By Eric Zuesse
As the civilizations that we all know, and love, and lived, slide increasingly into totalitarian misery; and the environment, which had been our lives, becomes less and less livable, there will be, in retrospect, one key day, which historians will mark, as the turning-point toward Earth’s death; and it was 23 June 2015.
That’s the day when the U.S. Senate, which had previously turned down the procedural move (called “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority,” and discussed here) that opens the door to passing U.S. President Obama’s falsely-called ‘trade’ deals, finally (in effect) passed it — thereby reducing the Constitutionally required two-thirds of Senators that’s needed to approve any of these treaties in order for it to become law, down to merely an unconstitutional 50% of the Senators (+ the Vice President as the tie-breaker), as if a treaty were like any merely ordinary law (which requires only 50%+1); “Fast Track” thus enormously increases the likelihood of passing any of Obama’s world-murderous ‘trade’ treaties, from approximately 0%, to approximately 100%.
Here is how these treaties will murder the Earth:
Each of these ‘trade’ deals is about lots more than merely international commerce; it is far more fundamentally about sovereignty — who rules? There is a feature in each one of them that empowers international corporations to sue any member-nation to the treaty, which tries to pass any regulation, including any environmental regulation, that is stricter than what is set in stone forever in the given ‘trade’ deal. If, for example, scientists discover that, in order for our planet not to go into an exponentially increasing temperature — basically, to go environmentally haywire, and a rapid descent into planetary death (unlivable) — then the requirements for cutting back on fossil fuels must be increased, the situation will already be one in which any member nation that would even try to increase those requirements will be sued by international oil and coal and gas corporations for trying to prevent such environmental haywire, and these lawsuits will be adjudicated by panels not of judges who are appointed by democratically elected representatives of the given nation’s public, but instead by mere panels of international ‘arbitrators’ whose careers will be dependent upon how favorably they rule for international corporations. There will be no democracy, at all, in this. The member-nations to the treaty will no longer actually be democracies. (If they ever were.) There will be a higher power, and it’s trans-national: the hundred or so individuals who collectively control all of the major international corporations.
Instead of national democracies, the member-nations of these ‘trade’ deals will have become little more than supplicants to the international corporate dictatorship, which dictatorship rules collectively over all of the national signatories to the international ‘trade’ treaty.
Now, it’s true that the international corporations will not be empowered to change any law within any one of the member-nations; but, they won’t even need to. How do you think that, in this circumstance, countries will handle their regulatory obligations, if they can be sued for increasing their national standards so as to accommodate new scientific findings, or even merely in order to change financial regulations so as to prevent crashes such as in 1929 and 2008? Any increase in any national regulation will place that nation in almost certain jeopardy of being internationally assessed to pay huge fines to the suing international corporations. That will become the great international racket: suing nations, for violating the ‘rights’ of international investors — ‘rights’ that transcend any of the rights of the citizenry in any one of those countries. (No contrary provision is afforded for nations, to sue international investors; it’s all just one-way.)
So: these ‘trade’ deals will not directly and overtly block any increase in the regulations of food-safety, the environment, drug-safety, worker-safety, workers’ wages, medical care, education, or any of the many other things that governments must regulate in order for the public to be protected, and served. Instead, this legislative blockage will be indirect, and covert. But it will be just as real, and just as effective, as if it were an outright legal prohibition. The individual nations will be forced to yield to the ‘higher’ rights (the real sovereignty) of the top international investors.
In other words: What the U.S. Senate did on 23 June 2015 was to hand America’s sovereignty over to international corporations. It gave President Obama what he had been seeking with unprecedented intensity, and which he has called his “legacy”: it’s the power to transfer lots of America’s democratic national sovereignty over to international corporations — that is, to the roughly 100 individuals on this planet who own the controlling blocks of stock in the world’s large international corporations, the people who are the real beneficiaries in all of this.
Not only will environmental regulations be frozen into place, once a given treaty is in force, and so the entire planet will become, essentially, doomed (because emerging science will be ignored if it doesn’t serve the interests of the hundred or so top billionaires); but protections of workers’ rights will also not increase — not rise in any country — beyond what the treaty specifies. The set-in-stone standards will govern, while the planet simply boils away, and boils off. This will have been the ultimate conservative victory.
The end result of that conservative victory will be global impoverishment, and ultimate environmental collapse, while the world’s few billionaires, and especially the richest hundred of them, will become enormously richer, because their freedoms and associated power will be enormously increased, at everyone else’s expense, by what happened on 23 June 2015. And, of course, those international corporations have been lobbying and buying politicians to the tune of billions of dollars, precisely in order to achieve this outcome — their totalitarian international power.
The most curious aspect of this catastrophic outcome is that the so-called ‘charities’ and ‘non-profits,’ such billionaires’ tax-writeoffs as the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations that are already heavily beholden to international corporations and to the people who control those, have been basically silent about the planetary destruction that their sponsors have been fighting to achieve, via Obama’s ‘trade’ deals. (There’s been token resistance, but only token.) The American public had falsely thought that only a few amendments needed to be added in order for these to be ‘good’ ‘trade’ deals for the public — amendments such as “Trade Adjustment Assistance,” which would provide token and brief transitional training to some of the millions of Americans who will be losing their jobs, as those jobs become increasingly outsourced abroad to lower-wage or more brutally anti-union countries and make ‘us’ more like ’them’ — the low-wage and desperate masses there.
The real “us,” and “them,” are instead the public, versus the aristocracy. It’s so within every country, but it’s unmentionable in the United States; and when you look at ‘non-profits’ such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc., and see that they were virtually silent and not vigorously exposing the corrupt ‘liberals’ during the legislative process, while this monstrosity was passing into law — a monstrosity that will make all of those organizations’ alleged ‘missions’ into mere mockery — the victory of them, over us, was as if those nominal ‘charities’ had never even existed.
For example: the websites of all of those ‘charities’ should have been flaming against “ISDS” as being an Earth-killer, but they weren’t. Instead, they focused on far less-dangerous features, “threats to forests” and the like. That was more covering-up than exposing the mega-threat.
We’re not all in this together. And they know it. Only the public were prevented from knowing it — until too late.
For more about this, see the article I previously linked to. It also provides the historical background, and the only remaining way forward that still might possibly be available to block Obama’s success in this (a Constitutional challenge to the “Fast Track” provision of Richard Nixon’s Trade Act of 1974).
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.
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