• Parties at odds over national interests.
By Ronald L. Ray —
A funny thing happened on the way to global governance. Just when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was supposed to move one step closer to world corporatocracy, it stumbled over nationalism and fell. It may soon rise up again—all too soon—but the world’s plutocrats took a pace backward in failing to reach agreement on the final text of the proposed “free trade” treaty at the end of July in Lahaina, Hawaii.
The TPP is meant to bind irrevocably the 11 largest non-United States economies around the Pacific rim, except China, to U.S. hegemony. But despite super secrecy and some 650 U.S. government shills for Big Business—plus 150 reporters and hundreds of lobbyists euphemistically called “stakeholders”—the internationalists were unable to leap key hurdles in their race to control mankind.
The beginning of August was seen as a “drop dead” date for concluding the deal among the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam—nations representing 40% of the world’s gross domestic product. The TPP would create for the Americas and Asia the equivalent of the European Union, albeit for now without the political union. It is one more knot in the economic noose intended to strangle Russia and China on the road to one-world tyranny.
Nevertheless, TPP ratification by participant countries is highly dependent on national politics. Because of the timeline for approval established by Congress’s passage of unconstitutional “fast-track” trade promotion authority, concluding the final TPP text after August 1 pushes U.S. ratification into the 2016 election campaign cycle, leaving the treaty’s quick adoption by Congress uncertain. Canada’s elections were called for next year, as well, placing in doubt that government’s ability to impose the financial farce on Canadians any time soon.
After the last-minute failure of talks, ministers present for the conference issued a face-saving joint statement, declaring, “In this last stage of negotiations, we are more confident than ever that TPP is within reach. . . . The progress made . . . reflects our longstanding commitment to deliver an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard TPP agreement that will support jobs and economic growth across the Asia Pacific region.”
Jobs and economic growth for the American Pacific region are not mentioned, suggesting that even more millions of jobs will be robbed from Americans, Canadians, Mexicans and South Americans and sent to slave-labor shops in the Far East.
And while ostensibly only a few issues must be resolved for completion of the TPP text, negotiators have dug in their heels, seeing them as matters of national interest. Still, unity seems more a unicorn than a reality. One unnamed official stated, according to Reuters, “[It’s] not always clear where things stand. I know about my issues, but I don’t always know what’s happening with other countries.”
Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch told the news and commentary website “Common Dreams”: “Only the beleaguered negotiators and most of the 600 official U.S. trade advisers representing corporate interests wanted this deal, which recent polling shows is unpopular in most of the countries involved.”
The biggest roadblock in this reckless race to economic insanity is the chapter on intellectual property, pitting the U.S. against nearly every other country participating. U.S. Trade Representative Michael B. Froman, a former president of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (now called BBYO), an arm of B’nai B’rith International, which is committed to the security of Jews and Israel and fighting “antisemitism” and bigotry, continues to prostitute for giant pharmaceutical companies and copyright extremists demanding much greater protections for their goods and services than exist in the rest of the region. If successful, it could mean more expensive medicines with less availability. Copyright and patent holders could receive the ability to seize potentially all of a “violator’s” business assets, even if not directly connected to the alleged copyright infringement.
New Zealand insists on open export markets for its dairy products, opposed by Canada in particular. Japan and the U.S. are fighting over automobile imports, but the latter caved in on import tariffs on Japanese beef. U.S. Big Tobacco wants the same right to sue governments for loss of profits as was given to other industries. Mexico demands protection for its sugar producers.
Seemingly comfortable with child slavery and prostitution, the Obama administration upgraded Malaysia’s human trafficking status, apparently to keep that country in the TPP.
Corporations could compel governments to “privatize” state-owned enterprises, handing over control of significant government-run functions like road construction, rail travel or water supplies operated for public benefit to the clutches of avaricious plutocrats. And national and local rulers would be forced to include foreign sources in government procurements. Forget “Made in U.S.A.” TPP is a real-life game of Monopoly, except it is not a game, and the average citizen will always lose.
