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‘People before profits!’ Thousands rally against TTIP, US corporate rule, GMO & wars in Rome (VIDEO)

‘People before profits!’ Thousands rally against TTIP, US corporate rule, GMO & wars in Rome (VIDEO)

© Ruptly
Tens of thousands came out in the capital of Italy to decry the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the United States, which protesters believe would push Europe into corporate slavery.

Demonstrators gathered in Rome’s San Giovanni Square holding up anti-TTIP banners reading,“American chicken filled with hormones on our tables? Stop TTIP,”“People before profits,” and “Free circulation? Not capital, but people,” while chanting slogans denouncing the treaty.

Protesters believe the treaty will lead to a deterioration in agricultural practices, as well as quality of work and services.

“Firstly, because it accelerates privatization, and secondly because big corporations will rule over European governments,” demonstrator Loretta Boni told RT’s Ruptly video agency.


Various organizations gathered in  today to protest 

Seven Ways TPP Favours Mega-rich Foreign Investors, Not Canadians

Seven Ways TPP Favours Mega-rich Foreign Investors, Not Canadians

And why there’s still time for Trudeau to reject it.

ProtestTPP_610px.jpg

The Trudeau government still has options to push for renegotiation or to decline either to sign or to ratify the TPP on Canada’s behalf. Protest photo by arindambanerjee via Shutterstock.

The Harper government agreed to the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with 12 countries including the U.S., Canada and Japan, shortly before the federal election on Oct. 19. Yet the TPP text was not made public until after the election.

Before it can enter into force, the TPP must be signed and then ratified by member countries. Therefore, the Trudeau government has options to push for renegotiation or to decline either to sign or to ratify the deal on Canada’s behalf.

In this article, I offer seven reasons why the TPP’s provisions on foreign investor protection — mostly found in its chapters on investment and financial services — should be rejected. These provisions reveal how the deal carries unacceptable risks for voters and taxpayers in TPP countries, while giving unjustified benefits to big multinationals and the super-wealthy.

1. The TPP would give special protections to foreign investors at significant public cost, without compelling evidence of a public benefit.

Like other trade agreements, the TPP would give foreign investors special rights to protect their assets by suing countries for compensation in the face of laws, regulations and other decisions that the foreign investor thinks are unfair. These potent international rights are not available to domestic investors or anyone else, even in the most extreme situations of mistreatment.

Why should foreign investors have a special global status and, effectively, a generous public subsidy against the economic risks of democracy and regulation that apply to everyone? The onus should be on promoters of the TPP to give compelling evidence of a corresponding benefit of foreign investor protections for the public. To my knowledge, they have not yet done so.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Democracy Sold Out to Greed

Democracy Sold Out to Greed

While the “free Western media” cheers, the Western “democratic” governments sell out the peoples of the Western world to corporate tyranny


John Massaria has turned my interview with Julian Charles into a video.

The video helps me to bring home that “Western democracy” is a sham, a total lie.

Every Western government and Washington’s Asian vassal states are totally under the control of private corporations and private interest groups. The corporations govern, and they are in the process of institutionalizing their governance with the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships. The purpose of these “partnerships” is to make global corporations higher than the laws of the “sovereign” countries in which they do business.

Anything, whether law, rule, regulation, or moral principle that interferes with corporate profits is outlawed as “a resraint on trade.”

Western civilization is over and done with. Nothing remains except historical achievements that are no longer understood or appreciated.

Trans-Pacific Partnership text has been released

Trans-Pacific Partnership text has been released

Canada has entered into side letters with U.S., Japan, Malaysia as part of deal

New Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen with Canadian Governor General David Johnston, right, will be challenged early by how they respond to a critical economic agreement that was negotiated by their predecessors.

New Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen with Canadian Governor General David Johnston, right, will be challenged early by how they respond to a critical economic agreement that was negotiated by their predecessors. (Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

The long-awaited text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal was released on Thursday, revealing the details of a pact aimed at freeing up commerce in 40 per cent of the world’s economy but criticized for its opacity.

The partners — which in addition to Canada include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam — have made commitments to discourage imports of goods produced by forced labour and to adopt laws on acceptable working conditions, and the first prohibition on harmful fisheries subsidies.

