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I am a dedicated and ambitious aspiring freelance journalist, blogger, and writer. My main asset is my international background - I was born in Germany, then moved to France, and proceeded to grow up in China - and the cultural open-mindedness inherent to such a life story. I specialize in opinion pieces, but am also well-versed in travel/event reporting, and writing general news stories. I blog regularly on my two pages, and have contributed to multiple online publications, including Gonzo Today, a web page dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo" journalism and his legacy. If you have any writing needs, I am the right person to talk to! I will be able to match the tone and style you desire, will work overtime to make you happy, and will deliver high quality content. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn as "Mark Linnhoefer", and on Twitter as "@markalinnhoefer". For work proposals please feel free to use the contact form on either of my blogs!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Food For Thought #6

Well, I haven't written a FFT segment in quite a while, so I figured that it's about time, and with Christmas coming up, I also figure that I'll be able to find some new, or at least rehash some old, topics. It's always the same shit around Christmas anyway, isn't it? I mean, I personally endorse the notion of compassion and altruism around the time Christians believe Christ to have been born, but what bugs me about it is that for some people, it is truly the only time of year in which they feel it necessary to exhibit these values, and that is sad.
Now of course there is nothing wrong with reserving the biggest acts of charity for the time of togetherness that is Christmas, but if you're acting like an asshole all year long and then want to repent and fully redeem yourself by acting nice around Christmastime, you remain an asshole, and no amount of Christmas cheer is going to change that. I hate the way some fucked-up souls try and exploit that time of giving to put themselves in a position that radiates phony sentiments of understanding and compassion, and I loathe those buying into it all the same, because they are the ones perpetuating the idea that having a jaunty Christmas persona can even out any and all fuck-ups committed by the actual person throughout the year.

But this is just for your personal understanding of my feeling towards Christmas-y things. The topic for today's Food For Thought is another one, and it is once again related to corporations and their excessive influential powers. The example that comes to mind today are the free trade agreements that are being discussed and struck behind closed doors - with the obvious exception being lobbyist of various multinational firms. TTIP is the EU-US version of such an agreement, and its - along with any other of these atrocities, like TISA and CETA - core component is the elimination of non-tariff related boundaries for foreign investors. Sounds like a nice, globalization kind of thingy, doesn't it? Well, let me illustrate the gravity of allowing companies and their investors to dispose of any and all boundaries that hinder their economic thriving: If your commune decides to banish fracking in your area due to the extreme environmental hazards, any foreign company can sue your country's government for the profit they reckon they would have made if they had been allowed to pollute your area, which is usually a sum in the hundreds of millions. Oh, but it doesn't stop at that; should the government in question not want to pay, or is unable to pay, they have the option of abolishing the law or regulation in question in order to allow the company to freely make their money by whatever means they see fit. And it's not even an actual court that rules over these things, but rather a private arbitrary court made up of three volunteers, usually also tied to some major enterprise. This means that anything one would associate with a social, democratic state will essentially be put to the test: Healthcare (if you're not in America obviously) will be privatized, environmental policies reversed, laws abolished, regulation of the financial market (Dodd-Frank) pulverized, educational system also privatized, even the water supply will eventually be run by privately-owned companies. Non-tariff related boundaries are the things that protect us, the citizens from the endless greed of corporations. Non-tariff related boundaries are human rights, employee rights, environmental policies, minimum wages, state-run water supply and transportation; these are the things that stand in the way of companies making as much money as they possibly could, and are as such targeted by free trade agreements such as TTIP.
Fucked up, isn't it? And for those defending this agreement, look at what NAFTA did to the Mexican economy, to Mexico generally. A run-down economy, a drug-cartel-controlled government, and people fleeing the country to work as illegals in the US because they can't find any work to make ends meet... I think the facts speak for themselves; these agreements are geared to exploit the population in the name of large corporations and their holy grail of capitalism, and are a huge assault on democracy and freedom as we know it, which is why we need to stand up to this shit! Go on the streets and picket, let your neighbors, your family, your friends, let everyone know about the degree to which this will influence your daily life and abolish the freedoms our ancestors fought so hard to gain! I want to get people riled up about this seeing as such a deliberate and direct attack on democracy cannot stand. 

But well, it's not like this is anything entirely new; corporations have always tried to exploit people by using them as assets rather than actual human beings, politicians have always been bribed by these firms and therefore acted at their bidding, and the population has always just fucking stood there and accepted it. Always is a gross exaggeration though, there have been - and are - quite a few uprisings against this system,a few people have always - here it is again - tried to rebel against a political landscape that has/is tried/trying to keep those unwilling to conform voiceless. But in the end, it doesn't even matter. At least that's what it seems like. I see no changes. It's just the way it fucking is, and that pisses me off. But what's worse is that I am also perpetuating this placid status quo: I get and spend money, I have a bank account that is regularly overdrawn, I study International Business for Christ's sake, and I am a generally pacifistic, borderline apathetic person to begin with, so not a revolutionary per se. I also don't think that the change necessarily needs - or even should be - brought on by means of force and violence. The system won't budge if we try to fight its brutality with ours, we can clearly see that in any and all protests happening lately: people are just being shot down, sprayed with tear gas, beaten with sticks, and pushed down by shield-wielding almost-soldiers, like they used to do in China. I reckon the US is going to start using tanks on civilians in a few years tops too. Like the German army that has now gotten the authorization to handle inner conflicts, i.e. they are now allowed to assist the police if people should actually decide to revolt. Isn't that just fucking awesome?

