Tag Archives: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

How Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Are Designed to End Democracy

By Eric Zuesse
June 14, 2015
Global Research

 

U.S. President Barack Obama has for years been negotiating with European and Asian nations — but excluding Russia and China, since he is aiming to defeat them in his war to extend the American empire (i.e, to extend the global control by America’s aristocracy) — three international ‘trade’ deals (TTP, TTIP, & TISA), each one of which contains a section (called ISDS) that would end important aspects of the sovereignty of each signatory nation,

  • by setting up an international panel composed solely of corporate lawyers to serve as ‘arbitrators’ deciding cases brought before this panel to hear lawsuits by international corporations accusing a given signatory nation of violating that corporation’s ‘rights’
  • by its trying to legislate regulations that are prohibited under the ’trade’ agreement, such as by increasing the given nation’s penalties for fraud,
  • by lowering the amount of a given toxic substance that the nation allows in its foods,
  • by increasing the percentage of the nation’s energy that comes from renewable sources,
  • by penalizing corporations for hiring people to kill labor union organizers — i.e., by any regulatory change that benefits the public at the expense of the given corporations’ profits. (No similar and countervailing power for nations to sue international corporations is included in this: the ‘rights’ of ‘investors’ — but really of only the top stockholders in international corporations — are placed higher than the rights of any signatory nation.)

This provision, whose full name is “Investor State Dispute Resolution” grants a one-sided benefit to the controlling stockholders in international corporations, by enabling them to bring these lawsuits to this panel of lawyers, whose careers will consist of their serving international corporations, sometimes as ‘arbitrators’ in these panels, and sometimes as lawyers who more-overtly represent one or more of those corporations, but also serving these corporations in other capacities, such as via being appointed by them to head a tax-exempt foundation to which international corporations ‘donate’ and so to turn what would otherwise be PR expenses into corporate tax-deductions. In other words: to be an ‘arbitrator’ on these panels can produce an extremely lucrative career.

These are in no way democratic legal proceedings; they’re the exact opposite, an international conquest of democracy, by international corporations. This “ISDS” sounds deceptively non-partisan, but it’s really a grant to the controlling international investors giving them a ‘right’ against the taxpayers in each of the signatory nations, a ‘right’ to sue, essentially, those taxpayers; and ISDS includes no countervailing ‘right’ to those taxpayers, to sue those international corporations; it’s an entirely one-sided provision, and it even removes the authority of the democratically elected national government to adjudicate the matter. It even removes the appeals-court system: once a decision is reached by the ‘arbitrating’ panel, it is final, it cannot be appealed. And no nation may present a challenge to the constitutionality of the ‘arbitrators’ decision. These treaties, if signed, will override the signatory nation’s constitution, on those matters.

This idea started after World War II and the defeat of the fascist nations on the military battlefields, and it moved this great fascist-v.-democratic war to a different type of battlefield. It’s round 2 of WW II.

Unlike many wars, WW II was an ideological war. On the one side stood the Allies; on the other, the fascist powers. The first fascist leader, Italy’s Benito Mussolini, said in November 1933 that his ideal was “corporatism” or “corporationism,” in which the state, or the national government, serves its corporations (see page 426 there):

“The corporation plays on the economic terrain just as the Grand Council and the militia play on the political terrain. Corporationism is disciplined economy, and from that comes control, because one cannot imagine a discipline without a director.

Corporationism is above socialism and above liberalism. A new synthesis is created. It is a symptomatic fact that the decadence of capitalism coincides with the decadence of socialism. All the Socialist parties of Europe are in fragments.

Evidently the two phenomena—I will not say conditions—present a point of view which is strictly logical: there is between them a historical parallel. Corporative economy arises at the historic moment when both the militant phenomena, capitalism and socialism, have already given all that they could give. From one and from the other we inherit what they have of vitality. …

There is no doubt that, given the general crisis of capitalism, corporative solutions can be applied anywhere.”

The Bilderberg Group

The secret (and still secretive today) Bilderberg group created in 1954, brings together the leaders, and the advisers to the leaders, of international corporations, meeting annually or bi-annually, near the places where major national leaders or potential future leaders have pre-scheduled to congregate, such as this year’s G-7 meeting in Bavaria, so that even heads-of-state (and/or their aides) can quietly slip away unofficially to join nearby the Bilderbergs and communicate privately with them, to coordinate their collective international fascist endeavor (and decide which presidential candidates to fund), to institute a fascist world government that will possess a legal control higher than what’s possessed by any merely national government.

Just as the anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, G-7 conference ended on 8 June 2015, the Bilderberg conference opened 15 miles away three days later (after a few days of vacation in the Bavarian Alps), and Britain’s Telegraph (as it does every year with extraordinary boldness for the Western press) issued the list of attendees, which included top advisors to many heads-of-state, plus major investors in ‘defense’ stocks, plus top propagandists against Russia (such as Anne Applebaum).

Bilderbergers have always been opposed to the old ideal of an emerging global federalism of democracies to constitute an ultimate world government; they instead favor a dictatorial world government, imposed by (the controlling owners of) international corporations. The major international corporations are controlled by perhaps fewer than a hundred people around the world; and, the other billions of people, the mere citizens, will, in this plan, as realized under Obama’s ‘trade’ deals, be fined if a three-person panel of servants (the ‘arbitrators’) to that perhaps fewer than 100 people, rule to say that the given nation has violated the ‘rights’ of those ‘investors,’ and assesses the ‘fine’ against those taxpayers.

The first Bilderberg meeting was called together by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in a personal invitation which proposed that, “I think that a ‘partnership for growth’ is a fine idea. A good deal has been said but very little has been done about trade policy, and this would be a good place to start the partnership.” (Note the ‘Partnership’ in “Trans Pacific Partnership,” and in “Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership”; but TISA doesn’t use that term.)

Among the leading Americans at the first (and perhaps each of the subsequent) Bilderberg meetings, were Wall Streeters David Rockefeller and George Ball, both of whom subsequently lobbied the U.S. Congress heavily to replace national standards with international standards, something that would be an improvement if done within a democratic framework (which would thus have electoral accountability to the public, and be appealable and amendable), but they didn’t even mention any proposed framework, and virtually everyone at that time was simply assuming that nobody in ’the West’ would have any dictatorial framework in mind; everybody assumed that, after the defeat of the fascist nations, any emerging world government could only be democratic. This isn’t what Bilderbergers actually had in mind, however.

Matt Stoller, on 20 February 2014, bannered, “NAFTA Origins, Part Two: The Architects of Free Trade Really Did Want a World Government of Corporations,” and he reported, from his study of the Congressional Record, that:

After the Kennedy round [international-trade talks] ended [in 1967], liberal internationalists, including people like Chase CEO David Rockefeller and former Undersecretary of State George Ball, began pressing for reductions in non-tariff barriers, which they perceived as the next set of trade impediments to pull down. Ball was an architect of 1960s U.S. trade policy — he helped write the Trade Act of 1962, which set the stage for what eventually became the World Trade Organization.

