The fast-track authority for the Trans-pacific Partnership has passed in the US Senate and House, making passage of the TPP (later this Autumn) a near sure bet. The fast-track authority's passage was a narrow thing, indicating, I believe, popular resistance. That resistance just barely stopped the fast-track in the House a couple of weeks ago, but the oligarchs will not stop until they get what they want, and so, they did.
In an article for Common Dreams about TPP and the fast-track passage, Ralph Nader tells us why this is such a bad thing:
Make no mistake. If this was only a trade treaty – reducing tariffs, quotas, and the like – it would not be so controversial. Yet, the corporate-indentured politicians keep calling this gigantic treaty with thirty chapters, of which only five relate to traditional trade issues, a trade agreement instead of a treaty. The other twenty-four chapters, if passed as they are, will have serious impacts on your livelihoods as workers and consumers, as well as your air, water, food, and medicines.
You can find the full article here and it's well worth reading.
So far, I haven't noticed any spirited endorsements of the TPP from the leading presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton has been quiet about the fast-track, but I think she recently made some lukewarm statements about TPP being a bad idea or needing to be reworked, or some such. Remember, the Clintons gave us NAFTA and TPP is NAFTA on steroids.
Of course, Bernie Sanders is all-out against TPP and he has been garnering a lot of grass-roots support. Despite the mainstream media's attempts to pooh-pooh him as merely an annoyance for Hillary, he has been pulling in larger crowds than her and polling higher in favorability ratings (i.e., "more trustworthy," etc). This doesn't mean he'll win the Democratic nomination--I don't believe he will--but it further indicates a significant resistance from the public to what's going on in US federal government. It's like they are finally beginning to realize that something is not right.
Though I like most of Bernie's rhetoric, I think it most likely that he'll garner a lot of supporters, lose the Democratic nomination, and throw his support to Hillary (he has said he'll do that if he loses). This is the usual scenario for progressive candidates that run as Democrats. It means supporting them is still supporting the appalling status quo. That's why I won't support Bernie.
But I see that Jill Stein is again running as the 2016 presidential candidate for the Green party. She did so in 2012 and that's when I discovered her. Her Wikipedia entry says this about her:
Jill Ellen Stein (born May 14, 1950) is an American physician who was the nominee of the Green Party for President of the United States in the 2012 election. Stein was a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2002 and the 2010 gubernatorial elections. Stein is a resident of Lexington, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Harvard College (1973) and the Harvard Medical School (1979). Stein was endorsed for President in 2012 by Noam Chomsky, a linguist, author and activist, and by Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and war correspondent, among others...On June 22, 2015, Stein formally announced that she would seek the Green Party's 2016 presidential nomination during an appearance on Democracy Now!.
Listening to her talk is a different experience from listening to the Demo-Publican candidates. You get informed, intelligent commentary from her as opposed to the nonsensical pablum and sound-bites of the others. See for yourself in this Truthout interview. So if I get the opportunity, I'll be voting Green.
Why all this political stuff from me again? Because the stakes are high. This is a time for humanity like no other and that can't help but reflect in all my writings, including the fiction. I found a very good overview of those stakes in a video posted on the Geoengineering Watch website. It was put out through the "hacker" group, Anonymous, and I really don't care for their "commercial" part of it (like the music video at the end), but the most of it is a presentation by Dane Wiggington and it's one of the most cogent I've seen him do. You can find it on the Geoengineering Watch site here.
As I said, people seem to be finally realizing that "something's not right." I was alluding to this when in a recent review I did for John Hogue's Kindle book, The Essential Hopi Prophecies, I said:
We live in a time of converging calamities bearing towards a near-future that even nonreligious people see as apocalyptic. People seem to sense this even as they deny it with actions that say "tomorrow will be like today." The fear that tomorrow may actually be different, even much worse, prompts us to look for some sane direction through the anticipated storm.
These are tough times and I think the key to getting through them will be our reliance on each other. We have to form our community and trust it. As the Hopi said: "For we are the ones we’ve been waiting for."