Friday, August 19, 2016

Dealing in Fear, Dealing in Hope

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can drive people to do many things, and the ability to instill fear into people's hearts is one of the more effective paths to power over those people. It's the calling card of many a movie or comic book villain, from Emperor Palpatine to Sinestro.

Sadly, fear isn't exclusive to the realms of fiction. Fear is a powerful force right now, in this year's presidential election. It's a tool being used by both sides of the conflict, to varying degrees of success.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 1: Preamble


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed agreement between 12 countries along the Pacific rim: The United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Vietnam, Australia, Peru, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.

The preamble of the TPP lays outs the goals of the deal between those countries, which is mostly reflected by the pro-TPP statements on the front page of the United States Trade Representative's TPP website. The preamble doesn't really get into the details of the deal, so there isn't a lot to unpack.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 0: Public Perception

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a hot-button issue right now. Our current sitting president, Barack Obama, supports the deal, while both of our presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, oppose it. Clinton in particular has waffled on the deal, finally turning against it in part due to Bernie Sanders' influence on the Democratic platform, as he was particularly opposed to the deal. The final decision on the deal rests with Congress, but while it's not clear where Congress is leaning on it, it is clear that our next president will influence the deal's fate.

I'm intensely curious as to how a deal like this can be equally abhorrent to the thoroughly capitalist Donald Trump and the socialist Bernie Sanders. So, to cut through the rhetoric, I've decided to actually read the deal. Let's try to understand what, exactly, this deal is about.

Today I'll start by exploring the rhetoric surrounding the deal; arguments for and against the deal. Then, I'll start exploring the text itself.