But TPP, which will set common standards on issues ranging from workers’ rights to intellectual property protection in 12 Pacific nations, was kept largely from public scrutiny, angering transparency advocates concerned over its broad implications.

The Liberals, before assuming power, criticized the Conservative government for a lack of transparency regarding what Canada may have given up in the negotiations, although they support the notion of free trade.

Justin Trudeau, in a statement on Oct. 5, promised “a full and open public debate in Parliament to ensure Canadians are consulted on this historic trade agreement.”

Ed Fast

Ed Fast, seen speaking to reporters on Sept. 30 from the site of the most recent talks, Atlanta, said he believed the deal could be worth about $3.5 billion of additional economic activity to Canada. (Alex Panetta/The Canadian Press)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade deals boosting climate change: the food factor

Trade deals boosting climate change: the food factor

The climate talks in Paris in December this year are viewed as a last chance for the world’s governments to commit to binding targets that might halt our march towards catastrophe. But in the countdown to Paris, many of these same governments have signed or are pushing a raft of ambitious trade and investment deals that would pre-empt measures that they could take to deal with climate change (see box 1).

What we know of these deals so far, from the few texts that have leaked out of the secretive negotiations, is that they will lead to more production, more trade and more consumption of fossil fuels – at a time of global consensus on the need for reductions.1 In particular, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are expected to result in increased EU reliance on fossil fuel imports from North America, as well as a restriction of policy space to promote low carbon economies and renewables. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a mega-pact involving 14 countries in Asia and the Americas that was concluded earlier this month, is expected to result in more gas exports from the US to the Pacific Rim countries. The new deals will also extend investor-state dispute settlement provisions which companies are already using through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to reverse moratoriums on fracking and other popular environmental measures implemented by governments.2

Less has been said about how the provisions dealing with food and agriculture in these deals will affect our climate. But the question is vital, because food and farming figure hugely in climate change. From deforestation to fertiliser use, and from factory farms to supermarket shelves, producing, transporting, consuming and wasting food account for around half of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).3

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US On Road To Third World

US On Road To Third World

On January 6, 2004, Senator Charles Schumer and I challenged the erroneous idea that jobs offshoring was free trade in a New York Times op-ed. Our article so astounded economists that within a few days Schumer and I were summoned to a Brookings Institution conference in Washington, DC, to explain our heresy. In the nationally televised conference, I declared that the consequence of jobs offshoring would be that the US would be a Third World country in 20 years.

That was 11 years ago, and the US is on course to descend to Third World status before the remaining nine years of my prediction have expired.

The evidence is everywhere. In September the US Bureau of the Census released its report on US household income by quintile. Every quintile, as well as the top 5%, has experienced a decline in real household income since their peaks. The bottom quintile (lower 20 percent) has had a 17.1% decline in real income from the 1999 peak (from $14,092 to $11,676). The 4th quintile has had a 10.8% fall in real income since 2000 (from $34,863 to $31,087). The middle quintile has had a 6.9% decline in real income since 2000 (from $58,058 to $54,041). The 2nd quintile has had a 2.8% fall in real income since 2007 (from $90,331 to $87,834). The top quintile has had a decline in real income since 2006 of 1.7% (from $197,466 to $194,053). The top 5% has experienced a 4.8% reduction in real income since 2006 (from $349,215 to $332,347). Only the top One Percent or less (mainly the 0.1%) has experienced growth in income and wealth.

The Census Bureau uses official measures of inflation to arrive at real income. These measures are understated. If more accurate measures of inflation are used (such as those available from shadowstats.com), the declines in real household income are larger and have been declining for a longer period. Some measures show real median annual household income below levels of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade Deals vs. ‘Core Community Values’

Trade Deals vs. ‘Core Community Values’

How a federal ‘no’ to Nova Scotia mine got whacked by NAFTA’s tribunal.

Canada lost a big chunk of its sovereignty as well as its right to protect local communities from bad developments earlier this year in a little reported NAFTA tribunal decision.

Furthermore the appalling ruling has major implications for any community or First Nation opposed to liquefied natural gas terminals, mining projects or bitumen pipelines.

The bizarre Bilcon case also represents a perfect example of why Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, now commonplace in international trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, face increasing resistance from citizens around the world.

