How Any Further Estate Tax Cuts Will Pay Plutocrats TWICE by The Other Katherine Harris

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
Jan. 1, 2008

Next time the vampire of estate tax “reform” rises, threatening to drain us of billions to satisfy the three families in a thousand who have to pay any, here’s a chunk of garlic that might help drive it underground:  A secondary market in large life insurance policies has developed — which means any coverage not needed to cover tax liability can be offloaded now.  At a huge profit.

While I was researching something else this morning, a fortuitous path opened to this little-known fact. As detailed HERE, an 83-year-old widow recently sold a $20 million policy on which she’d so far paid about $1.7 million. Its cash surrender value would have been less than half a million, but an investor coughed up $4.3 million and almost surely won’t have to wait long to collect nearly five times as much.

Both buyer and seller made out like bandits in the deal — and imagine how this newly contrived marketplace will sizzle, if more estate tax cuts are enacted, too.  We might as well make that “if” a “when”, as far as the firm behind the press release is concerned (specialists in bringing such parties together).  The Ashton Group predicts Congress will raise exemptions and slash rates sufficiently for “billions of dollars’ worth of existing life insurance policies to be sold over the next several years.”

Obviously, as with all these devious schemes that financialize paper, only the filthy rich can play (unless mutual funds start buying into them).   Also pretty obviously, life insurance companies will soon wise up and stop selling gargantuan policies based on old statistics that show five of every six life insurance policies lapse before any payout is due.  They’re on the hook for all extant policies, though — and bound to raise everybody’s premiums.  Depending on how badly they’re stung, we could get stuck with the tab for another bailout to benefit the ultra-wealthy, too.

Adds extra dimension to the cause of opposing estate tax reduction, doesn’t it?

There’s also the niggling notion that this ghoulish market could expand, as tapped-out folks formerly on the upper end of middle class look to their life insurance as a life-raft for coping with debt they can no longer bankrupt out of.  Not a pretty picture.  Except of course to the blood-suckers.  What do you bet they’d be pleased to buy it, never mind the prospect of destitute kiddies and widows?  Death is something investors can bank on a lot more securely than subprime mortgage payments, particularly if the seller is getting on in years or suffering health problems.

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Welcome to Third World, U.S.A. By Arthur Donner & Doug Peters

Dandelion Salad

By Arthur Donner & Doug Peters
ICH
01/01/07 “The Star

“What we’re seeing (in the U.S.) isn’t the rise of a fairly broad class of knowledge workers. Instead, we’re seeing the rise of a narrow oligarchy: Income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged elite … It’s time to face up to the fact that rising inequality is driven by the giant income gains of a tiny elite, not the modest gains of college graduates.” – Paul Krugman, New York Times, Feb. 27, 2006.

In the mid-1990s, the Wall Street Journal delivered the classic insult to this nation when it called Canada an honorary Third World country.

Indeed, at that time Canada’s economy was coming out of a period of relative difficulty.

Our balance of payments was shaky, the federal government had posted a long string of budget deficits and the Canadian dollar was weak.

Adding to these economic woes, as of the mid-1990s, Canada also had a long history of posting substantially higher inflation rates than in the United States.

Now, however, the trade and fiscal deficits situation has been turned on its head, with the United States incurring huge fiscal deficits and borrowing enormous amounts of foreign capital to balance its hefty international trade deficit. In fact, in a relatively short time span, the U.S. has become the largest debtor nation in the world.

And as Paul Krugman and many other economists have pointed out, U.S. income disparity is obscenely large and increasing, while higher education is not overcoming the polarization of income and the shrinking of the middle class.

The latter point is somewhat surprising, since most Western democracies see the elimination or reduction of economic inequality as a good idea. Indeed, it is a generally accepted principle that the underlying causes of economic inequality based on such non-economic differences as race, gender, or geography should also be minimized or eliminated.

In other words, there is a strong predilection in most Western countries to level the economic playing field as much as possible. This seems not to be the case in the United States.

