin!

The following item is from Counterpunch and

 follows directly from the above interview. I 

have asked Counterpunch for permission to

 reproduce this article, but to date 31 JULY

 2014, they have not responded. It is too good

 an article to ignore and needs as much

 publicity as possible, in view of apartheid

 Israel's ongoing war crimes and genocide

 against the palestinians.

JULY 28, 2014 Counterpunch
The Secret Report That Helps Israelis Cover Atrocities

How Israel Spins War Crimes

Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less aggressive than their predecessors, who were often visibly indifferent to how many Palestinians were killed.
There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.
Every one of the 112 pages in the booklet is marked “not for distribution or publication” and it is easy to see why. The Luntz report, officially entitled “The Israel project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary, was leaked almost immediately to Newsweek Online, but its true importance has seldom been appreciated. It should be required reading for everybody, especially journalists, interested in any aspect of Israeli policy because of its “dos and don’ts” for Israeli spokesmen.
These are highly illuminating about the gap between what Israeli officials and politicians really believe, and what they say, the latter shaped in minute detail by polling to determine what Americans want to hear. Certainly, no journalist interviewing an Israeli spokesman should do so without reading this preview of many of the themes and phrases employed by Mr Regev and his colleagues.

The booklet is full of meaty advice about how they should shape their answers for different audiences. For example, the study says that “Americans agree that Israel ‘has a right to defensible borders’. But it does you no good to define exactly what those borders should be. Avoid talking about borders in terms of pre- or post-1967, because it only serves to remind Americans of Israel’s military history. Particularly on the left this does you harm. For instance, support for Israel’s right to defensible borders drops from a heady 89 per cent to under 60 per cent when you talk about it in terms of 1967.”
How about the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled in 1948 and in the following years, and who
are not allowed to go back to their homes? Here Dr Luntz has subtle advice for spokesmen, saying that “the right of return is a tough issue for Israelis to communicate effectively because much of Israeli language sounds like the ‘separate but equal’ words of the 1950s segregationists and the 1980s advocates of Apartheid. The fact is, Americans don’t like, don’t believe and don’t accept the concept of ‘separate but equal’.”
So how should spokesmen deal with what the booklet admits is a tough question? They should call it a “demand”, on the grounds that Americans don’t like people who make demands. “Then say ‘Palestinians aren’t content with their own state. Now they’re demanding territory inside Israel’.” Other suggestions for an effective Israeli response include saying that the right of return might become part of a final settlement “at some point in the future”.
Dr Luntz notes that Americans as a whole are fearful of mass immigration into the US, so mention of “mass Palestinian immigration” into Israel will not go down well with them. If nothing else works, say that the return of Palestinians would “derail the effort to achieve peace”.
The Luntz report was written in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 and January 2009, when 1,387 Palestinians and nine Israelis were killed.
There is a whole chapter on “isolating Iran-backed Hamas as an obstacle to peace”. Unfortunately, come the current Operation Protective Edge, which began on 6 July, there was a problem for Israeli propagandists because Hamas had quarrelled with Iran over the war in Syria and had no contact with Tehran. Friendly relations have been resumed only in the past few days – thanks to the Israeli invasion.
Much of Dr Luntz’s advice is about the tone and presentation of the Israeli case. He says it is absolutely crucial to exude empathy for Palestinians: “Persuadables [sic] won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Show Empathy for BOTH sides!” This may explain why a number of Israeli spokesman are almost lachrymose about the plight of Palestinians being pounded by Israeli bombs and shells.
In a sentence in bold type, underlined and with capitalisation, Dr Luntz says that Israeli spokesmen or political leaders must never, ever justify “the deliberate slaughter of innocent women and children” and they must aggressively challenge those who accuse Israel of such a crime. Israeli spokesmen struggled to be true to this prescription when 16 Palestinians were killed in a UN shelter in Gaza last Thursday.
There is a list of words and phrases to be used and a list of those to be avoided. Schmaltz is at a premium: “The best way, the only way, to achieve lasting peace is to achieve mutual respect.” Above all, Israel’s desire for peace with the Palestinians should be emphasised at all times because this what Americans overwhelmingly want to happen. But any pressure on Israel to actually make peace can be reduced by saying “one step at a time, one day at a time”, which will be accepted as “a commonsense approach to the land-for-peace equation”.
Dr Luntz cites as an example of an “effective Israeli sound bite” one which reads: “I particularly want to reach out to Palestinian mothers who have lost their children. No parent should have to bury their child.”
The study admits that the Israeli government does not really want a two-state solution, but says this should be masked because 78 per cent of Americans do. Hopes for the economic betterment of Palestinians should be emphasised.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted with approval for saying that it is “time for someone to ask Hamas: what exactly are YOU doing to bring prosperity to your people”. The hypocrisy of this beggars belief: it is the seven-year-old Israeli economic siege that has reduced the Gaza to poverty and misery.
On every occasion, the presentation of events by Israeli spokesmen is geared to giving Americans and Europeans the impression that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians and is prepared to compromise to achieve this, when all the evidence is that it does not. Though it was not intended as such, few more revealing studies have been written about modern Israel in times of war and peace.
PATRICK COCKBURN is the author of  The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.

