|Last week the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement leapt from behind the closed doors of negotiations to the front pages of major newspapers, thanks to information from Wikileaks revealing previously unpublished details of the proposed intellectual property chapter of the deal.
If you hadn't yet heard about the TPP, there is a reason for that. Not even members of the US Congress have been allowed to see the negotiating text. Thanks to a set of leaks however, we´re beginning to get glimpses of exactly how dangerous the agreement is. The Wikileaks revelations have shone an urgent public light on the agreement’s onerous implications regarding intellectual property.
In 2012, however, another leak uncovered what may be an even more dangerous aspect of the TPP. The proposed investment chapter of the deal revealed plans to expand the system of international investment tribunals that deal with what is called ‘investor-state dispute settlement’. These are closed-door courts that take direct aim at the ability of governments across the world to enact environmental, public health and other protections for their citizens.
We don’t need much help to imagine what a world under these provisions of the TPP would look like. We need look no further than some of the current investor-state dispute cases in which powerful international corporations are demanding millions – sometimes billions – of dollars in claims, against countries both poor and wealthy, for the sin of protecting their citizens.
This is the very same system that the Bechtel Corporation used to attempt to drain $50 million from the Bolivian public treasury after the corporation had been thrown out during the Cochabamba Water War.
This is the same system that Canadian mining firm Pacific Rim, recently taken over by Oceana Gold, is using to try to extract over $300 million from the people of El Salvador for having rejected mining operations that threaten to contaminate their drinking water.
The number of these investment cases has exploded in recent years, with 2012 breaking all records. Cases such as these, with serious implications for government ability to regulate for public health, environmental protection and access to water, are now being heard far away from domestic legal systems in international investor-state arbitration courts. […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Federal worker pay freeze is unjustified and ineffective:
|Here's a shocker for you: rich people don't create jobs. Demand creates jobs. And demand is created when the vast majority of people, lower and middle class people, feel secure enough in their lives to spend some of their very hard earned cash.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers has stated that extending tax cuts for the wealthy is a bad idea. In fact, there's very good evidence that low tax rates at the top depress the economy. Low tax rates encourage the already wealthy to keep even more funds for themselves by cutting staff and reducing benefits. […]
What does work? Making sure that lower and middle class workers have enough funds on hand to meet their immediate needs. Which is why freezing the pay of federal workers is far, far worse for the economy than allowing the tax cuts to expire for the wealthy. It could be seriously (and convincingly) argued that raising tax rates for corporations and the wealthy would actually be good for the economy. It can't be argued that imposing a $60 billion penalty on middle class workers -- which is exactly what this is -- will do anything but retard economic growth and reduce job production.
On today's "encore presentation" of the Nov. 29, 2012 Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin told about Medicare in the context of the "fiscal speed bump" negotiations, and gave us one of his early "wait and see" warnings. Also: the Fast Food Forward strikes in the New York area, and how they related to last year's WalMart and Hostess strikes. Finally, a look at all the important stuff that somehow gets left out of newspaper coverage of the filibuster reform fight. You'll only get that here, on Daily Kos Radio. And could anybody have talked you through that better? I ask you!