The United Nations publishes a Human Development Index that ranks countries in terms of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living. The latest published data were based on 2005 statistics. The U.S., despite its vast wealth and power, placed only in the 12th position among industrial countries. The top four countries were Iceland, Norway, Australia and Canada. These top four countries still pay some lip service to income distribution as an important economic and social goal.

Ironically, the U.S. today has many more features in common with Third World status than Canada ever did back in the mid-1990s.

What is usually meant by a Third World economy? A half-century ago, the term was associated with the economically underdeveloped countries of Africa, Asia, South America and Oceania. The common characteristics of these Third World countries were high levels of poverty, income inequality, high birth rates and an economic dependence upon the advanced countries. Third World countries were simply not as industrialized or technologically advanced as Western countries.

But what are some of the distinguishing characteristics of contemporary Third World countries? They go beyond these nations’ fiscal position or undue concentration on natural resource exports.

The glaring features today include poverty, lack of democratic institutions, controlling oligarchies and the unequal distribution of income and wealth. In other words, the few enjoy a rich lifestyle while the many share subpar incomes and poverty.

Another characteristic of Third World countries is that a major portion of their fiscal expenditures is allocated to the military. In many Third World countries, the military is controlled by an elite or a small collection of the wealthy.

Finally, in many Third World countries one finds that leadership is passed from one generation to the next, often via a close relative.

Guess what country we are talking about now?

Arthur Donner and Doug Peters are Toronto-based economists.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

From Hyperpower To New World Disorder By David Olive

Dandelion Salad

By David Olive
ICH
01/01/08 “Toronto Star

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, America isn’t alone on top. What’s replacing the unipolar world of the 1990s? A gang of five superpowers: China, Russia, India, the Eurozone and the U.S.

“We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of our way.”

Kevin Conrad, delegate from Papua New Guinea, at the Bali summit on climate change earlier this month, to a U.S. delegation that tried to thwart reforms agreed to by the other 185 nations present.

It became more apparent than ever this year that the U.S. is no longer the world’s lone superpower. Instead, there are five superpowers that will define the world for at least the next half-century: the U.S., China, India, Russia and a united Europe.

The news came home to Americans on Main St. from tainted Chinese products to the fact that practically every toy sold in America comes from Red China. Boston seniors on group tours of the great capitals of Europe were humbled to discover that their greenbacks had shrivelled in value to 60 per cent of the local currency. And New Yorkers were taken aback that the credit crisis arising from cascading defaults on U.S. subprime mortgages had so weakened the balance sheets of leading financial institutions in the Big Apple that the likes of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch had sought bailouts from state-owned investment funds in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Canadians felt it, too, in a 15 per cent gain against the greenback.

That America was not in charge in Iraq was widely known for some time. That American global hegemony had severely dissipated was news. Nor was it of the passing variety, like the 1970s U.S. economic “stagflation” that inflated the German and Swiss currencies; or the Japanese boom a decade later in which Tokyo parking spots fetched $90,000.

This was different. Mandarins in Brussels now passed judgment on merger proposals between American companies, not hesitating to block them on antitrust grounds. Chinese oil interests in Sudan made Beijing intransigent about Western meddling in Darfur. Russia wouldn’t abide Washington’s sanctions on Iran. India insisted upon, and received, U.S. support of its nuclear arms program despite predictable outrage from Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the pursuit of Al Qaeda. It was either that or have New Dehli turn to the Russians. To an unprecedented degree, decisions affecting America were being made elsewhere. A mere 16 years after attaining its lone-superpower status, the crown had slipped, and America’s destiny is now shaped by a new world disorder of five superpowers.

All five members of this new quintet are nuclear powers. All but one, India, have veto power at the United Nations. Collectively, the four non-U.S. superpowers have 10 times the population of the U.S. The European economy has eclipsed that of the U.S., and those of China and India will do so by mid-century. The imperial legacy of many EU members and of Russia provide them a lingering influence from Indonesia to Zaire to Brazil that the U.S., whose experiences with colonizing have been reluctant and short-lived, cannot match.