The following video was from Mondoweiss on 30 July 2014 see note below video:

Video: Mark Regev, deciphered

This is good. The video above was created by Alex Nunns, who subtitled a BBC interview with Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev. The interview follows the Israeli bombing of a UN school in Beit Hanoun that killed at least 16 Palestinians.

29 July 2014


For as many years as one can remember, successive Australian governments and politicians on both sides of the political "non-divide" have criticised the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)[or Commission as it was all those years ago] for being too left, too right, too biased, too ..........(fill in whatever words seem suitable) and have tried to reduce funding in the regular budgets and updates in order to bring the ABC to its knees.

So far no politicians have succeeded, but now, at last, at the end of JULY 2014, it seems as if Tony Abbott and his loyal band of morons may have done it at last.

ABC Classic FM has just been decimated, and it seems many other programmes are about to follow suit. Funding has been reduced and costs have to be cut and SBS is no doubt having similar operations as I type!

Is this the way this government is going in Australia - to ruin any pretensions of cultural icons which have lasted until now?

Having lived through the devastation of apartheid South Africa on the media for so many years, are we now going to witness apartheid Australia follow suit?

In the lod days in South Africa we used to use short-wave and tune in to the BBC and other overseas countries in order to find out what was happening in the outside world. It looks very much as if it is happening now in Australia.

There was recently a disaster when a plane was shot out of the sky over the Ukraine. 300 people were killed. In Gaza the Israelis have already killed over 1000 Palestinians and rising, but what do you get on the ABC? Constant bleating about the tragedy of the loss of 300 lives but not an awful lot about the tragedy of well over 1000 lives. Are any of all of these people more "guilty or innocent" than any others? What sort of distorted moralities do our politicians have, and are the citizens of this country so brainwashed that they are unable to do something about it all?

Freedom for Palestine: GazaNames Project

This moving video clip came from Antony Loewenstein's blog on 29 JULY 2014:


No words are needed!

25 July 2014


Dr Philip Nitschke was recently involved with a young man of 45 who wanted to commit suicide.

Dr Nitschke gave the man information and the man committed suicide. The man was neither suffering from an incurable disease, nor was he depressed. He had some problems with which he did not want to go on living, and was looking to control his death in a manner of his choosing.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) apparently had a complaint made to it about the issue and decided to take action. It has suspended Dr Nitschke to prevent him continuing as a medical practitioner and is making an ongoing issue of Dr Nitschke's involvement with the man.

....and guess what?..... the mainstream media have jumped on the issue to stop Exit International's ongoing activities.

Interestingly enough, there were some very supportive letters in The Age newspaper of 25 July 2014, and these are below:

23 July 2014


Look at, watch, listen to, read - any mainstream media - and you could be forgiven for believing there is no such country as Palestine, and there are no such people as Palestinians.

There is a concentration camp - the largest the world has ever seen - and it is called Gaza and it is closely controlled by a police-state regime known as apartheid Israel - and the "terrorists" enclosed in this concentration camp - well over 1 million of them - are all Hamas "terrorists".

There is another concentration camp which is not so gradually being occupied by apartheid Israel, and this one used to be called the West Bank before it became Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory.

The zionists have taken over Palestine and control practically the whole of it, and they have been aided and abetted by the United States of America, the United Kingdom which started the rot in the 1850s or thereabouts, by the whole of Europe and, worst of all, by all the Arab countries in the region.

Zionists who live in these countries, not just those who are not Jewish, don't choose to go and live in the "land of their dreams" Israel, but choose to stay comfortably in their countries of residence, safe from bombs and terrorists of all shapes and sizes.


