Bait and Switch


by Alex Symington…….

As so many celebrate (and rightly so) Obama’s smack down of the Keystone Pipeline project as a victory for environmentalists and a validation of the science of global warming, there is an even greater threat the president is soft peddling, yet with corporate media collusion managing to keep on the down low. This is a bit of razzle dazzle, bait and switch. While we are dancing in the streets at the death of the Keystone project Obama is quietly ushering in the impending disaster called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If passed and made law, it will neutralize laws, regulations and environmental safeguards of sovereign nations to be replaced or overruled by the interests of “Global Corporate” in the name of protection of profits. This is the biggest news you haven’t heard of for the simple fact that our fourth estate is owned and operated by the same corporate thieves feverishly working to make the TPP a global reality. It is like something out of a Mike Myers movie with the TPP being Dr. Evil, but without the comic relief!

In journalist Chris Hedges latest article on the TPP he talked with attorney Kevin Zeese of the group Popular Resistance, which has mounted a long fight against the trade agreement. Zeese told Hedges, “The TPP creates a web of corporate laws that will dominate the global economy. It is a global corporate coup d’état. Corporations will become more powerful than countries. Corporations will force democratic systems to serve their interests. Civil courts around the world will be replaced with corporate courts or so-called trade tribunals. This is a massive expansion that builds on the worst of NAFTA…”

We see this corporate favoritism already in our own fading representative government, where Corporate is well represented in congress and The People, the majority, can go to hell. Check out the link below for a viewer friendly animated graph illustrating how our congress works solely for the billionaire class and then imagine it on a global scale.

Zeese said of the TPP, “It was written by them [the corporations], it is for them and it will serve them. It will hurt domestic businesses and small businesses. The thrust of the agreement is the privatization and commodification of everything. The agreement has built within it a deep antipathy to state-supported or state-owned enterprises. It gives away what is left of our democracy to the World Trade Organization.”

The last time I wrote about the TPP the debate was whether or not to “fast track” the agreement; to vote on the bill with no provisions or alterations by congress. Obama has since signed off on the fast track last June. Chris Hedges writes, “The TPP, because of fast track, bypasses the normal legislative process of public discussion and consideration by congressional committees. The House and the Senate, which have to vote on the TPP bill within 90 days of when it is sent to Congress, are prohibited by the fast-track provision from adding floor amendments or holding more than 20 hours of floor debate. Congress cannot raise concerns about the effects of the TPP on the environment. It can only vote yes or no. It is powerless to modify or change one word.”

I feel the need to repeat that this is the biggest story that has been deliberately withheld from the American people. Six corporations own ninety percent of all media outlets. Perhaps that has something to do with it. They have had two years to report on this huge story of the TPP and its supremely adverse effects on the poor, the middleclass and the global environment, but have chosen to remain virtually silent. That in itself is a story! I am not making this up.

In Chris Hedges article he warns us in detail, “If there is no sustained popular uprising to prevent the passage of the TPP in Congress this spring we will be shackled by corporate power. Wages will decline. Working conditions will deteriorate. Unemployment will rise. Our few remaining rights will be revoked. The assault on the ecosystem will be accelerated. Banks and global speculation will be beyond oversight or control. Food safety standards and regulations will be jettisoned. Public services ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to the post office and public education will be abolished or dramatically slashed and taken over by for-profit corporations. “

“Prices for basic commodities, including pharmaceuticals, will skyrocket. Social assistance programs will be drastically scaled back or terminated. And countries that have public health care systems, such as Canada and Australia, which are in the agreement, will probably see their public health systems collapse under corporate assault.”

“Corporations will be empowered to hold a wide variety of patents, including over plants and animals, turning basic necessities and the natural world into marketable products. And, just to make sure corporations extract every pound of flesh, any public law interpreted by corporations as impeding projected profit, even a law designed to protect the environment or consumers, will be subject to challenge in an entity called the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) section. The ISDS, bolstered and expanded under the TPP, will see corporations paid massive sums in compensation from offending governments for impeding their “right” to further swell their bank accounts. Corporate profit effectively will replace the common good.”

That is an awful lot of bad news condensed into a few paragraphs, but we have been warned. If the TPP becomes law, in essence, the private/corporate billionaire class will have managed to do what no terrorist cabal could have dreamed of, let alone accomplished; destroy self-rule and democracy and replace it with a global corporate psychopathocracy.

The TPP will be the final nail in the coffin in what remains of the middle class and will seal the fate of those in hopeless crushing poverty. As the TPP is written now it makes Sharia Law look reasonable, NAFTA look like a church bake sale and the Keystone Pipeline seem like a clean-up in aisle seven.