The resentment of what the French labelled “the U.S. hyper-power” in the 1960s subsided in the 1990s. The Europeans were preoccupied with their unification project. China and India were experimenting with a free-market model to replace sclerotic command economies. And by the early years of this decade, Russian recovery from the upheaval of the Soviet breakup was manifesting itself in a new national pride and respect for a decisive Vladimir Putin.

The aim of the four new superpowers has been the same: to unleash, under the banner of patriotism, the potential economic prowess of a nation or region, and in doing so to claim a role on the world stage equal to that of the U.S. Here’s Tony Blair, who revered Britain’s “special relationship” with the U.S. more than most of his predecessors. “A single-power world is inherently unstable,” Blair said back in 2005. “That’s the rationale for Europe to unite.

“We are building a new superpower. The European Union is about the projection of collective power, wealth and influence. When we work together, the European Union can stand on par as a superpower and a partner with the U.S.”

The euro has been the world’s strongest currency since 2005. But not until this year did everyone from OPEC to the People’s Bank of China to rock stars flirt with abandoning the U.S dollar – the world’s undisputed reserve currency since the end of World War II – in favour of a euro that has soared to a current $1.48 (U.S.)

It was a year of new boondoggles coming to light in the U.S. occupation of Iraq; and of U.S. diplomatic setbacks in Pakistan, China, Turkey, Burma, the Middle East – almost everywhere the U.S. has tried to exert influence. But then, America’s deficient military and intelligence capabilities have removed the big stick behind diplomatic threats.

America now is the world’s largest borrower, and China the biggest creditor nation.

As everyone but the White House acknowledges, it’s difficult to have much impact in pressuring China on its under-valued currency, its military buildup and its human-rights record when that country is also your biggest banker.

World leaders have been putting distance between themselves and Washington ever since the U.S. occupation of Iraq, embarked upon with a theological righteousness that alienated the secular Europeans, and based on assumptions seemingly designed to salvage the reputations of Barbara Tuchman’s cast of feckless leaders in The March of Folly.

But this year, world leaders lost their reticence and subjected Washington to a parade of embarrassments. Kevin Rudd, the new Australian PM, isolated the U.S. on global warming by embracing a Kyoto Protocol that incoming U.S. president George W. Bush trashed in 2001. Gordon Brown, the new British PM, used the occasion of his first state visit to Washington to state that Afghanistan, not Iraq, is the central front in the battle against Islamic extremists. Bush watched in stony silence as America’s staunchest ally in the Iraq invasion bluntly repudiated an assertion the U.S. president has been making for five years.

As Russia has slipped into autocracy, and shipped uranium to Iran this fall over U.S. objections, Bush has been reduced to tacitly endorsing Russian actions the U.S. is powerless to control. After his first encounter with the Russian president, Bush famously said he had looked into Putin’s heart and found a man he could work with. In an angry Munich speech earlier this year, Bush’s soulmate excoriated the U.S. for “an almost uncontained hyper-use of force . . . that is plunging the world into an abyss of conflicts.”

America’s foreign policy impotence hit a nadir in Pakistan, where Washington’s full-court-press diplomacy failed to prevent the leader of an unreliable but nonetheless vital ally in the struggle against Al Qaeda from imposing martial law and imprisoning his country’s supreme court justices. In one go, with its continued support of Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf, America has turned its back on supposed goals of promoting democracy, punishing nuclear proliferators, and taking a hard line against nations harbouring large populations of Al Qaeda operatives.

“No [U.S.] president will ever have handed over a worse international situation than George W. Bush,” says Richard Holbrooke, the former U.N. ambassador in the Clinton administration and adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Which is to suggest that America can reclaim its lone superpower status by simply installing a new president in 2009 who will extricate the U.S. from Iraq and sign Kyoto 2.0, to be negotiated over the next two years.

America lost its chance at enduring supremacy in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, which coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then-U.S. president George H.W. Bush spoke at the time of creating a “New World Order” of universal peace and mutual prosperity.