But Ball’s idea behind getting rid of these barriers wasn’t about free trade, it was about reorganizing the world so that corporations could manage resources for “the benefit of mankind”. It was a weird utopian vision that you can hear today in the current United States Trade Representative Michael Froman’s speeches. …

In the opening statement [by Ball to Congress in 1967], before a legion of impressive Senators and Congressmen, Ball attacks the very notion of sovereignty. He goes after the idea that “business decisions” could be “frustrated by a multiplicity of different restrictions by relatively small nation states that are based on parochial considerations,” and lauds the multinational corporation as the most perfect structure devised for the benefit of mankind.

As for David Rockefeller, he wrote in the 1 February 1999 Newsweek an essay “Looking for New Leadership,” in which he stated (p. 41) the widely quoted (though the rest of the article is ignored): “In recent years, there’s been a trend toward democracy and market economies. That has lessened the role of government, which is something business people tend to be in favor of. But the other side of the coin is that somebody has to take governments’ place, and business seems to me to be a logical entity to do it.” He meant there that international corporations should have supreme sovereignty, above that of any nation. He always emphasized what he proudly called “internationalism.” To him, like to Ball, governments — that is, national governments — were the problem, and democracy is not the solution. The solution is, to exact the contrary: provide supreme sovereignty to international corporations, as an international authority higher than any democracy, or that any nation.

A two-minute video succinctly states the case for UK citizens against ISDS regarding Obama’s proposed TTIP or Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership with Europe, but the case equally applies for all citizens, regarding Obama’s TPP with Asia, and his TISA with all countries for “Services,” including financial services and the ‘rights’ that international financial corporations such as banks have to transfer their billionaires’ gambling (‘investment’) losses onto the taxpayers (via megabank bailouts). Obama’s ‘trade’ deals will thus internationalize the system to bail out billionaires on their losses. Furthermore, (as that linked source on TISA explained): if TISA passes, then the United States, which is virtually the only industrialized country that hasn’t socialized the health-insurance function, would be prohibited from ever socializing it. (This, mind you, from the very same Barack Obama who, while he was running against Hillary Clinton in 2008 to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, told the AFL-CIO, “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare coverage.” He didn’t just lie: he’s now fighting to make socialization of health insurance absolutely impossible in the United States. No wonder why as President, Obama’s White House argued to the Supreme Court that no state may limit lying in political campaigns — that lying in politics is Constitutionally protected ‘Free Speech.’ Obama sets the record for phoniness.)

The world is already almost completely fascistic. As I previously reported, it really, truly, is the case that the “World’s Richest 80 People Own Same Amount as World’s Bottom 50%.” And, furthermore, the only rigorous scientific study that has ever been done of the extent to which a recognized ‘democratic’ country actually is a democracy found that that nation definitely is not. The nation was the United States. The U.S. was discovered to be, and long to have been, a dictatorship, in which the people who are not in the richest 10% have no impact whatsoever on the nation’s policies. A brief video accurately summarized that study (by Gillens and Page) and explained why its findings are that way. This 6-minute video is a crash course on political reality. That Gillens and Page study noted at the end, that, “Our findings also point toward the need to learn more about exactly which economic elites (the ‘merely affluent’? the top 1%? the top 0.01%?) have how much impact upon public policy.”

However, the most detailed study of the flow of economic benefits and costs in the United States since 2000 has found that all of the economic benefits from ‘America’s economic recovery’ and ‘the end of the recession,’ etc., have gone only to the top 1%. (The ‘news’ media try to say it’s not ‘really’ so, but the finding is based on the most solid of all data, and that’s the most reliable way to calculate anything.) Another study, which I did, also based on the best available data, “The Top 1% of America’s Top 1%,” has shown that the reason for the immense power that’s within the top 10% is the soaring wealth-boost to only the top 0.01%, the very top end of the top end. Comparing the boost to incomes at America’s top 0.1% to that of the top 0.01%, one sees that most of the income of the top 0.1% is actually going to merely the top 0.01%, so that, as I summed it up, “the wealthiest of the billionaires are getting almost everything.” And, this is the situation even before the Bilderberg plan is fully in force. Obama’’s ‘trade’ deals wouldn’t just lock this in; they’d vastly increase the power, and also the wealth, of the perhaps 100 or fewer people who control the largest international corporations.

The fact that these ‘trade’ deals are being pushed right now, means that the people who are in power have concluded that, already, ‘the free world’ is so dictatorial, that the chances that their plan can now be imposed globally are about as good as is likely ever to be the case again. The time is ripe for them to establish a global corporate dictatorship. The political money this year will be flowing like never before.

TTP, TTIP, TISA: Stop Obama’s Insane “Legacy” Trade Deals

Did Senator Harry Reid Finally Do It?

By Eric Zuesse
June 14, 2015
Global Research

 

obama-tyrant1-940x480President Obama has many times made clear to congressional Democrats that the most important thing in the “legacy” that he hopes to leave behind from his Presidency is his big-three ‘trade’ deals: TPP with Asia, TTIP with Europe, and TISA for international services including banking and insurance. 

It is, indeed, the most ambitious international economic agenda that has ever been pushed by any U.S. President. (It’s not about “trade”; it’s about transferring democratic national sovereignty to dictatorial corporate international sovereignty.) And the leading Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, has called it “insane,” because Bill Clinton’s much smaller but otherwise similar NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) sent so many jobs abroad, and so hollowed-out the American economy, that it significantly caused the soaring economic inequality during the Bush-Obama years.

The first thing that Reid did to kill those ‘trade’ deals — while he was still the Senate’s Majority Leader in 2014 and was thus able to prevent the enabling act, called “Fast Track,” to pass in the U.S. Senate — was to block that “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority,” which he possessed then the power to block, as the Senate’s Majority Leader, because there were more Democrats than Republicans in the Senate, and so Democrats chose the Senate’s leader. I headlined at the time (which was on 30 January 2014), “Harry Reid Effectively Kills Obama’s TPP and TTIP International Trade Deals.”

After Reid did that, Obama’s only hope to pass those ‘trade’ deals through Congress would be for Reid to lose his position as the Majority Leader in the Senate — in other words, for voters to elect more Republicans than Democrats to the Senate in the 2014 elections — and this is exactly what happened: Obama in 2014 received the Republican victory that he needed in the Senate, in order for his legacy to be able to become what he hoped it would be: these ‘trade’ deals (which would cause America’s soaring wealth-inequality to soar even more). (He probably heaved a private sigh of relief at ‘his’ Party’s losses in November 2014.) Republican Senator Mitch McConnell thus replaced Reid in that position. McConnell, of course, passionately supports Obama’s ‘trade’ deals; and, so, after the November 2014 mid-term elections, it seemed that Barack Obama would, despite Reid’s opposition, finally be racing toward his Presidency’s finish-line with the high likelihood of winning his “legacy,” which would make Bill Clinton’s legacy seem tiny by comparison — and Bill and Hillary Clinton made $25 million in just speakers’ fees for merely the year 2014; so, Obama’s equivalent at a similar time in his retirement might be perhaps a hundred million dollars yearly, just in speaking fees alone, for what would then become his historically unprecedented achievement in serving the perhaps one hundred Americans who control half of the world’s largest international corporations and who would be perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars richer because of Obama’s then-successful efforts on their behalf. Those people are grateful to their biggest servants, and so it’s not at all difficult to understand the reason why Obama was seeking to have this type of legacy, as his own. He aspired to become the super-Clinton.