In our thousands, In our millions, We are all Palestinians


Melbourne: 1pm, Saturday 26 July, State Library

Sydney: 1pm, Sunday 27 July, Town Hall

Brisbane: 2pm, Saturday 26 July, King George Square

Adelaide: 12pm, Saturday 26 July, Parliament House

Perth: 11am, Saturday 26 July, Murray St. Mall


From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free

Time to put a few things into a proper perspective.

Nearly 300 people were killed on a passenger plane in a pure act of terrorism. The media coverage has been enormous and non-stop.

Over 600 Palestinians have been killed and the media coverage has blamed Hamas for the most part while condoning the apartheid zionists of Israel.

Sarah Ferguson of the ABC's television current affairs programme 7.30 interviewed a Hamas representative. Her interview was disgraceful in that she interrupted him all the time, didn't allow him to finish any statements, and harangued him about what Hamas is doing to Israel with its rockets. No David and Goliath in this interchange - would she have conducted a similar interview with one of the zionist apartheid regime's spokespeople? I don't think so!

John Kerry goes to Egypt to try and broker a cease-fire between Palestine and Israel - aka Hamas and zionist state.

Egypt has collaborated with the USA and apartheid Israel by keeping the borders of Gaza sealed, adding to the humanitarian crisis which is the largest concentration camp in the world.

It is time the world stopped their unqualified support for the terrorist apartheid zionist state and brought it to book and accountability for its crimes against humanity which are now too numerous to list!

We also have the inmates taking over the asylum - the USA supports Israel and Egypt and wants Egypt's assistance in trying to broker a "peace" between Palestine and Israel. Spare us the irony and tragedy of the endless circles of  non-achievement because neither Israel, nor Egypt, nor the USA want to achieve a lasting peace by creating a one-state democratic solution to the intractable war in Palestine started by the British government zionists in 1850 and perpetuated by all sides occupying Palestine since then.

21 July 2014


Since Ian Thorpe emerged from his 20-year-old closet there have been several articles written, discussions on radio and television, and much interest shown from some sporting bodies about one of the areas most covered in shame over its ongoing stance on homophobia.

On a previous blog, some while ago, I posed the question as to how is it possible that in a sports code where there are somewhere between 1200 and 2000 players, administrators and others associated with the game, not one person has emerged as a gay, lesbian, transgender person involved in Australian Football League - or as it is popularly known - AFL?

This transcends statistical data and suggest that there are many people associated with AFL living in a closet because of the inherent homophobia, sexism and misogyny associated with that code.

Swimming and tennis have produced some notable exceptions, but that is what they are, exceptions.

Where are all the others, and why are they so intimidated and fearful of openly being who they are.

An example of how homophobia is affecting other members of our communities emerged in a report in a paper a few days ago from a man who appeared in a news item about HIV and AIDS, and who was verbally abused in a shop when some homophobes recognised him from the television programme which had carried the item about HIV and showed this young man. Here is the article:

Article in August 2014 edition of Star Observer
Mitchell Payne
Mitchell Payne
A FEW weeks after Mitchell appeared in a short documentary film about HIV stigma, two men started verbally abusing him while he was grocery shopping.
“I was in the fruit and veg section looking at apples,” he said, explaining the men were speaking loud enough to know Mitchell could hear them.
“They said, ‘isn’t that the guy from the AIDS documentary?’ I thought, okay, here we go…”
The men then said the apples would be spoiled because he had touched them. Finally, much louder again, one of them said: “Dirty AIDS cocksucker.”
“I could believe it was happening, to be honest. I basically just left. I didn’t say anything. Looking back I kind of wish I’d turned around and confronted these people, but in the moment, all I did was thought, I have to leave right now,” Mitchell said.
“Because not only had these people belittled me, they’d also said it loud enough for other people to hear… I didn’t really want to know if anyone was looking at me, because I felt the size of a peanut, just so tiny and insignificant in that moment.”
After so long being out and open as a gay man living with HIV, Mitchell had almost forgotten how deeply hurtful it could be to confront such direct stigma and abuse.
**This article first appeared in the brand new August 2014 issue of the Star Observer, which is now available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra


The next article of interest was in the Sunday Age of 20 JULY 2014 and was about homophobia and sport - as so many homophobia articles are:

Homophobia, and the courage to speak out

July 20, 2014 Sunday Age

Gus Johnston

Former Victorian hockey player Gus Johnston: 'Let's call a spade a spade.'