Had it only chosen then to redeploy its massive defence and foreign aid budgets to humanitarian causes, rather than propping up its military allies, America could have secured its new found global supremacy by simply setting a good example.

Instead, the lone-superpower era began with a unilateral, botched invasion of Somalia and ended with the Project For The New American Century, a late-1990s doctrine of preserving U.S. hegemony by overthrowing unfriendly regimes – a moronic vision that nonetheless manifested itself in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with Iran as the regime-changers’ next target.

In the Middle East, which has some of the youngest populations in the world, the past two generations have come of age with the belief that America is antagonistic to Muslims, a proposition reinforced by America`s invasion of two Muslin nations in the space of three years. And a new generation of Europeans – the “E generation,” as author T.R. Reid labels it in his bestselling United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy (2005) – has grown up with the isolationism of the 1990s U.S. Republican Congress and the calamitous unilateralism of George W. Bush.

Plainly, the U.S. has failed to lead on climate change; genocide; nuclear proliferation; human rights; and the other most pressing global concerns for so long it has effectively ceded its claim to the “benign hegemony” that still shapes America’s regard of its impact on the world.

And Americans know it, at least in Bill Clinton’s view. In the 1990s, then-president Clinton declared that “America is the indispensable nation.” In a Charlie Rose interview earlier this month, a Clinton who has grown more internationalist in retirement from the White House, said, “The American people now know something they’ve never known before. In their bones they know that there’s almost no problem we can solve all by ourselves – terror, war and peace, nuclear proliferation, climate change, you name it. They know we have to do this in a co-operative way.”

Gwynne Dyer, heralding the end of America’s lone-superpower status, has warned that “Seeing the United States reduced to only one great power among others cannot be a prospect that appeals to American strategic thinkers of a traditional bent – so what is their grand strategy for averting it?

“They must have one,” the London-based global military analyst wrote. “Paramount powers facing relegation always have one, although it rarely stays the same for long and it never, ever works. There is no way of stopping China and India from catching up with the current Lone Superpower without nuking their entire economies.”

Without exception, the emerging superpowers have achieved that status by tending to the home front, where much work remains to be done. China is the world’s second-largest CO2 emitter, trailing only the U.S. India has the world’s largest population of poor people. Europe has national licence plates, birth certificates and a lottery played from Krakow to Liverpool, but lacks a foreign policy and has a nascent army of just 60,000 troops. Russia’s regard for investors, whose property it expropriates on a whim, will have to change for the country’s entrepreneurial forces to be fully unleashed.

The same focus on domestic shortcomings would serve America well. The factors undermining its prosperity and global influence are almost all self-inflicted. There is more at stake here than even the current crop of presidential candidates seem to realize. They all talk of restoring America’s respect in the world, with no apparent sense that a big part of the problem is that the world is increasingly less inclined to regard America as “the shining city on the hill” that Ronald Reagan invoked.

With strikingly little notice, David Walker, head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, spoke in August about disturbing parallels between today’s America and the decline of the Roman Empire. Among the similarities Walker cited were “declining values and political civility at home, an overconfident and overextended military in foreign lands, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.”

Even in a world without budding rivals, the American superpower would still be jeopardized by its “unsustainable” disregard for tackling rundown schools and inner-city neighbourhoods, a yawning gap between rich and poor, and a route to citizenship for the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

Even superpowers are fragile once the rot of complacency sets in. “It’s time to learn from history,” Walker said, “and take steps to ensure that the American republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

© Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2007

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Five Iraqs By Scott Ritter

Dandelion Salad

By Scott Ritter
Truthdig
Jan. 1, 2008

It has become a mantra of sorts among the faltering Republican candidates: Victory is at hand in Iraq. Mitt Romney, in particular, has taken to so openly embracing the “success” of the U.S. troop “surge” that it has become the centerpiece of his litany of attacks on the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Continue reading

Kucinich Links Education with War Spending by Heather Wokusch (+ video)

Heather Wokusch

By Heather Wokusch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
1 January, 2008

HeatherWokusch

Kucinich is the only Democratic Presidential candidate directly linking war spending to education funding. He also is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who voted against the Iraq war authorization in 2002 and every war-funding measure since then.

