Thursday, July 07, 2016

Making Matters Worse

When bigots and buffoons -- like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump -- oppose world trade deals, Linda McQuaig writes, they give the globalizers plenty of ammunition:

Having such a collection of bigots and boors opposing “globalization” may turn out to be a boon for those promoting globalization — that is, the laws that govern the global economy.

This is unfortunate, since these laws — and the international trade deals that enforce them — have delivered benefits almost exclusively to those at the top in recent years, and should be thoroughly overhauled.

When you look at history and the evidence, there are good reasons to rebel against NAFTA and the proposed TPP deal: 

There’s a litany of reasons why any sensible person would resist these trade deals.

But the most outrageous aspect of them has always been the special set of legal rights they bestow on foreign corporations and investors. These rights — which go beyond anything that exists in domestic or international law — enable wealthy foreigners to sue governments over policies the foreigners don’t like, and to have their lawsuits decided by closed tribunals.

Indeed, the TPP could open a floodgate of new claims by wealthy foreigners, according to a powerful report by Osgoode Hall law professor Gus Van Harten, released last month but ignored by the media.

“With the TPP, many more such claims will become possible,” notes Van Harten, an expert in international law and investment treaties.

The report documents how corporations and wealthy investors have taken advantage of the bizarrely generous legal rights available to them under NAFTA, suing Canada 39 times and winning more than $190 million in compensation from Canadian taxpayers. There is no cap on how high the compensation can be, and the vast majority of it goes to the ultra-rich – corporations with annual revenues over $1 billion and individuals with net wealth above $100 million.

With all their sound, fury and obfuscation, the buffoons are making matters worse. 



Steve said...

I am reading the tea leaves and see Canada in the TPP if the USA signs. I see the USA signing in a lame duck sesion of congress. And so it goes.

Owen Gray said...

Hillary says she doesn't like the deal, Steve. The States may balk. And, if they do, we will, too.

Steve said...

I do not believe anything Hillary says. She practically wrote the TPP. (or cut and pasted direct from the corporations). That is why the fix is in. A lame duck congress, no one was responsible it just happened.

Owen Gray said...

What you predict may happen, Steve. But public dissatisfaction is growing. And politicians have been known to change their positions when the natives get restless.

Danneau said...

It's hard to fathom that I might agree with Hillary or Donald or Nigel. Not a fan of unnecessary "trade" agreements that are sad excuses for exacerbating the chasm that has opened up between capital and labour and eviscerating the last vestiges of popular control over economic, social and environmental issues, but the demagoguery against the TPP from Hils, The Donald and the now (for now) departed Nigel belies the underlying desire to control those same issues, but for their own benefit. So now I feel better about not agreeing with the unholy trinity, but I still feel like a dog's breakfast about the prospects for society. As to politicians holding their index to the wind, my sense of the current crop is that they need only see a dollar sign to spin their little weathervane 180 degrees, collectively deciding that they know what's best for the masses as they slink off with their bribes and hush money.

Owen Gray said...

It's easy to convince yourself that you're working for the masses as long as the money is rolling in, Danneau.

Anonymous said...

"Hillary says she doesn't like the deal, Steve. The States may balk. And, if they do, we will, too."

Hillary also said the TPP was the "gold standard" when she helped put together the deal as SoS.

She has already taken the bribe money. And the Clinton Foundation has a 'no refund' policy.

In the unfortunate event that Hillary becomes president, expect the TPP to be in her first-100-day agenda. (The Canadian Liberals are already on board. Only thing that can change that is electoral reform, which will change how parties are positioned along the left/right spectrum. Under FPTP, Red Tories own the government whether Liberal or Con.)

Funny how Trump is a non-Republican who will blow up the Republican party and Hillary is a Republican who will blow up the Democratic party. Clearly I prefer the former, which will provide the perfect springboard to an Elizabeth Warren 'New Deal' presidential bid in 2020. (Better that Trump plays the role of Herbert Humphrey than Hillary.)

If the latter, a Republican revolution in 2020: "It's the economy, stupid!" I.e., 12 years of Great Recession, the worst economic slump in American history, under "Democratic" presidents.

-Bernie Orbust

Owen Gray said...

I wish I could be as sanguine as you are about a Trump presidency leading to a Warren presidency, Bernie. But given Trump's total contempt for the constitution, I fear that the country would never get to Warren.

Anonymous said...

"But given Trump's total contempt for the constitution, I fear that the country would never get to Warren."

Unlike Canada, America is a democracy. In Canada the prime minister is awarded absolute power by the establishment news media (on 40% support.) In America, there are three branches of government: the executive, the House and the Senate. It's easy enough for Trump to say things off the top of his head, like building a wall between the US and Mexico. But getting democratic support for outrageous policies and withstanding blistering attacks from the news media and the resultant plummeting in the polls make a big difference between the theoretical and the real. (Especially with mid-term elections looming.)

The establishment attempts to portray Trump as another Hitler or Mussolini. But anyone with a little knowledge of history knows that when the real fascists make an appearance, there will be no mistaken it. In reality, the establishment is hysterical about the prospect of losing outsourcing revenues and that's where these Good Shepherds lead their prole-fed centrist flock.

-Bernie Orbust

Owen Gray said...

You're assuming that Trump will allow the American system to work as it's supposed to, Bernie. Fascists assume emergency powers, claiming that the system is rigged. Trump is already making those kinds of noises.