TPP has nothing to do with “free trade,” developing jobs or prosperity for the multitudes. It is a massive power grab by multi-national corporations seeking a government-protected stranglehold on commerce—a tightly woven web of unassailable monopolies protected by an unelected secret trade tribunal. Even Reuters admitted TPP is “one-size-fits-all standards on issues ranging from workers rights to environmental protection and dispute settlement between governments and foreign investors.”
Share this information with friends and politicians alike. Tell Congress to deep-six the treasonous Trans-Pacific Partnership.
TPP Puts Sovereignty at Grave Risk
By Mark Anderson
It’s an American tradition to limit the power of government to protect the people from its excesses. Yet the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) takes that concept in the wrong direction, as it would, in a very dramatic and possibly permanent way, limit government by putting corporations in charge. As a result, the 12 governments that have signed onto the TPP would see their powers limited—but according to the designs of transnational banks and other corporations that have replaced the people as the real constituents.
Anything not nailed down, and many things that are nailed down, are being privatized. Toll roads are being leased for decades to foreign firms. Water plants, student busing, bridges, utilities and countless other things large and small also are “going private,” under the seductive neoliberal capitalist belief that the private sector and “the market” are hallowed realms and the investor class is somehow superior to the working class and the consumer—and above any law.
The U.S. state of Indiana surrendered their toll roads and grabbed the foreign investment money upfront under a trans-generational 75-year lease to allow corporate road investors to raise toll charges if necessary.
According to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and other sources, a never-before-seen TPP portion reveals that any state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that are seen as being competitive with private companies will come under increased scrutiny via the TPP—if and when the TPP is fully ratified by its member nations on both sides of the Pacific.
What appears to be lurking under the floor boards of the TPP is the outright privatization of virtually everything in society. Is that possible?
According to Philip Dorling, writing on the Australian news website The Saturday Paper, “University of Auckland trade expert Jane Kelsey said the [TPP’s] draft SOE text appeared to be ‘totally U.S.-driven’ and [she] raised a wide range of concerns about putting corporate interests ahead of the delivery of public services.”
Professor Kelsey observed that certain entities are defined as SOEs “because they have functions other than those that are merely commercial, such as guaranteed access to important services, or because social, cultural, development and commercial functions are inextricably intertwined.”
Kelsey added: “[An] SOE engaged in public broadcasting, railways, or research may have hybrid roles, some being commercial and some not. Would the entire enterprise have to act on the basis of commercial considerations?”
She added that once SOEs and private firms are “competitively neutral,” then privatization advocates will say “there is no justification for retaining state ownership because the private sector can bring efficiency gains, choice and competition to the provision of the public service.”
So far, TPP negotiations have been secretive, but it’s believed that the future of publicly owned enterprises such as Australia’s state power utilities are on the negotiating table at the TPP talks just concluded in Hawaii. The discredited belief that privatization always means better services and cheaper prices has hypnotized many a nation. In reality, it often simply means services are put under the control of Wall Street firms and global speculators for their profit.
Under the TPP, foreign companies would be enabled to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the TPP rules, and countries could even be sued by other TPP countries, or by private companies from those countries. Developing nations (like Vietnam) in which large numbers of SOEs are part of the economic infrastructure would be affected most. SOEs continue to play a vital public role in even the most privatized countries.
This means that, if the transnational riff-raff in three-piece suits prevail, democratic institutions of any consequence simply won’t exist in any TPP nation.
Some of us may be tempted to join the libertarians in celebrating, if it weren’t for the fact that the resulting vacuum would be automatically filled by the moneyed mattoids who—long ago, with their Federal Reserve System and their global central-banking network—stole the sovereign duty of governments to create money interest-free for the common good.
AFP Roving Editor Mark Anderson is a veteran reporter who covers the annual Bilderberg meetings and is chairman of AFP’s new America First Action Committee, designed to involve AFP readers in focusing intensely on Congress to enact key changes, including monetary reform and a pullback of the warfare state. He and his wife Angie often work together on news projects.