Here is how Harry Reid was finally enabled perhaps to kill those deals, even though he no longer runs the Senate:

In May, Reid made a deal with the new Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, that Reid would be able to get enough Democratic Senators to vote with the Republicans to pass Fast Track only if it included “Trade Adjustment Assistance” (TAA) a slight assistance to the workers who would lose their jobs due to these ‘trade’ deals. This idea went against the grain of Republicans (who contemptuously call that “welfare”), but McConnell was finally persuaded to accept it so long as its “pay for” (in order not to increase federal spending) would come out of the hides ofother poor and middle class Americans, not the rich — and the longtime dream of Republicans has been especially to cripple Medicare; so, cutting Medicare was McConnell’s demand; and, on that basis, Reid rounded up enough Senate Democrats to get what McConnell wanted — Fast Track with TAA and Medicare cuts — through the Senate and off to the House, to approve. Everybody at the time thought that it was a shocking sell-out, that Democrats provided the additional votes which were necessary in order to pass that.

Two phenomenally well-connected and knowledgeable pseudonymous bloggers, “Yves Smith” in the field of finance, and “Gaius Publius” in the field of politics, headlined on June 12th, “Gaius Publius: Nancy Pelosi Got a TPP Talking-To from Her Caucus, Plus Where We Are on Fast Track,” and “Gaius” called this Medicare-cut “the Medicare Poison Pill,” because it’s the thing that some Democrats who otherwise would have voted for the TAA bill, could not vote for it, because they’d then be challenged in primaries by a Democratic contender who’d say “That’s the person who voted to reduce your Medicare benefits.” The excuse from the incumbent in such a primary — “I had to do that in order to help the workers who will be displaced by the Obama trade bills that I was helping to fast-track into law” — wouldn’t do them much good; they might even lose their seats, no matter how much money that some appreciative billionaires would be donating to those Democrats’ re-election campaigns.

But there was yet another, though lesser “poison pill,” which caused a few Republicans to peal away from Obama’s “legacy” legislation; and this was Reid’s having also gone along with McConnell’s need to serve McConnell’s big export clients, especially GE and Boeing, by reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, a big subsidy to exporters. A few libertarian Republicans would refuse to go along with that, because they oppose any subsidies, not even to the rich. Or, as the Heritage Foundation said, “TPA [Trade Promotion Authority] has gotten bogged down in the politics of protectionism [the Export-Import Bank] and welfare spending [TAA].”

So, because TAA died, Fast Track died; and, because Fast Track died, Obama’s ‘trade’ bills (TPP, TTIP, & TISA) probably won’t be able to pass.

Maybe Obama’s hope of becoming a billionaire died along with it, ending in failure his life’s personal business-plan (or career-aspiration): Obama has always had big plans for himself, and he has had an excellent background for a potential billionaire-class type of operator.

Nancy Pelosi, the leading Democrat in the House, was doing all she could to round up enough Democratic votes for Fast Track, but wasn’t willing to vote for it herself unless her vote would be the one that would produce the win and so move the bill to the President’s desk. As “Gaius Publius” headlined on June 4th, “Nancy Pelosi Is Whipping ‘Almost Daily’ for TPP.” Like Obama and the Clintons, she’s a Republican ‘Democrat,’ and thus needs to be able to blame the overt Republicans for America’s decline. She won’t publicly join in it unless that turns out to be the only way that the President’s plan can become law.

Here was the final vote in the House, which killed TAA, by 302 to 126 (HR1314). This vote meant that only a Fast Track without TAA can be voted on. But such a Fast Track will be rejected by the Senate — it’s not in the bill that the Senate passed.

Here was the House vote on that doomed version of Fast Track. It passed with two votes more than needed, and with 28 Democrats saying “Aye” instead of the initially estimated 20; so, 28 Democrats were willing to join 191 Republicans to pass Obama’s trade bills without assisting the displaced workers, but also without cutting Medicare. Republicans got the numbers they needed, with two to spare, but for a version of Fast Track that won’t get enough Democratic votes to pass in the Senate.

USA Today reported that “Pelosi suggested one path out of the tangle: Tying passage of the trade deal to a job-creating highway bill that Democrats would support.” She won’t give up; she’s still trying to pass Obama’s “legacy” into law. And that report also said the final revote in the House (attempting to approve a Fast Track bill that can pass the Senate) “needs to come next week, or it probably won’t come at all. But when the congressional leadership and the president agree that when something must pass, it usually does — even if some arms are broken in the process.”

That “breaking of arms” might entail a huge burst of campaign contributions from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others of Washington’s big lobbies. After all, the benefits for the super-rich could be in the trillions of dollars on this. An extra biullion spent buying members of Congress might turn out to be a bargain for those sponsors.

As the custom has it, children are not supposed to see the way sausage is made — nor the way legislation is made. If ‘democracy’ is just a superficial overlay upon an underlying oligarchy, then its myth must be maintained, in order to sustain the racket. But, maybe Harry Reid was determined that the racket has gone too far and must not go as far as Obama (along with, principally, the overt Republicans) has been fighting to take it. Enough is enough — or, more like,too much.

As Republicans are delighted to point out, their leaders in Congress — and Nancy Pelosi — have higher approval ratings from the American public than Harry Reid does. Unlike Obama and the Clintons, popularity just hasn’t been his thing. There is no gratitude to a politician who really does place the public’s interest first. It’s a thankless type of virtue. Polls show this. The popularity contests get won by others, who care more about that than they do about the public’s welfare. This is ‘democracy’ in action.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

UN Lawyer Calls TTP & TTIP ‘a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots’

By Eric Zuesse
May 6, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

The Obama-proposed international-trade deals, if passed into law, will lead to “a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots,” says Alfred De Zayas, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order.

These two mammoth trade-pacts, one (TTIP) for Atlantic nations, and the other (TPP) for Pacific nations excluding China (since Obama is against China), would transfer regulations of corporations to corporations themselves, and away from democratically elected governments. Regulation of working conditions and of the environment, as well as of product-safety including toxic foods and poisonous air and other consumer issues, would be placed into the hands of panels whose members will be appointed by large international corporations. Their decisions will remove the power of democratically elected governments to control these things. “Red tape” that’s imposed by elected national governments would be eliminated — replaced by the international mega-corporate version.

De Zayas was quoted in Britain’s Guardian on May 4th as saying also that, “The bottom line is that these agreements must be revised, modified or terminated,” because they would vastly harm publics everywhere, even though they would enormously benefit the top executives of corporations by giving them control as a sort of corporate-imposed world government, answerable to the people who control those corporations.