Photo: Craig Sillitoe  WEB SITE:    www.csillitoe.com

Most people don’t think they’re homophobic. But let’s call a spade a spade. Homophobia is just a fancy word for fear, hate, anger, vilification, discrimination and prejudice. It’s easy for us all to get distracted by the specifics of its definition, but like the sadly commonplace “I’m not racist, but ...”, the frequently pleaded disclaimer, “Oh, I’m not a homophobe” is the all-too common defence of someone who has, in fact, just done or said something completely homophobic. 
Broadcaster Brian Taylor probably doesn’t see himself as homophobic, but yet, last weekend he called Harry Taylor “a big poofter” by way of demeaning him. If I was a young person coming to terms with my sexuality, and fearing that others would not accept me, what specifically am I supposed to think about Brian’s remarks?
As a gay man, I’m ashamed to admit I, too, have been complicit in homophobic behaviour. In the past, when others have used language or done homophobic things around me, how did I respond? Well, quite simply, I didn’t. It was easier to just laugh it off and avoid the social awkwardness of that kind of confrontation. Or probably, in my case, the silence stemmed from a fear that others might assume I was gay - which in fact I was - if I were to call out homophobia. And it’s that kind of silence in sport that allows homophobia to exist.
It’s easy to shoot this behaviour down when it’s broadcast on television, but what about at training, in the locker room or in the crowd where there are no cameras, nor wider public scrutiny. That’s where the damage is done and the problem festers.
I used to play hockey. I was a goalkeeper for 20 seasons. I wasn’t the best, but I was pretty good. I represented Victoria and held a scholarship with the Victorian Institute of Sport for a number of years. I played more than 200 State League One games for the Essendon Hockey Club (winning two premierships and two Best and Fairests along the way). I loved, and still do love, hockey. And like any true love, I made irrational and unconditional sacrifices for my sport. I wanted to be the greatest I could, and I wanted my sport to love me as much I loved it.
But for the best part of 20 years I harboured the secret of my sexuality. I exiled myself from a lot of social activity. I made it part of me. I pretended I had better things to do after the game. But in truth I often just didn’t want to put myself in social situations where relationships or my love life may become a topic of conversation.
Not only did I love my sport, I also loved how it made me feel; important, triumphant, invincible, fearless, a part of something bigger. But the sad reality was that behind closed doors I was sad, lonely, depressed and often afraid. For me it was some strange kind of purgatory, I felt trapped and alone inside a team full of my closest friends. While I began to contemplate suicide on a regular basis, I also continually reminded myself that I couldn’t die, because, well, I’d be letting my teammates down. So I just kept my head down.
At the time, I could think of nothing worse than being ostracised by my sport or being excluded in any way. And with homophobic language so rife, what was I to think? Nothing told me otherwise. It seemed safer to assume I would not be accepted, than to risk it all. Many of my teammates would use derogatory and homophobic language, never imagining anyone within earshot was directly affected by it. But they were. I was. 
I’m not alone either, the recent survey "Out on the fields", which was commissioned by the organisers of the Bingham Cup - the World Cup of gay rugby - tells us just how prevalent hostility toward gay and lesbian participants is within sport. That bullying and exclusion are commonplace. 
In late 2010, at the same time as my retirement from playing, Hockey Victoria, the sport’s governing body, quietly began an initiative called Fair Go, Sport! It was a project done in collaboration with the Victoria Human Rights Commission with funding from the Australian Sports Commission. Even though it was a relatively small initiative designed to promote gender and sexual diversity in our sport, it ultimately had a profound impact on my life. This act of progress helped me realise I could do what I needed to. And so I came out. Posting a video on YouTube to share my experiences and lend my voice to the conversation and send a message.
I wanted to send a message of hope, that we can all overcome homophobia. And even 2½ years since I came out, I don’t think that message has changed. Whether a player, administrator, fan, coach, the greatest swimmer the world has ever known or just a hockey player from Melbourne, with decency, love, respect and the courage to speak up, we all have the power to bring homophobia to an end. Making sport, and the world, a better place.
Gus Johnston played hockey for Victoria.