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5 thoughts on “Bait and Switch

  1. Once again the reader is countenanced by the lazy superficial research of our favorite “progressive” exegete. Yes, the TPP is all that the author states it is; a horrific treaty most assuredly authored for its subvention by the puppet governments of the pacific rim to its masters. However, two things should jump out at any relevant author writing on this topic.

    The first is that if you are reading about this nefarious treaty with its pernicious elements on full display by the mainstream media (the only sources our intrepid reporter utilizes), it’s because that content is irrelevant, or is used as distraction. In this case, it’s both. And you need to dig a little deeper.

    The second is that even a cursory look at some basic, rudimentary facts, easily researchable in minutes, will prove the first. In this essay we are treated to the TPP as anathema to trade, labor, the environment, etc. Perhaps all true; but is that not occurring now, anyway? So how relevant to the prevalent paradigm is the TPP in that regard? And is it even about trade? Is that the focal point? There are 12 members supposedly signing on to the treaty, and it is always exclaimed that that represents 40% of the world economy. The U.S. alone represents about 55% of that leaving the other 11 countries the remaining 45%; so how impactful will trade be (Brunei, seriously?). also our 2 largest trading partners in the treaty are Canada and Mexico, and they will remain so treaty or not. Our largest trading partner is China, not in the treaty, so again, how relevant and impactful will trade be? Somehow I think if the Sultan was ever foolish enough to bring the U.S. government to court, a single fly over by an F-16 would quickly alter his legal ambitions. Therefore, one must ask despite the despotic provisions in the treaty, how relevant are they? So if trade is not the paramount consideration, what is?

    Less well known, and certainly not reported in the same spirit of the trade provisions, is the part of the TPP that deals with intellectual property enforcement. That would include things such as copyright laws, ISP liability and DRM, providing for more restrictive and draconian enforcement measures. In short, it is a back door attempt at controlling the Internet. I will leave it to the reader to research this on their own. It is a simple process that takes but a couple of key strokes.

    As always, these things have more to do with control, than anything else.

  2. Alex, Before getting on with it, allow me to say something about KB’s excellent comment. Once again, as he so often does with my stuff, he seems to be agreeing with you, in his own relevant way, but agreeing just the same. I appreciate his comment and think it adds something to your fine article. It’s a shame he must say these things as if he is in conflict with you. Something about his character, I guess.
    Now, for some reason or other, your article makes me think of 2 things: 1) Trump’s constant blasting of China for “taking advantage of us”, and 2) the demise of Howard Dean when he ran for president. As for the former, Trump seems to forget that whatever agreements we enter into with China, or however our business community relates to China, has been forged by US. China has not tricked anyone. China has acquiesced in exactly what our business community wants. Now, I’m not saying all of this is not beneficial to China (they’re not stupid), but it is uber beneficial to this country’s corporate interests. So Trump is attacking the wrong side here. As for the latter, you might remember that Dean was flying high in his quest for the president until he happened to mention that he’d like to break up the huge media monopolies in this country. Game over!! From that time on he was made to look silly on TV (remember the yeehaw stuff, etc.). The ease with which this was done was frightening. Good stuff, ciao, Jerome

    1. once again Mr. Grapel, we do not agree. once again you misread my comment. once again, we are talking about two different things.

      i thought i was pretty clear in that i submitted for the readers consideration that the TPP is less to do with trade, than it is to do with social control. there is little need for corporations to exact more control over the “market” than they presently exercise, making a trade agreement superfluous to their concerns. when you have 10 corporations selling you basically everything you buy in your daily life, 6 corporations controlling everything that you see and hear, and 147 corporations responsible for 40% of global commerce, you hardly need a document to ratify what you already have, and that is total control of the world economy. TPP is just another nail in the coffin of information flow in that it seeks to ratify the ruling class’s desire to finally gain control of the Internet. they failed in their last attempt with SOPA, and this is just another, more surreptitious foray into information control.

      so while the author of this article falls for the misdirection of TPP, and decries all the horrible ramifications of its passing vis a vie trade and economics, tell me, what will happen in the areas of labor law, wages, environmental issues, unions, employment, et al., that hasn’t happened already?

      no my myopic friends, TPP is more concerned with social control through intellectual property, with the Internet and copyright laws being center stage.

      and that Mr. Grapel is a different subject than the one the article addressed.

      1. KB, But still, regardless of whatever result this all leads to, be it social control or trade advantages, you and Mr. Symington are attacking the exact same thing. If you choose to express it in the way you do, and he chooses to express it in the way he does, you are both on the same side … and, I dare say, for much of the same reasons. This is all an integral whole, propagated by the same plutocrats we are all attacking. Sheesh! PCM

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