Obama is pushing for international cartels to replace important functions of today’s national governments, and De Zayas is saying that, “We don’t want an international order akin to post-democracy or post-law.” 

De Zayas told the Guardian that the panels that are proposed to be at the very center of these trade-pacts “constitute an attempt to escape the jurisdiction of national courts and bypass the obligation of all states to ensure that all legal cases are tried before independent tribunals that are public, transparent, accountable and appealable.”

That is, in fact, the motivation behind these deals. Costs get transferred from corporations onto consumers, workers, and the environment, while profits are increased for the corporation’s investors, and CEO pay will soar. In fact, the EU’s own study of the economic impact of the TTIP with America, calculated “economic gains as a whole for the EU (€119 billion a year) and US (€95 billion a year). This translates to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of 4 in the EU, on average, and €655 per family in the US. … Income gains are a result of increased trade. EU exports to the US would go up by 28%, equivalent to an additional €187 billion worth of exports of EU goods and services. Overall, total exports would increase 6% in the EU and 8% in the US.” According to the analysis, no one would lose anything. For example, tariffs would be reduced but income taxes and other taxes that the public pays wouldn’t be increased in order to make up for that loss of income to the state from reduced tariffs. Not at all. Instead: “As much as 80% of the total potential gains come from cutting costs imposed by bureaucracy and regulations, as well as from liberalising trade in services and public procurement.” 

In other words: government regulations of product-safety and the environment and workers’ rights are a terrible waste, which would be eliminated and handled more efficiently by letting international corporations themselves handle those things, according to the EU’s study. And “liberalising trade in services and public procurement” would cut “red tape” that has prevented government officials who are the purchasers in “public procurement” from getting high-paid corporate directorships, etc. under the existing regulatory structures in democratic nations where the public, the voters, can hold their own government accountable for such corruption. If these functions become the domain of the international corporations themselves, then existing regulations and the government employees who enforce them can be eliminated. Accountability, in other words, is such a waste, for the inside investors in large corporations. They don’t need it; they fight against it. They are fighting against it. They don’t even want accountability to their own outside investors, who might want them removed from corporate management.

The EU simply doesn’t mention the downsides. And they also don’t mention that, “Obama’s TTIP Trade Deal w. Europe Would Be Disastrous for Europe, Says the First Independent Study.” That study wasn’t paid for by the EU, so they just ignore it. (They even ignore that it found that America’s international corporations would benefit even more from the deal than would Europe’s international corporations, which is the exact opposite result than the EU’s own study calculated. President Obama performs brilliantly for America’s billionaires, even though most of them are Republicans.) The economist who did that study wasn’t paid by anybody to do it. Occasionally, a study like that is performed by an economist. However, paid-for studies get far more publicity, because the findings are then heavily promoted by the sponsoring organization — after all, it’s propaganda.

On 23 January 2015, Britain’s Financial Times bannered, “Davos 2015: Businesses rally support for transatlantic trade deal.” Attendees there would pop the champagne corks if these deals pass.

David Korten at YES! magazine, headlined on 15 April 2015, “A Trade Rule that Makes It Illegal to Favor Local Business? Newest Leak Shows TPP Would Do That And More.” He stated, in common language, a recently-leaked (from wikileaks) chapter of the TPP, the treaty’s Investment chapter. Key provisions of it are:

Favoring local ownership is prohibited. …

Corporations must be paid to stop polluting. [Yes: Obama demands that corporations possess an actual right to pollute! It’s in the contract!! Ignore his mere rhetoric.]

Three [corporate] lawyers will decide who’s right in secret tribunals. …

Speculative money must remain free [of governmental regulation]

Corporate interests come before national ones. …

Then, there’s a sixth basic provision: to “prohibit governments from requiring that a foreign investor be under any obligation to serve the host country’s people or national interest.”

And that’s just one chapter of the proposed document. No wonder, then, why the billionaires at Davos are eager for Obama to ram this secret treaty through Congress. (Their people were in on the drafting of this proposed treaty, so Davosians didn’t need Julian Assange’s organization for them to know what the treaty contains. Only we do. And so now we understand why Obama wants to imprison or execute Assange.)

In the United States, congressional Republicans are almost unanimously in support of Obama’s trade-deals, but most congressional Democrats are opposed to these deals. President Obama doesn’t even enforce the workers’ rights provisions in the existing NAFTA and other existing trade-deals. Murders of labor union officials are prohibited under NAFTA but the Obama Administration ignores them. On April 22nd, Huffington Post bannered, “AFL-CIO’s Trumka: USTR Told Us Murder Isn’t A Violation Under U.S. Trade Deals” and quoted an AFL-CIO official, “‘The question is whether USTR [Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative, the same man who is negotiating both the TPP and the TTIP] considers murder to be a violation of the labor chapter. That is the question,’ she said. ‘The point is that USTR has informed us that labor-related violence does not constitute an actionable violation of the labor provisions [of NAFTA]’.” Obama relies almost entirely upon congressional Republicans for support of his proposed trade-deals, and of his existing trade-policies (such as non-enforcement of NAFTA). The only real question is whether congressional Democrats will be able to block his deals. When American voters in 2014 elected Republicans to majorities in both houses, the result was to ease the way for passage of Obama’s proposed international-trade deals. Harry Reid controlled the Senate and blocked them, but he was now replaced by the Republican Mitch McConnell, who is trying to win Senate approval for the TTIP. Reid, now as the Minority Leader, is still doing the best he can to block that; he just doesn’t have the power he did when he was Majority Leader.

Within the general American public, however, there seems to be more support for the TTIP among Democrats than among Republicans. On 9 April 2014, Pew Research Center issued a poll that was sponsored by the pro-deal Bertlelsmann Foundation, headlined “Support in Principle for U.S.-EU Trade Pact,” and the poll’s key question was: “Q3 As you may know, the U.S. and the EU are negotiating a free trade agreement called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. Do you think this trade agreement will be a good thing for our country or a bad thing?” In the United States, 53% of respondents marked “Good thing,” 20% marked “Bad thing,” and 14% marked “Haven’t heard enough.” (Most of the others marked “Don’t know.”) Whereas 53% of all respondents said “Good thing,” 60% of Democratic respondents did, but only 44% of Republican ones did. That’s a 16% difference — substantial. Thus, apparently, at least as of a year ago, when a member of the public heard “TTIP,” the person mainly thought that it came from Obama (which it does), and that Obama is a Democrat (which he isn’t, except in rhetoric, but members of Congress are different; they know that he’s not, even if the public don’t); and, so, Republican voters were far less supportive of TTIP than were Democratic voters. The general public judged the deal by the nominal party of the person who initiated and is negotiating it. This is why, whereas in Congress, Republicans almost unanimously want TTIP to pass, and most Democrats want it to fail, the situation among the voting public is in the exact opposite direction: overwhelmingly favorable to the deal among Democrats, but only slightly favorable to the deal among Republicans. On the other hand, all Republican U.S. Presidential candidates support Obama’s trade-deals in principle and they only want him to speed up his getting other nations’ leaders to sign onto to them — as if he even has the power to do that.