The following article in The Age of 14 JULY 2014 on Ian Thorpe emerging from his closet is probably a story that has a long way to go before it is played out. At the same time as this story appeared, there was an article by Kerryn Phelps in the Sydney Morning Herald, and judging by the numerous posts on the bottom of the article, there were very many angry people out there against what she had written. If you look up these articles on the web you will be able to decide what your own opinions are on the issue of sportspeople coming out and the timing thereof, but the conclusin must be that there is a great deal of homophobia in our communities!

Money aside, Thorpe's revelation will pay dividends

July 14, 2014

Andrew Webster

Chief Sports Writer, The Sydney Morning Herald


The truth: swimmer Ian Thorpe being interviewed by Michael Parkinson. Photo: Channel Ten
As a gay man, I couldn’t be happier for Ian Thorpe. As a journalist, I have misgivings of his outing as a homosexual with legendary interviewer Michael Parkinson, and its timing.
It does not rest well that Thorpe has decided to talk publicly about his sexuality as part of a reported $550,000 deal with Channel Ten that will see him call swimming at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month.
That deal was hatched by his agent James Erskine, who also manages Parkinson. 
Thorpe has had the opportunity to set the record straight on many occasions.
Numerous biographies - authorised and not - have been penned about his life and career. He’s done documentaries, tell-all interviews, comical press conferences sponsored by Virgin declaring his comeback to the pool.
His message from the Parkinson interview has been cheapened by the fact it is part of a lucrative deal - and comes following reports in recent years of Thorpe’s financial troubles.
The chance to set the truth free, with dignity, has been there for Thorpe for years.
Indeed, the first chance Thorpe had to tell the truth came in 2003, when he sat down with my late, great editor at Inside Sport,Greg Hunter.
After finishing his long tenure at the monthly sport's magazine, Greg was thrust into the role of biographer, and then spent a year toiling over Thorpe’s story.
Greg was the ultimate professional and perfectionist. His editing of profile pieces often left this reporter on the verge of tears.
He was torn about the chapter concerning Thorpe’s sexuality. Specifically, he was concerned about a “Cheryl Kernot” situation.
In 2002, the former leader of the Democrats had published her biography, but it had failed to include one particular detail.
Soon after, Laurie Oakes revealed in his weekly column in The Bulletin that Kernot had failed to mention her extramarital affair while leader of the Democrats with former Labor frontbencher Gareth Evans.
But Greg’s concern went deeper than that.
We discussed Thorpe, at length, on numerous occasions, not least because I was coming to terms with my own sexuality. Greg had been a rock in this time, such was his altruistic manner.
Is Ian Thorpe gay? So many people had asked me, as a sports reporter, if I knew the answer.
I didn’t know. I was staring at the ceiling at night wondering why I was and how I was going to tell my father.
I just knew that if he was gay, and was denying it as much as I had, grappling with the truth, then I felt sorry for him.
In the end, Greg looked Thorpe in the eye, believed his version of events, and then passionately argued with anyone who dared to suggest the young swimmer was anything but heterosexual.
After the book was published, Thorpe told Alan Jones on 2GB he hadn't read it. It subsequently tanked.
The myth of Thorpe's heterosexuality was also perpetuated by many of his minders at that time. They fed the line that Thorpe was very much a ladies' man, in every sense, and laughed at suggestions otherwise.
Maybe those minders were protecting the pot of gold otherwise known as Thorpe Inc. 
Thorpe told Parkinson the fear of commercial reprisals stopped him, in part, from coming out sooner.
He is right.
Ian Roberts, the retired rugby league player who came out in 1995, often laughs at the mere notion of the “pink dollar”.
Whatever misgivings you or I might have about Thorpe's paid coming-out, it should not diminish the importance or significance of our greatest Olympian telling "the world" that he is gay.
Many have shrugged their shoulders in recent days and said, "So what? How is Thorpe’s sexuality anyone’s business? Who cares?"
Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham is right: Thorpe’s public declaration will save lives.
It will make it easier for those who are struggling to come to terms with who they are and where they fit in this world. Thorpe remains outrageously popular, despite his indifference towards being a public figure.
Of all the commentary written in the last few days, two lines stand out.
Said comic Tom Ballard in his column for Fairfax Media on Sunday: “For those who've heard this news and shrug and casually asks ‘who cares?’, I'd simply answer ‘15-year-old closeted me’. Scared, little, questioning Tom Ballard would have cared a lot if nine years ago he'd seen swimming champion and national treasure Ian Thorpe on the news, proudly identifying as a successful sportsman and a bloke who liked blokes.”
And this, from Rob Stott at news.com.au, about criticism that Thorpe has “lied” to us for years, including in his 2012 biography: “He was on his own deeply personal journey. A journey that even the most open-minded, tolerant person can’t understand until they’ve been through it themselves.”
That Thorpe is dealing with this now, at the age of 31, illuminates how far Australian society still has to go, and it extends beyond the Prime Minister's backward thinking about same-sex marriage.
Because it's not easy taking a stand - whether you are paid for it or not.
A month after I came out on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald late last year in response to Knights player Ryan Stig's comparison between homosexuality and the work of the devil, I was having a beer at a Surry Hills pub.
A Sydney FC game was on that night, and many of its fans had filled the bar.
“Webster, you f..king faggot,” sneered one of them as I walked outside.
When I spun around and came back in and asked who'd said it, nobody had a word to say.
Who cares? I do.