The investor trade law expert Gus Van Harten has defined the ISDS or new pseudo-courts deftly. Their purpose “is to protect foreign investors, meaning usually the world’s wealthiest companies and people, from the rest of us. Instead of public courts, you now have private lawyers sitting as ‘arbitrators’ with the power to decide how much Canadians must pay to compensate foreign investors for our country’s decisions.”

Last March, a three-man NAFTA tribunal ruled that a federal and provincial environmental review process grossly erred by rejecting a controversial quarry proposed by a Delaware construction company on Digby Point in Nova Scotia.

Tellingly, the ruling can’t be contested under Canadian law.

The dismal facts are these. The Delaware-based firm Bilcon wanted to blast, crush, wash and stockpile millions of tons of rock a year and to build a 170 metre-long marine terminal that would load cargo ships with approximately 40,000 tons of aggregate, every week over a 50-year period.

Lots of Nova Scotians objected to the mining export project on the grounds that it would degrade a precious resource: the beautiful Bay of Fundy.

A joint federal review environmental panel noted that Bilcon didn’t do a very good job talking to First Nations or fishermen either.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Agriculture Issues Just the Tip of the TPP Iceberg

Agriculture Issues Just the Tip of the TPP Iceberg

Trade deal could slam Canadians with rising consumer, health care and education costs

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that encompasses nearly 40 per cent of world GDP, heads to Hawaii later this month for ministerial-level negotiations. According to media reports, this may be the final round of talks, with countries expected to address the remaining contentious issues with their “best offers” in the hope that an agreement can be reached. Canadian coverage of the TPP has centred primarily on U.S. demands for changes to longstanding agricultural market safeguards.

With a national election a few months away, the prospect of overhauling some of Canada’s biggest business sectors has politicians from all parties waffling on the agreement. Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, who will lead the Canadian delegation, maintains that the government has not agreed to dismantle supply management protections and that it will only enter into an agreement if the deal is in the best interests of the country. The opposition parties are similarly hesitant to stake out positions on key issues, noting that they cannot judge the TPP until it is concluded and publicly released.

While the agricultural issues may dominate debate, it is only one unresolved issue of many. Indeed, the concerns associated with the agreement go far beyond the supply of products such as milk and chickens.

Meddles with copyright

First, a recently leaked version of the intellectual property chapter revealed that Canada would have to make significant changes to its copyright and patent rules. The TPP requires Canada to extend the term of copyright to life of the author plus an additional 70 years. The law is currently set at life of the author plus 50 years, which meets the international standard found in the Berne Convention.

 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US criminal economics: TPP secret treaty = ‘constitutional republic,’ debt = ‘money’, 500 million+ dead from poverty = ‘necessary.’ Had enough to demand arrests?

US criminal economics: TPP secret treaty = ‘constitutional republic,’ debt = ‘money’, 500 million+ dead from poverty = ‘necessary.’ Had enough to demand arrests?

hat tip: Ellen Brown, Web of Debt Blog

“Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people… When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous.” – Psychology Today

The .01% psychopathic oligarch “leaders” (and here) in US government, banking/finance, and corporate media wage war upon the 99.99%  in ~100 crucial areas. Aside from lie-began overt unlawful military Wars of Aggression connected to economic domination with the US starting over 200 such armed attacks since WW2 and war-murdering ~30 million people (with these crimes “covered” by corporate media, let’s consider three central economic policies:

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards”: The Alice in Wonderland World of Fast-tracked Secret Trade Agreements

“Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards”: The Alice in Wonderland World of Fast-tracked Secret Trade Agreements

`Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

`No, no!’ said the Queen. `Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’

`Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!’

`Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

`I won’t!’ said Alice.

`Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.

                    — Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four years or five years, respectivelyafter the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated?

The TPP, TiSA and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP, which covers Europe) will collectively encompass three-fourths of the world’s GDP; and they ultimately seek to encompass nearly 90 percent of GDP. Despite this enormous global impact, fast-track authority would allow the President to sign the deals before their terms have been made public, and send implementing legislation to Congress that cannot be amended or filibustered and is not subject to the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds treaty vote.