If the TTIP and the TPP pass and become law, then historians will almost certainly remember Obama far more for those international trade-deals than for Obamacare or anything else, because of the enormous global political change they will bring. And Obama will then probably be generally regarded as the worst President in U.S. history, because he will then have done more to bring back dictatorship as the global norm and ended democracy, than any other nation’s leader, in all of history, ever did.

The evidence strongly supports Alfred De Zayas’s statement, that these trade-deals would produce “a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots.” His statement was alarming, but not at all alarmist.

De Zayas is the chief UN official responsible for “reporting” on proposed international-trade treaties. As the likelihood of Obama’s proposed treaties passing has increased, he has become increasingly vocal about what their implications would be, for the UN’s founding vision of gradual evolution toward a democratic world-government — something comprehensive like what is now being suddenly rammed through, but democratic instead of fascist, and thus more the opposite of Obama’s vision instead of similar to it. On April 23rd, Reuters headlined, “U.N. expert says secret trade deals threaten human rights,” and De Zayas spoke in far more measured terms, not nearly so direct. He said:

“I am concerned about the secrecy surrounding negotiations for trade treaties, which have excluded key stakeholder groups from the process, including labour unions, environmental protection groups, food-safety movements and health professionals”

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

What Is Obama Up To, With His TPP and TTIP? What Will Remain of Local National Governments?

By Eric Zuesse
April 26, 2015
Global Research

 

TPP-secretThe motivation behind U.S. President Barack Obama’s trans-Pacific trade-deal TPP, and his trans-Atlantic trade-deal TTIP — the motivation behind both of these enormous international trade-deals — is the same, and Democratic U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are correct: it is not at all progressive. It is instead to transfer political power away from the public in a democracy, and for that power to go instead to the international aristocracy (i.e., to go as far away from any national democracy as is even possible to go).

This is to be done by switching the most fundamental thing of all: the global power-base itself. Instead of that power-base being democratic votes of the national publics, who elect their political representatives who determine the laws and regulations, that national democratic political system becomes instead the exact opposite: the global aristocratic stockholder votes of the international aristocracy who elect the corporate directors of international companies, who will, in their turn, then be selecting the members to the international-trade-panels which, in TPP and TTIP, will, in their turn, be determining the rules and enforcements regarding especially workers’ rights, product-safety, and the environment. 

The international aristocracy’s weakening of these national rules will enable lowering wages of the public, who are the people who don’t control international corporations but who control only their own personal labor, which goes down in value to the lowest hourly wage in the entire international trading-area. This new system will also enable minimizing regulation of the safety of foods and other products and thus maximizing the ability of international corporations to avoid any expenses that companies would otherwise need to devote to raising the safety of their products. Those expenses (the liabilities of dangerous products) will thus be increasingly borne only by the products’ consumers. Risks to investors (which is the thing that aristocrats seek most to avoid) are consequently reduced — shifted more onto the public. It will also enable environmental harms to become virtually free to international corporations that perpetrate them, and to become likewise costs that are borne only by the general public, in toxic air, water, etc. Thus, yet another category of risks to investors will be gone. This will increase profit-margins, which go only to the stockholders — not to the public.

Profits will thus become increasingly concentrated in international corporations and the families that control them, and losses will become increasingly socialized among consumers and workers — and just generally to livers and breathers: the public. ‘Government’ will increasingly be merely the spreader and enforcer of risks and penalties to the public; and, this, in turn, will enhance yet further the ‘free-market’ ideal of there being less and less, or ’smaller,’ government; i.e., of there being less and less of ‘democratic’ government. That’s what the aristocracy’s ’small government’ jag has really been all about: it’s about cost-shifting, from aristocrats, to the public.

Thus, the maximum percentage of the costs — for product-safety, workers’ rights, and the environment — become borne by the public, and the minimum percentage of costs become borne by the stockholders in international corporations. In turn, aristocrats will be able to pass along to their designated heirs their thus ever-increasing dominance and control over the general public. Thus, the concentration of wealth will become more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer families, a gradually smaller hyper-aristocracy. This is what’s happening, and it will happen now a lot more if TPP and TTIP pass. (According to the most detailed study of the matter, as of 2012, the “World’s Richest 0.7% Own 13.67 Times as Much as World’s Poorest 68.7%.” So: the world is already extremely unequal in its wealth-distribution. TPP and TTIP are designed to increase that inequality.)

Furthermore, President Obama and the Republican Party in Congress (which support him on this, and on all other matters that are of highest concern to America’s aristocracy, such as the defeat of Russia, China and the other BRICS nations — for example, by Obama’s yanking Ukraine away from Russia’s aristocracy and into control instead by America’s aristocracy) are ensuring that America’s aristocracy will be increasingly on top internationally, and these trade-deals are additionally taking advantage of America’s being the top power across both of this planet’s two major oceans: the Atlantic, and the Pacific.

In other words: the United States, with the TPP & TTIP, will be in the extraordinary position of basically locking in, perhaps for the next century, the U.S. aristocracy’s participation in both of the two major international-trade compacts. This commercial lock-in will retain the American aristocracy’s control over the national aristocracies of almost all of the other major industrial nations — encompassing virtually all of the northern hemisphere, which is where most of this planet’s land-mass is located.

Consequently: not only will the global aristocracy control the global public, but the U.S. aristocracy will also control the other aristocracies in ways that will increase their collective power against any non-member national aristocracy; and, so, America’s Empire will be increasingly the biggest global Empire that the world has ever known, by exploiting the publics everywhere, and not only within merely one country.

Obama told graduating West Point cadets, on 28 May 2014: “China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.” In other words: part of these future military officers’ jobs will be to help make sure that the BRICS, and other countries that have lower per-capita wealth than in America, stay poor, so that America’s aristocrats can send jobs there instead of pay America’s own workers to do it — in other words: get America’s workers competing against ones in poor countries, rather than get America’s investors competing against ones in poor countries. He’s telling America’s military that they are soldiers in this international class-war, paid by the public, but working actually for America’s aristocracy and not for the public, but against America’s public — to drive down their wages, food-safety, etc.

This is the way toward a certain type of world government by the super-rich for the super-rich, keeping them and their appointed heirs in control over the assets of the entire globe — both its natural and its human resources — and using as the local agents throughout the world the local aristocrats, who will be the people who will keep their local publics in line and working for the ever-increasing intensification of the planet’s wealth, in the hands of, first, the global aristocracy, and, second, America’s aristocracy as being the globally dominant aristocracy.

What will remain of local national governments will then become mere shells.

Benito Mussolini, who was inspired by Vilfredo Pareto (whom Mussolini called “the Karl Marx of fascism”), who was also the founder of modern economic theory and especially of its Welfare Criterion, which shapes so much of the rest of economics and especially all cost-benefit analyses (such as of proposed means to restrain global warming), explained as follows the “corporationism” that he held to constitute fascism:

The corporation plays on the economic terrain just as the Grand Council and the militia play on the political terrain. Corporationism is disciplined economy, and from that comes control, because one cannot imagine a discipline without a director. Corporationism is above socialism and above liberalism. A new synthesis is created.