13 July 2014



Australian Human Sheep and Cattle being led to Slaughter Having been Abandoned by the Left who Haven’t seen the Precipice.

Some thoughts on the ignorance of those who should know better – wilful or otherwise.

2 July 2014

Mushrooms have been treated better than humans around the issue of the TPP and some early history might provide a little background information.

On 25 June 2013 a US online activist group called “Nation of Change” started an article with the following headline:

“TPP (Trans-Pacific Pact) – the 1% Solution to Democracy – Government by Corporate Dictates”

“TPP…… the most dangerous trade contract you never heard of…..”

The reason for this headline is the fact that whatever is being done with TPP is being done in secret so that no one finds out what the US government and its minions are planning for the future of ALL of us around the globe!

A chronology of events will show the perfidy of successive United States governments before, during and after the neocons started making their presence more and more felt in world politics.

On 17 October 2013 I assembled the following items in order to try and get some understanding of what lies ahead:


Before we even start to find out what TPP is, what it stands for, what it does, or will do, it is necessary to examine where it came from and what it means.
Copyright and censorship – particularly internet censorship – are the issues which affect the major organisations around the world, and we need to bear in mind that these issues arise in the United States of America.
Before TPP there were SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, NAFTA, and also on the horizon a recent discussion involving Europe with something similar to TPP, the TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP.
According to the US government, “On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico (NAFTA) came into force. All remaining duties and quantitative restrictions were eliminated, as scheduled, on January 1, 2008.
NAFTA created the world's largest free trade area, which now links 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services. Trade between the United States and its NAFTA partners has soared since the agreement entered into force.
With NAFTA U.S. goods and services trade totaled $1.6 trillion in 2009 (latest data available for goods and services trade combined). Exports totaled $397 billion. Imports totaled $438 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with NAFTA was $41 billion in 2009.
The United States has $918 billion in total (two ways) goods trade with NAFTA countries (Canada and Mexico) during 2010. Goods exports totaled $412 billion; Goods imports totaled $506 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with NAFTA was $95 billion in 2010.
Trade in services with NAFTA (exports and imports) totaled $99 billion in 2009 (latest data available for services trade). Services exports were $63.8 billion. Services imports were $35.5 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with NAFTA was $28.3 billion in 2009.”
Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act - CISPA[1]

If you read the introductory paragraphs of the following article from PC mag you will get the gist of what the US government is trying to do and the consequences for all of us:
According to Chloe Albanesius of PC magazine “A controversial cyber-security bill known as CISPA is once again in the news. The US House approved the bill last week, and it now moves to the Senate, but opponents of the measure are not going down without a fight. Today, in fact, hacker collective Anonymous is calling on websites to go dark in protest of CISPA as they did last year against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).”
Why is CISPA being compared to SOPA and PIPA? 