Added: January 01, 2008

Hey Iowa, Only One Candidate Links Education with War Spending…

“If we cut the Pentagon budget 15%, $75 billion will go into a universal pre-kindergarten program so our children ages 3, 4 and 5 will have access to full-time day care and more money would go into elementary and secondary education. Our college-age students need to know that with a Kucinich administration they’re guaranteed a two- or four-year college, tuition free, and it’ll be paid for by the government investing in our young people. That’s the kind of approach I’ll take to education.” – Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Oct 30, 2007, Democratic debate at Drexel University

In a Gallup poll released on December 10 2007, Education scored a respectable #12 for the issues determining Americans’ choice of president in 2008. Education even scored above Terrorism, Environmental Issues, Employment Issues and World Peace.

So it’s no wonder that Democratic presidential candidates have aggressively criticized No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the Bush administration’s disastrous excuse for an education policy.

Obama said the law was “demoralizing our teachers” and Clinton promised to “do everything I can as senator, but if we don’t get it done, then as president, to end the unfunded mandate known as No Child Left Behind.” Of the law’s emphasis on standardized testing, Edwards told Iowans, “You don’t make a hog fatter by weighing it.

But only one presidential candidate has connected the dots from Baghdad to our nation’s classrooms: Dennis Kucinich. In calling for 15% of the Pentagon’s budget to fund education instead, Kucinich stands alone in promising books, not Army boots, to the nation’s youth.

Doing the math on Bush’s education disaster is easy. Opinions may differ about the merits of NCLB, but on one point there is little disagreement – it hasn’t been funded properly.

Soon after signing NCLB into law in early January 2002, Bush released his 2003 education budget which not only cut 40 educational programs but also came up short on funding his own program.

As of 2004, Bush had allocated NCLB $27 billion less than Congress authorized, with programs for disadvantaged students underfunded by a full $7.2 billion. Things just got worse from there.

For FY 2005, Bush’s budget underfunded NCLB by $9.4 billion, and other crucial partner programs were cut altogether. Among those on the 2005 chopping block: Even Start (reading program for poor families), Javits Gifted and Talented Program (for gifted students who are minorities, disabled or who speak limited English), Dropout Prevention, Foreign Language Assistance, and Arts in Education. All in all, the Bush administration’s 2005 budget proposed cutting $1.4 billion from the education budget and axing 38 federal education programs.

Bush’s proposed FY 2006 budget was even more extreme, underfunding NCLB by a full $12 billion, or roughly 33% of its authorized amount. Also slashed were programs for disadvantaged students and those with special needs.

The FY 2007 proposed budget similarly underfunded NCLB by over $15 billion and eliminated numerous critical educational programs.

Factoring in the $14.8 billion underfunding slated for 2008 in Bush’s budget request, NCLB is left with a cumulative funding gap of $70.7 billion.

How can schools be held accountable for failing to reach NCLB goals if the federal government isn’t held accountable for meeting its funding promises?

Meanwhile, the states have faced a one-two budgetary punch as the weak economy has driven down tax revenues yet simultaneously increased demand for social services. All of this has led to across-the-board cuts in education, combined with increased pressure to shell out money on standardized tests.

Doesn’t help that the costs for war have simultaneously skyrocketed. Just last week, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) estimated that the US presence in Iraq was costing almost $15 billion per month. 15 billion dollars per month.

Connecting the dots here is simple, but most Democratic candidates are avoiding the elephant in the classroom. They criticize NCLB and promise more educational funding but don’t say where that money will come from.

Voters know better. In the December 2007 Gallup poll, respondents listed the War in Iraq as the most important issue determining Americans’ choice of president in 2008. It’s worth noting that Kucinich is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who voted against the Iraq war authorization in 2002 and every war-funding measure since then.

He also is the only Democratic Presidential candidate directly linking war spending to education funding.