Following below this article will be Mussolini’s essay on that issue, in which he sets forth what he claims is a post-capitalist, post-socialist, ideology, and which the also self-described post-capitalist post-socialist Barack Obama (as an agent for the global aristocracy) is increasingly putting into actual practice — especially via TPP & TTIP.

Regarding specifically international-trade deals, Mussolini’s master, Pareto, said that the free market should reign supreme and untrammeled by the State in all regards, not only within nations, but also, and even especially, between nations. As I noted in this regard, in my recent book on the historical development of fascism, up to and including our own time:

“Pareto was consistently a free-market purist, since at least 1896. For example, in his 1 September 1897 ’The New Theories of Economics’ in the Journal of Political Economy, he stated: ‘Were I of the opinion that a certain book would contribute more than any other to establish free trade in the world at large I would not hesitate an instant to give myself up heart and soul to the study of this particular work, putting aside for the time all study of pure science.’ He also said there: ‘We have been able vigorously to prove that the coefficients of production are determined by the entrepreneurs in a régime of free competition precisely in the same way as a socialist government would have to fix them if it wanted to realize a maximum of ophelimity [his invented term for ‘welfare’ in order to obscure the actual value-base so as to enable economists to pretend to be value-free even as they ranked things in benefit/cost analyses that are, in fact, applying his pro-aristocratic or ‘fascist’ theory] for its subjects.” [And notice there Pareto’s slip-up, referring to the government as having not ‘citizens’ but instead ‘subjects’ — the  underlying aristocratic assumpion, that the public are ‘subjects’ instead of real ‘citizens’.] Pareto always challenged whether a socialist government would be able to achieve that, but he was here saying that the free market would do it naturally, just like the physiocrats had said that ‘natural law’ should reign instead of any tampering with it.

Pareto set Adam Smithian economics, and the economics of the French physiocrats who had laid the foundation for Smith’s economic theory, upon a basis that subequent economists could then develop mathematically in a way that would hide the theory’s essential fascism — the modernized (i.e., post-agrarian) form of feudalism.

Barack Obama and congressional Republicans are simply carrying this fascist operation to the next level. As for congressional Democrats, they are split on it, because (at least until the new economic theory that I put forth in my new book) no one yet has formulated an economic theory for a democracy; current economic theory has been designed instead specifically for a fascism — an aristocratically controlled State. Consequently, the few progressive Democrats that still remain in Congress are experiencing difficulty to communicate easily and readily to the public what the real political and economic stakes are in Obama’s proposed TPP and TTIP: the transfer of national democratic sovereignty over to an international fascist aristocracy, which will be dominated by American aristocrats. Without that transfer, of democratic national sovereignty to international fascist bodies that represent global corporate management, these deals would be nothing.

This transfer is called Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS. It is really an emerging, and distictively fascistic, world government. It is not at all democratic, and it is a creeping form of international government which, to the extent that it becomes imposed, reduces national sovereignty. The prior, progressive, type of world-government proposal, which had been fashionable after World War II in order to make a WW III less likely, was based instead upon the idea of an international federation ofindependent democracies. ISDS has nothing in common with that, the original vision for world government. It is instead pure fascism, on an international scale.

In the first decades after World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vision of an ultimately emerging democratic world government predominated, aiming for an emerging democratic United Nations, which would evolve to encompass in an increasingly equalitarian way more and more of the world; but, after Republican control started becoming restored in the U.S. with Dwight Eisenhower and his installation of the Dulles brothers to control and shape future U.S. international policies, things moved increasingly in the direction of a U.S.-aristocracy-based control over the world (especially with the Allen Dulles CIA coup in 1953 Iran); and Barack Obama is thoroughly in that fascist, overwhelmingly Republican, tradition, even though he is nominally a ‘Democrat.’ Some analysts even consider Obama to be a CIA operative from early in his life. (The CIA, when Eisenhower came into office, placed the CIA’s pro-Nazis into control; and, afterward, this control has only become more deeply entrenched there.) The British journalist Robert Fitch seems to have figured Obama out even as far back as 14 November 2008, right after Obama was elected to become President. Basically, Fitch described Obama as a fascist who had determined to rise to power by fooling progressives into thinking he was one of them. He was portraying Obama as a Manchurian-candidate, Trojan-Horse, Republican-in-Democratic-rhetorical-clothes, conservative operative. He had Obama right, even that early.

As regards not what economic theory but instead empirical economic studies indicate would likely be the result from both the TPP and the TTIP: one independent economic analysis has been done for each of these two international-trade deals, and both of them come up with the same conclusion: the publics everywhere will lose wealth because of them, but aristocrats, especially in the United States, will gain wealth because of them. They’ll probably do what they were designed to do.

As regards what some of Obama’s defenders say about his trade-deals, namely that Investor-State Dispute Settlement is merely a detail and the overall deal is good: that’s like saying that a person’s health is good but the brain or the heart needs to be fixed or maybe even replaced. These people know it’s a bad deal; that’s why they support it. They’re being paid by the aristocracy.

Would Hillary Clinton Be Any Better?

What, then, about Obama’s intended successor? Would she be any different? Here’s the record concerning that:

On 23 February 2008, Hillary Clinton stood before microphones and cameras, and harangued in angry tones, “Shame on you, Barack Obama!” alleging that two of his campaign’s flyers lied about her positions.

One of the flyers said that her proposed health-insurance mandate would penalize Americans who didn’t buy health insurance. It was true but she tried to deny it. (Only after Obama was elected did he copy her plan by merely adding the individual mandate to his own.) The other flyer which Hillary was complaining about, quoted Newsday’s characterization of Hillary’s NAFTA view in 2006: “Clinton thinks NAFTA has been a boon to the economy.” Hillary now was also claiming that this was a lie. Many in the press blindly supported her accusation against Obama here, because “a boon” was Newsday’s phrase, not hers. However, again, it was she, and not Obama, who was lying. Her 2003 Living History (p. 182) actually did brag about her husband’s having passed NAFTA, and she said: “Creating a free trade zone in North America — the largest free trade zone in the world — would expand U.S. exports, create jobs and ensure that our country was reaping the benefits, not the burdens, of globalization.” This was one of, supposedly, her proudest achievements, which were (p. 231) “Bill’s successes on the budget, the Brady bill and NAFTA.” But Hillary was now demanding that Obama apologize for his flyer’s having said: “Only Barack Obama fought NAFTA and other bad trade deals.” That statement was just a fact, notwithstanding what Hillary, and many of the major U.S. “news” media, were now alleging. (Obama was saving his worst to be delivered to the nation only after he would become President — and, especially, after he would be re-elected and then he could be free to go far-right, which was his genuine inclination even at the start, though he couldn’t achieve the goal if he didn’t first deceive about what his goal actually is, so that he could maybe get into position to achieve it.)

