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

Eric Zuesse

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, or by lowering the amount of a given toxic substance that the nation allows in its foods, or by increasing the percentage of the nation’s energy that comes from renewable sources, or 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.”

After World War II, the ‘former’ Nazi, Prince Bernhard, took up the fascist (lower-case f, indicating the ideology, instead of Mussolini’s Fascist political party; Bernhard had belonged instead to Hitler’s Nazi Party) cudgel, when he created in 1954 his then-secret (and still secretive today) Bilderberg group, which 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 Bernhard 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 than 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 Gilens and Page) and explained why its findings are that way. This 6-minute video is a crash course on political reality. That Gilens 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.

———-

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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  • Mr. Zuesse your article today is spot on target!

    February 15, 2015 David Stockman: The Global Economy Has Entered The Crack-Up Phase And will be characterized by these 4 developments

    David is now loudly warning that events have entered the crack-up phase, which he predicts will be defined by the following 4 developments:
    Increasingly desperate moves by the world’s central banks
    Increased market volatility and losses
    Deflation in industrial and commodity prices
    Decreasing demand due to Peak Debt

    http://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/91810/david-stockman-global-economy-has-entered-crack-phase

    • cettel

      THANK YOU, MOLON, FOR POSTING HERE THAT 1995 OBAMA INTERVIEW. I had never seen it before. Wow! If Strassman could do some follow-up questions of Obama on it today, what fireworks that would be!