The Des Moines Register (which used a ridiculous technicality to exclude Kucinich from their presidential debates) is predicting that first-time voters could determine the winner of Thursday’s Iowa Democratic caucus.

Obama is aiming for younger votes.

Clinton is targeting women.

Both demographic groups should take another look at Kucinich, and his plan to put the nation’s youth in college, not in Baghdad.

Note: Originally published: January 2, 2008

see

Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate + Action Alert

Kucinich: Drexel U Debate + Post-debate Interview (videos)

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Kucinich-Dennis

Tamara from Purple States on Kucinich (short video)

Dandelion Salad

smalltownjohn

Tamara Briggman from Purple States discusses Dennis Kucinich after meeting him in Manchester, NH. More on purplestates.tv.

Added: January 01, 2008

see

Kucinich-If you don’t vote your heart, your heart never wins (video)

Kucinich Weekly Update 12.31.07 (video)

Kucinich Campaign Action Alert: Vote! Myspace Poll! Jan 1-2

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

Democracy Now’s Year In Review (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!

transcript

Real Video StreamReal Audio Stream

MP3 Download

More…

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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donovonc

2007 in Review: Power, Politics and Resistance Pt. 1

Today, part one of our special look back at 2007, including Saddam Hussein’s execution, the U.S. bombing of Somalia, the Appeal for Redress, Scooter Libby’s convicton, the firing of Don Imus, the Virginia Tech massacre, the rise of Blackwater, the death of Molly Ivins and Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Moore and “Sicko”, Greg Palast and Rep. Conyers on vulture funds, the Hamas-Fatah split in the Palestinian territories, the U.S. Social Forum and more.

Featuring the Voices of:

Nancy Pelosi, Cindy Sheehan
President Bush, Sgt. Ronn Cantu, Leslie Cagan
Sen. Patrick Leahy, Zanku Armenian
Molly Ivins, Sami Al-Arian, Laila Al-Arian
Greg Palast, Rep. John Conyers, Salim Lone
Patrick Fitzgerald, Murray Waas
Dennis Kucinich, Jeremy Scahill, Don Imus
Rev. Al Sharpton, Bill McKibben, Louise Melling
Alberto Gonzales, Sen. Dianne Feinstein,
Seymour Hersh, Katrina Vanden Heuvel,
Ernesto Arce, Paul Rusesabegina, Don Cheadle
Sen. Daniel Akaka, General John Batiste
Majid and 9 yr old son Kevan
Ricardo Alarcon, Tony Blair, Joan Baez
Tariq Ali, Studs Terkel, Ted Shaw, Mona El-Farra
Rocky Anderson, Michael Moore, Ali Abinumah
Vanessa Redgrave, Dennis Brutus, and more

Added: December 31, 2007

The Red Pill (videos no longer available; Aug 07)

Dandelion Salad

redpharmacist

Official Selection

Planet In Focus Environmental Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
Environmental Film Festival of Accra, Ghana
Artivist Film Festival, Hollywood, California
Recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts Grant

THE RED PILL is a scratch video, a collage of clips from Hollywood feature films. It juxtaposes critical dialogue spoken by the actors that we have made gods of, with powerful imagery produced by the studios that we have made billionaires of — redited, remixed, and recontextualized, to change the way you think about the world, to challenge you to think of new ways of changing the world.

We got all fired up when we first saw each of these sampled scenes in isolation, but then we never got up off of our asses to do anything about it — we didn’t make the necessary connectons between the silver screen and our own lives. The goal of THE RED PILL is to spur us on to action; it is a post-modern call to battle, for our planet, for our communities, for our freedom: it is an audiovisual international anthem.

THE RED PILL is a multimedia culture jam that takes the hour-and-a-half long commercials for consumer culture, this propaganda that passes as entertainment — and then, in proud guerilla hip hop tradition, reappropriates them them and forges them into a weapon of war in the fight against those very same advertising agencies and their corporate clients that would buy and sell our very souls.

Added: August 05, 2007

h/t: Illuminati