On 20 March 2008, the day after Hillary finally released her schedule during her White House years, the Nation’s John Nichols blogged “Clinton Lie Kills Her Credibility on Trade Policy,” and he said: “Now that we know from the 11,000 pages of Clinton White House documents released this week that [the] former First Lady was an ardent advocate for NAFTA; … now that we know she was in the thick of the maneuvering to block the efforts of labor, farm, environmental and human rights groups to get a better agreement; … now that we know from official records of her time as First Lady that Clinton was the featured speaker at a closed-door session where 120 women opinion leaders were hectored to pressure their congressional representatives to approve NAFTA; now that we know from ABC News reporting on the session that ‘her remarks were totally pro-NAFTA’ and that ‘there was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time’; … what should we make of Clinton’s campaign claim that she was never comfortable with the militant free-trade agenda that has cost the United States hundreds of thousands of union jobs?”

The next day, ABC’s Jake Tapper, at his “Political Punch” blog, headlined “From the Fact Check Desk: The Clinton Campaign Misrepresents Clinton NAFTA Meeting,” and he reported: “I have now talked to three former Clinton Administration officials whom I trust who tell me that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton opposed the idea of introducing NAFTA before health care, but expressed no reservations in public or private about the substance of NAFTA. Yet the Clinton campaign continues to propagate this myth that she fought NAFTA.” She continued this lie even after it had been repeatedly and soundly exposed to be a lie.

Consequently: the only real difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is that Obama is a vastly more skilled liar. It’s how he has gotten as far as he has. She probably won’t; she’s the same incompetent now that she was back then.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.


Excerpts from George Seldes’s 1935 book about Mussolini, Sawdust Caesar:

APPENDIX 15

Capitalism and the Corporate State 

by Benito Mussolini, November, 1933

Is this crisis which has afflicted us for four years a crisis in the system or of the system? This is a serious question. I answer: The crisis has so deeply penetrated the system that it has become a crisis of the system. It is no longer an ailment; it is a constitutional disease.

Today we are able to say that the method of capitalistic production is vanquished, and with it the theory of economic liberalism which has illustrated and excused it. I want to outline in a general way the history of capitalism in the last century, which may be called the capitalistic century. But first of all, what is capitalism?

Capitalism is … a method of industrial production. To employ the most comprehensive definition: Capitalism is a method of mass production for mass consumption, financed en masse by the emission of private, national and international capital. Capitalism is therefore industrial and has not had in the field of agriculture any manifestation of great bearing.

I would mark in the history of capitalism three periods: the dynamic period, the static period, and the period of decline.

The dynamic period was that from 1830 to 1870. It coincided with the introduction of weaving by machinery and with the appearance of the locomotive. Manufacturing, the typical manifestation of industrial capitalism, expanded. This was the epoch of great expansion and hence of the law of free competition; the struggle of all against all had full play.

In this period there were crises, but they were cyclical crises, neither long nor universal. Capitalism still had such vitality and such power of recovery that it could brilliantly prevail.

There were also wars. They cannot be compared with the World War. They were brief. Even the War of 1870, with its tragic days at Sedan, took no more than a couple of seasons.

During the forty years of the dynamic period the State was watching; it was remote, and the theorists of liberalism could say: ‘You, the State, have a single duty. It is to see to it that your administration does not in the least turn toward the economic sector. The better you govern the less you will occupy yourself with the problems of the economic realm.’ We find, therefore, that economy in all its forms was limited only by the penal and commercial codes.

But after 1870, this epoch underwent a change. There was no longer the struggle for life, free competition, the selection of the strongest. There became manifest the first symptoms of the fatigue and the devolution of the capitalistic method. There began to be agreements, syndicates, corporations, trusts. One may say that there was not a sector of economic life in the countries of Europe and America where these forces which characterize capitalism did not appear.

What was the result? The end of free competition. Restricted as to its borders, capitalistic enterprise found that, rather than fight, it was better to concede, to ally, to unite by dividing the markets and sharing the profits. The very law of demand and supply was now no longer a dogma, because through the combines and the trusts it was possible to control demand and supply.

Finally, this capitalistic economy, unified,’trustified,’ turned toward the State. What inspired it to do so? Tariff protection.

Liberalism, which is nothing but a wider form of the doctrine of economic liberalism, received a death blow. The nation which, from the first, raised almost insurmountable trade barriers was the United States, but today even England has renounced all that seemed traditional in her political, economic and moral life, and has surrendered herself to a constantly increasing protectionism.

After the World War, and because of it, capitalistic enterprise became inflated. Enterprises grew in size from millions to billions. Seen from a distance, this vertical sweep of things appeared as something monstrous, babel-like. Once, the spirit had dominated the material; now it was the material which bent and joined the spirit. Whatever had been physiological was now pathological; all became abnormal.

At this stage, super-capitalism draws its inspiration and its justification from this Utopian theory: the theory of unlimited consumers. The ideal of super-capitalism would be the standardization of the human race from the cradle to the coffin. Super-capitalism would have all men born of the same length, so that all cradles could be standardized; it would have babies divert themselves with the same playthings, men clothed according to the same pattern, all reading the same book and having the same taste for the movies — in other words, it would have everybody desiring a single utilitarian machine. This is in the logic of things, because only in this way can super-capitalism do what it wishes.

When does capitalistic enterprise cease to be an economic factor? When its size compels it to be a social factor. And that, precisely, is the moment when capitalistic enterprise, finding itself in difficulty, throws itself into the very arms of the State; It is the moment when the intervention of the State begins, rendering itself ever more necessary.

We are at this point: that, if in all the nations of Europe the State were to go to sleep for twenty-four hours, such an interval would be sufficient to cause a disaster. Now, there is no economic field in which the State is not called upon to intervene. Were we to surrender — just as a matter of hypothesis — to this capitalism of the eleventh hour, we should arrive at State capitalism, which is nothing but State socialism inverted.

This is the crisis of the capitalist system, taken in its universal significance. …

Last evening I presented an order in which I defined the new corporation system as we understand it and wish to make it.

I should like to fix your attention on what was called the object: the well-being of the Italian people. It is necessary that, at a certain time, these institutions, which we have created, be judged and measured directly by the masses as instruments through which these masses may improve their standard of living. Some day the worker, the tiller of the soil, will say to himself and to others: ‘If today I am better off practically, I owe it to the institutions which the Fascist revolution has created.’

We want the Italian workers, those who are interested in their status as Italians, as workers, as Fascists, to feel that we have not created institutions solely to give form to our doctrinal schemes, but in order, at a certain moment, to give positive, concrete, practical and tangible results.

Our State is not an absolute State. Still less is it an absolutory State, remote from men and armed only with inflexible laws, as laws ought to be. Our State is one organic, human State which wishes to adhere to the realities of life. …

Today we bury economic liberalism. The corporation plays on the economic terrain just as the Grand Council and the militia play on the political terrain. Corporationism is disciplined economy, and from that comes control, because one cannot imagine a discipline without a director.