While the deals are being negotiated, lawmakers can see their terms only under the strictest secrecy, and they can be subjected to criminal prosecution for revealing those terms. What we know of them comes only through WikiLeaks. The agreements are being treated as if they were a matter of grave national security, yet they are not about troop movements or military strategy. Something else is obviously going on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Trade Deals and the Quest for Global Dominance

Trade Deals and the Quest for Global Dominance

The Slavery Economy

The Setup

“In the factory books, you see lots of turnover. But slaves couldn’t quit. While factories were worrying about filling positions and just keeping things going, plantation owners were focused on optimization. They could reallocate labor as they saw fit. I found real quantitative analysis in their records. They were literally looking at humans as capital.”

— Caitlin Rosenthal, Harvard Business Review

As this is being written U.S. President Barack Obama is pushing the House of Representatives to give him ‘fast-track’ authority for his trade agreement, the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), granting him the authority to cede political control to global capital at will. As has now been well commented on, the agreement isn’t about trade per se, but is a template for the consolidation of corporate power within an international framework. The current push for explicit ‘political’ control is only an anomaly to the historically illiterate— the growth of Western capitalism has come through use of state power in the service of predominant economic interests. Hopes that the defeat of ‘fast-track’ will represent a strategic victory against global capital have several centuries of history to overcome.

uriefast1

A machine that turns the toil of one group into the possession of another is invented. Presciently, the source of the labor and toil to be converted; be it through slavery, imperialism, armed robbery or capitalism, is irrelevant. Nature, as expressed through the ‘will’ of the machine, is served by the conversion. Or at least that is the explanation provided by those whose pockets its product ends up in. Original image source: flourmillmachines.com.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Free Trade Deals Put Profits Over Public Interest

Free Trade Deals Put Profits Over Public Interest

‘Poison pill’ strategy ties hands of future governments.

Opponents of so-called free trade deals have always struggled with the question of why these international treaties don’t generate more alarm and vocal opposition from Canadians. These treaties, after all, trump all other Canadian authority to make laws — provincial legislatures, Parliament, the courts and even the Constitution. If, instead of being bored by news of another ho-hum “trade deal,” Canadians were told that a panel of three international trade lawyers would be reviewing all new laws and determining, in secret, which ones passed muster by meeting with the approval of their giant corporate clients, would they react differently?

That is effectively what all of these corporate rights treaties establish: extra-judicial rulings whose objective is to protect the profits against laws passed in the public interest. The clauses that allow such suits are referred to as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). This is not hyperbole — that is the actual, stated objective of ISDS: if a new law affects the expected future profits of a foreign owned company, it can sue the federal government for damages. And the decision is made by a panel of trade lawyers whose bias is, naturally, in favour of facilitating corporate interests — because that is who they normally work for. They aren’t environmental lawyers or labour lawyers or human rights lawyers. They’re trade lawyers. Foxes judging the right of other foxes to kill chickens.

Twenty years after NAFTA — the first free trade agreement to include ISDS — came into effect there are many examples of laws duly passed by legislatures in the public interest that have been ruled in violation of NAFTA. Some are more egregious than others — but they all challenge and assign financial penalties against laws that one government or another thought were important enough to implement.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada Is Trading Away Its Environmental Rights

Canada Is Trading Away Its Environmental Rights

In 1997, Canada restricted import and transfer of the gasoline additive MMT because it was a suspected neurotoxin that had already been banned in Europe. Ethyl Corp., the U.S. multinational that supplied the chemical, sued the government for $350 million under the North American Free Trade Agreement and won! Canada was forced to repeal the ban, apologize to the company and pay an out-of-court settlement of US$13 million.

The free trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico was never designed to raise labour and environmental standards to the highest level. In fact, NAFTA and other trade agreements Canada has signed — including the recent Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China — often take labour standards to the lowest denominator while increasing environmental risk. The agreements are more about facilitating corporate flexibility and profit than creating good working conditions and protecting the air, water, land and diverse ecosystems that keep us alive and healthy.

Canada’s environment appears to be taking the brunt of NAFTA-enabled corporate attacks. And when NAFTA environmental-protection provisions do kick in, the government often rejects them.

According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, more than 70 per cent of NAFTA claims since 2005 have been against Canada, with nine active cases totalling $6 billion outstanding. These challenge “a wide range of government measures that allegedly interfere with the expected profitability of foreign investments,” including the Quebec government’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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