Anyhow. Maybe the change needs to brought on from within, maybe compassion coupled with subtle manipulation is key to reforming this dated system of madness and greed, maybe there is a way free of carnage and bloodshed, maybe there is hope. But I am by no means a political expert of any kind, nor am I in any position to actually influence anything of major importance. Yet, I do have a voice that I intend to use until someone shuts me up for good, and I hope that it is heard by some of you, and entices you to start using your voice as well! Which brings me to a final atrocious, scandalous, unspeakable act the EU-commission has had the nerve to commit: an alliance in Germany has collected signatures against TTIP, and gotten up to a million, which they handed in for the commission to consider, and you know what those cocksuckers had the guts to fucking do? They're suing. They're actually suing against signatures by citizens, they're suing against the people's will, and are thereby clearly proving whose side their on. I'll give you a hint, it's not ours. QED. Selah.

So, I hope you've enjoyed this somewhat short and belated Food For Thought segment, which I haven't done in quite a while, but I like to have one or at most two very related topics for these things, and that is usually quite hard. Some posts will start out as a FFT, but later changed into a regular post because they jumped around too many topics without ever going into greater detail. Which is not something I personally dislike, but it is not fit for a FFT segment, because that is something I like to use to get you to consider a single aspect of life or the world or whatever in its entirety so as to form your own opinion on it. Although I have to admit that my rant on TTIP here is biased and very one-sided, there are enough corporate plugs who'll sell you all kind of advantages, so if you want to hear both sides, go listen to any of them. They'll give you shiny numbers that can usually be disproved or put into actual context by doing just a tiny bit of research. So, if you feel you need both sides on this issues, go and let those in favor of TTIP paint their picture for you, but don't forget to find out what the colors and brush are really made of. In this light, I'll leave you be with some good music:

Smif-N-Wessun - Wreckonize
-> I don't really need to say much to this, do I? 'Just The Two Of Us' sample that was awesomely used here, amazing artists on a legendary track; good, old Hip Hop like it's supposed to be, lyrically way up there and still chill as fuck. So, you better wreckonize, and... Enjoy!

Crooklyn Dodgers 95 - Return Of The Crooklyn Dodgers
-> Well, once again, not much need be said here; awesome artists (Masta Ace, O.C., etc..), great beat, amazing lyrics! Once again one of the songs that remind me of how great Hip Hop used to be, of how fucking awesome music was back in the days, of how much I have missed for having been born too late, and just generally of how much I adore good music! Enjoy!

Saint Vitus - Born Too Late
-> Whilst writing the above caption, I was reminded of this song, so I decided to put it on here. This is an old doom metal tune that I've really enjoyed for a few years, then completely forgotten about it, and rediscovered it a few months ago... Well, it's a pretty cool song, so... Enjoy!

Black Sabbath - Crazy Train
-> Well what can I say, I'm just feeling the classics today! This song is from the Osbourne-era of Sabbath. I personally think that Ronnie was the better vocalist, but hey, Ozzy has his advantages too, and this song proves just that; an awesome, testosterone-laden riff, amazing vocals, and just an overall crazy greatness within the song make for a veritable classic piece of Rock'n'Roll history...Enjoy!

Skream vs. Distance - Political Warfare 
-> Since I'm doing classics today, I figured that this song definitely belongs on here, this is an old-school dubstep track from July 2007, and it is pretty fucking awesome to say the least. It's got this simplistic, chill feeling to it that just speaks to me somehow. I really enjoy the use of samples and the wobble in the void of this basic yet musically fascinating and complex tune. Enjoy!

Digital Mystikz - Earth A Run Red 
-> And here goes yet another classic, this time by Digital Mysitkz, and I have to say that this tune is pretty damn great! It has this nice underlying rhythm to it that remains prevalent throughout most of the song, yet manages to adapt itself ever so slightly to create a musical excellence the likes of which are rarely seen anymore. Anyhow, great song, awesome artists...Enjoy!

Well, this post is slightly delayed again, I know, but I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to actually making my deadline again. Plus I've had my birthday quite recently, and was a bit busy flying straight up to the sky for a day or so. Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed the post and the selection of music, I am really feeling the old classics lately, and that will reflect itself increasingly on the selection of songs here, which I hope all of you will enjoy! So, I'll try and make the next deadline in two weeks from now, and wish you nice holidays and a merry Christmas already! I'm not sure if I'll manage to cram in another post before Christmas eve, but we'll see...


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I have a thick skin, so go ahead if you feel like criticizing, but if you keep going on and on about details of carnal relations you claim to have had with my mother your comment will be removed.
I guess what I'm saying is that you can express your opinion, just try to do so in a constructive or at least moderately respectful manner, otherwise the comment section is just going to go to shit and I'll be forced to close it, seeing as I will definitely not be moderating it if unwanted/spam/bullshit comments keep coming...
If you can not behave, the possibility of commenting here will disappear, that's as simple as it is.