Corporationism is above socialism and above liberalism. A new synthesis is created. It is a symptomatic fact that the decadence of capitalism coincides with the decadence of socialism. All the Socialist parties of Europe are in fragments.

Evidently the two phenomena — I will not say conditions — present a point of view which is strictly logical: there is between them a historical parallel. Corporative economy arises at the historic moment when both the militant phenomena, capitalism and socialism, have already given all that they could give. From one and from the other we inherit what they have of vitality.

We have rejected the theory of the economic man, the Liberal theory, and we are, at the same time, emancipated from what we have heard said about work being a business. The economic man does not exist; the integral man, who is political, who is economic, who is religious, who is holy, who is combative, does exist.

Today we take again a decisive step on the road of the revolution.

Let us ask a final question: Can corporationism be applied to other countries? We are obliged to ask this question because it will be asked in all countries where people are studying and trying to understand us. There is no doubt that, given the general crisis of capitalism, corporative solutions can be applied anywhere. But in order to make corporationism full and complete, integral, revolutionary, certain conditions are required.

There must be a single party through which, aside from economic discipline, enters into action also political discipline, which shall serve as a chain to bind the opposing factions together, and a common faith.

But this is not enough. There must be the supremacy of the State, so that the State may absorb, transform and embody all the energy, all the interests, all the hopes of a people.

Still, not enough. The third and last and the most important condition is that there must be lived a period of the highest ideal tension.

We are now living in this period of high, ideal tension. It is because step by step we give force and consistency to all our acts; we translate in part all our doctrine. How can we deny that this, our Fascista, is a period of exalted, ideal tension?

No one can deny it. This is the time in which arms are crowned with victory. Institutions are remade, the land is redeemed, cities are founded.

Here are two excerpts from the Seldes book’s APPENDIX 9, “the Labor Charter,” a document that dates from 22 April 1927:

Art. 2. Labor in all forms, intellectual, technical and manual, is a social duty. In this sense, and in this sense only, is it protected by the State. From the national point of view all production is a unit; its objects are unitary and can be defined as the wellbeing of the producers and the development of national strength.

Art. 7. The Corporate State considers private initiative in the field of production the most efficacious and most useful instrument in the interest of the nation. Private organization of production being a function of national interest, the organization of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction of its production. Reciprocity of the rights and duties is derived from the collaboration of the productive forces. The technician, office employee and worker is an active collaborator in the economic undertaking, the direction of which is the right of the employer, who has the responsibility for it.

Brussels Rally Denounces Massive Trade Deal That Would Be ‘Hijack of Democracy’

TTIP would put corporate profits above people, critics of the proposed EU-U.S. trade deal say.

By Andrea Germanos
February 5, 2015
Common Dreams, February 4, 2015

 

TTIP protesters in Brussels on Wednesday. (Photo: campact/flickr/cc)

 

Hundreds of people rallied in Brussels on Wednesday, where negotiators are holding their latest round of talks on a proposed EU-U.S. trade deal criticized as a “Trojan treaty” that threatens democracy and puts corporate profits above people.

At issue is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would be the biggest-ever trade deal, and is a proposal that has faced years of opposition over its secrecy as well as possible impacts on issues ranging from food safety to fracking to copyright.

Among those who came from the UK to take part in Wednesday’s action was Derek Hansford, chair of Hastings and District Trades Council, who stated, “Ordinary people from across the UK are traveling to Brussels to make their voices heard. Democracy is about what’s best for everyone, not what’s best for the world’s richest and most powerful corporations. The TTIP deal is a hijack of democracy, and we need to stop it.”

Adding their voices to the demonstration were European organizations including Friends of the Earth Europe, War on Want and Global Justice UK.

Friends of the Earth Europe brought their touring “Trojan horse” to Brussels to urge negotiators to say not to what the environmental group says is a Trojan treaty. Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, stated previously, “Real people power can prevent irreversible damage being done by this Trojan treaty. Our Trojan Horse tour is about standing up for citizens and our right to decide our own laws and putting people and our planet before big business profits.”
Economist Dean Baker has written that the TTIP is not about free trade, as it is touted; rather, he says, it’s “about imposing a regulatory structure to be enforced through an international policing mechanism that likely would not be approved through the normal political processes in each country. The rules that will be put in place as a result of the deal are likely to be more friendly to corporations and less friendly to the environment and consumers than current rules.”

This regulator structure has also met the ire of the deal’s critics.

A statement from over 150 civil society organizations denounces the “regulatory cooperation” part of the deal, calling it “the ultimate tool to prevent or weaken future public interest standards for citizens, workers, consumers, and the environment.” The statement, which was posted at the Corporate Europe Observatory website, reads, in part:

The [European] Commission proposes a system that can only result in further barriers to developing public interest standards as these would need to be ‘trade and investment’ proof. It also gives unprecedented influence to business lobby groups to stop any new regulation that would impact on trade and investment. The proposal strongly prioritizes trade and investment over the public interest. The system would give enormous power to a small group of unelected officials to stop and weaken regulations and standards even before democratically elected bodies, such as parliaments, would have a say over them, thus undermining our democratic system.

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the deal have also been fiercely criticized. A number of far-ranging voices has spoken out against them, so their continued inclusion in the deal, Corporate Europe Observatory states, represents “a blatant disregard for democracy.”

Max Bank from Germany-based watchdog organization LobbyControl added in a statement, “Like Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), regulatory cooperation strengthens big businesses power and threatens democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.”

In an op-ed published Wednesday at the UK’s Guardian, Molly Scott Cato, a professor of green economics at Roehampton University and the Green party’s finance speaker, writes that she has “seen the secrets of the TTIP” and that the protesters are right to be concerned.

We hear much criticism of the “nanny state”, but the world according to TTIP is more like Big Brother Corporation, where individual preferences are swept aside in the onward march of progress and order. It is the disturbing and unsettling worldview that David Korten envisaged in his 1995 book, When Corporations Rule the World. At the time the title seemed rhetorical; outlandish even. It seems considerably less so today.

See more of the day’s action from these tweets:
This video from SumOfUs outlines issues with what the group describes as “the dirtiest trade deal in Europe’s history.”

Senate blocks any limit to NSA spying on phone calls

By Patrick Martin
20 November 2014

 

The US Senate blocked action Tuesday on a bill that would have imposed only minor limitations on a National Security Agency program that collects records of the phone calls of every American. The vote was 58 to 42 to take up the measure for consideration, with supporters falling two votes short of the 60 required to force action.

The vote was nearly by party lines in the outgoing lame duck Senate, with 52 Democrats, two independents who generally vote with the Democrats and four Republicans supporting consideration of the bill. The 41 Republican opponents were joined by one Democrat, Bill Nelson of Florida.

The effect of the vote is to delay consideration of any legislation on NSA spying until the next session of Congress, when Republicans will be in the majority and will control key committees like Intelligence and Judiciary, which originate and write legislation.

The defeated measure, drafted by the outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have placed very slight restrictions on the NSA program that collects metadata on virtually ever phone call placed in or through US telecommunications companies or the Internet.

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