What is CISPA? CISPA stands for Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. It would allow for voluntary information sharing between private companies and the government in the event of a cyber attack. If the government detects a cyber attack that might take down Facebook or Google, for example, they could notify those companies. At the same time, Facebook or Google could inform the feds if they notice unusual activity on their networks that might suggest a cyber attack,” Albanesius says.
To understand how the US government is trying to control the whole world, look at all the web sites you can lay your hands on, and be afraid – very afraid! [2]
From CISPA, we have had SOPA and PIPA and these on their own are grim and frightening, but we should also examine COICA. Here’s where we start:
COICA is the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeiting Act.
SOPA is Stop Online Piracy Act
PIPA is Protect IP Act. (IP=Internet Protocol)

On 18 January 2012 an internet blackout occurred after dramatic international collaboration between individuals and organisations who saw the dangers of these draconian bills being passed by the US Congress.
The history of this event is captured in a book called “HACKING POLITICS” which tells the story of how Geeks, Progressives, The Tea Party, Gamers, Anarchists and Suits Teamed Up to Defeat SOPA and save the Internet”.[3]
A young man Aaron Swartz, who was involved with this campaign and who was an initiator of REDDIT, (reddit is a source for what's new and popular on the web. What does the name "reddit" mean?It's [sort of] a play on words -- i.e., "I read it on reddit.") and who committed suicide in January 2013 because the US legal authorities of the Federal government had indicted him for alleged overuse of an online cataloguing service called JSTOR, stated after the SOPA/PIPA victory that the US government and Congress will not give up and they will work on something which will make the earlier bills seem like child’s play in comparison.
Welcome to the world of TPP, the Trans –Pacific Partnership.
Australia’s Choice Magazine’s Madison Cartwright reported: “Choice recently attended the 18th round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Malaysia and raised concerns the agreement may include provisions that will harm Australian consumers, particularly in the areas of intellectual property and food and health labelling.[4]”
The notoriously secretive TPP has been holding its negotiations behind closed doors – the only information available about the TPP have come from leaked drafts.
The TPP currently includes 12 countries – Japan, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, Vietnam and Australia.
Of real concern for Australians will be the possibility of Internet censorship, restrictions on pharmaceuticals – affecting thousands in Australia and elsewhere because generics may be a thing of the past, and so many other issues about which we are not able to know anything because it is all so secretive and the media are involved in this conspiracy of silence.
There are a few media exceptions but they do not allow us to find out what is involved in the negotiations and who is doing the negotiations on our behalf.
Those locally who have written about TPP are Antony Loewenstein (published in theguardian.com 9 October 2013) and Peter Martin, (Article published in The Age 23 September 2013) Economics correspondent for Fairfax Media.
Our web pages provide many articles from Australia and overseas, including Loewenstein’s and Martin’s, and these can be found on:
[1] “What is CISPA and Why Should You Care?”
[3] HACKING POLITICS edited by David Moon,Patrick Ruffini and David Segal, published by OR Books, 2013
TALKING TRADE Item in Choice Magazine, September 2013

In the beginning was NAFTA

The following article was written by Jim Hightower in “Nation of Change” on 2 October 2013:

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Corporate Coup in Disguise

 Jim Hightower

What if our national leaders told us that communities across America had to eliminate such local programs as Buy Local, Buy American, Buy Green, etc. to allow foreign corporations to have the right to make the sale on any products purchased with our tax dollars? This nullification of our people's right to direct expenditures is just one of the horror stories in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
This is a super-sized NAFTA, the 1994 trade scam rammed through Congress by the entire corporate establishment. NAFTA promised the "glories of globalization": prosperity across our land. Unfortunately, corporations got the gold. We got the shaft — thousands of factories closed, millions of middle-class jobs went south, and the economies of hundreds of towns and cities were shattered.
Twenty years later, the gang that gave us NAFTA is back with the TPP, a "trade deal" that mostly does not deal with trade.

Of the 29 chapters in this document, only five cover traditional trade matters! The other chapters amount to a devilish "partnership" for corporate protectionism:
—Food safety.

Any of our government's food safety regulations (on pesticide levels, bacterial contamination, fecal exposure, toxic additives, etc.) and food labeling laws (organic, country-of-origin, animal-welfare approved, GMO-free, etc.) that are stricter than "international standards" could be ruled as "illegal trade barriers." Our government would then have to revise our consumer protections to comply with weaker standards.

Our Department of Energy would lose its authority to regulate exports of natural gas to any TPP nation. This would create an explosion of the destructive fracking process across our land, for both foreign and U.S. corporations could export fracked gas from America to member nations without any DOE review of the environmental and economic impacts on local communities — or on our national interests.

US corporations would get special foreign-investor protections to limit the cost and risk of relocating their factories to low-wage nations that sign onto this agreement. So, an American corporation thinking about moving a factory would know it is guaranteed a sweetheart deal if it moves operations to a TPP nation like Vietnam. This would be an incentive for corporate chieftains to export more of our middle-class jobs.
—Drug prices.

Big Pharma would be given more years of monopoly pricing on each of their patents and be empowered to block distribution of cheaper generic drugs. Besides artificially keeping everyone's prices high, this would be a death sentence to many people suffering from cancer, HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and other treatable diseases in impoverished lands.

Wall Street and the financial giants in other TPP countries would make out like bandits. The deal explicitly prohibits transaction taxes (such as the proposed Robin Hood Tax here) that would shut down speculators who have repeatedly triggered financial crises and economic crashes around the world. It restricts "firewall" reforms that separate consumer banking from risky investment banking. It could roll back reforms that governments adopted to fix the extreme bank-deregulation regimen that caused Wall Street's 2007 crash. And it provides an escape from national rules that would limit the size of "too-big-to-fail" behemoths.
—Internet freedom.

Corporations hoping to lock up and monopolize the Internet failed in Congress last year to pass their repressive "Stop Online Piracy Act." However, they've slipped SOPA's most pernicious provisions into TPP. The deal would also transform Internet service providers into a private, Big Brother police force, empowered to monitor our "user activity," arbitrarily take down our content and cut off our access to the Internet. To top that off, consumers could be assessed mandatory fines for something as benign as sending your mom a recipe you got off of a paid site.
—Public services. 

TPP rules would limit how governments regulate such public services as utilities, transportation and education — including restricting policies meant to ensure broad or universal access to those essential needs. One insidious rule says that member countries must open their service sectors to private competitors, which would allow the corporate provider to cherry-pick the profitable customers and sink the public service.
Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch, correctly calls the Trans-Pacific Partnership "a corporate coup d'etat." Nations that join must conform their laws and rules to TPP's strictures, effectively supplanting U.S. sovereignty and canceling our people's right to be self-governing. Worse, it creates virtually permanent corporate rule over us. Is it impossible to stop? Nope. There is also a broad, well-organized and politically experienced coalition of grassroots groups, which has stopped other deals and will do it again. We the people can protect our democratic rights from this threat of corporate usurpation. Check out


Copyright Creators.com

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.”
There is enough information to whet your appetites for more in order to find out what the future holds for you and everyone around you, so a concluding item from a group called “Sum Of Us” is a recent happening which brings the story into 2014 Australia as you thought you knew it:

11 JUNE 2014

Trans-Pacific Partnership - Apathy in Australia Will Ruin Us All

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) issue is one that will come back to haunt Australia and Australians who so far have shown an apathy in relation to this urgent matter which is breathtaking in its ignorance.

When one contemplates the Australian prime minister travelling to "enter" the world stage and when in a certain North American country he calls that country Canadia, and later crosses the border to the currently most powerful country in the world and denies climate change and all the disasters coming with it, we have to understand, with horror, the implications of this "head of government" being in charge of Australia being ruled by the US government's TPP proponents, we are in for a rough ride.
Many thanks to the SUM OF US group for their actions and update.
“Almost two weeks ago we took the fight against the Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP) right to the doorstep of our democratic representatives in Canberra. We delivered a little less than 150,000 SumOfUs' members signatures calling for the TPP to be made public.

SumOfUs members in Canberra
But not only were SumOfUs members and signers raising their voices against the secrecy of the trade deals. Other partner groups Avaaz and GetUp also brought members’ signatures totalling a staggering 1.8 million Australians demanding that the TPP be made public. The press and those present also heard from industries which will be negatively affected by the trade deals, MPs who oppose the TPP and members of communities whose rights are under attack as a result of these.
The need to open democracy has never been more urgent. The little we know about the TPP is dangerous enough:
It will give corporations the power to sue governments for diminishing their profits in a secret court known as the Investor State Dispute Settlement.
Longer patent allowances which will increase the price of generic pharmaceuticals.
A systematic erosion of worker’s rights and human rights as corporations gain more power to exploit people and resources unregulated and unchecked by democratic governments.
Limiting internet and journalistic freedom, which will diminish our ability to stop corporations from abusing power.

In short, the TPP is the handover of our democracies to corporations and their unstoppable pursuit of profit, at the expense of people.
If the details of the trade talks are made public, we will be able to keep fighting to make sure corporate power is out of our democracies with the determination of our members at the forefront.
Thank you for standing against the secrecy of the TPP.
Thank you for all that you do,

Paul, Hannah, Ledys and the rest of us at SumOfUs.”


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm