The Day the Earth Died

And Why Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Etc., Were Virtually Silent About It

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 coporations.

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 billionaiures); 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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  • edwardrynearson

    When I run into the Greenpeace canvassers on the way to work I ask them if they know about the leaking nuclear reactor 65 miles away from where they are standing > so far not one has known

  • Max Freiherr von Gerlach

    Eric Zuesse should read the following paragraph at least 10 times, in order to comprehend that his postings about the “unconstitutionality” of the TPP are pure incoherencies (of course, assuming that this individual is an investigative historian):

    The Constitution is based on British Common Law, Vatican’s Code of Canon Law and Admiralty Law (influenced the latter by the Ordinamenta et Consuetudo Maris). As a matter of jurisprudence, this historical document adheres to the doctrine that Admiralty Law prevails over Common Law and goes in accordance with Canon Law — THE LAW OF THE SEA REGULATES ALL ASPECTS RELATED TO GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS, MAKING EFFECTIVELY THE LAW OF THE LAND IRRELEVANT AND DEPENDANT ON THE ADMIRALTY, AND THESE SET OF RULES EMANATE FROM A HIGHLY AND WELL-DEFINED HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE (i.e. Supremacy Clause – Article VI, 2nd Clause).

    Therefore, the recent passage of the Trade Promotion Authority is LEGAL.
    End of story

    • Carl_Herman

      Interested readers should check the US Constitution to refute Max’s interpretation of the Supremacy Clause:

      They should also note that Max provides no documentation to substantiate his claim the the US Constitution is in any way subservient to any of the other documents he lists.

      So we have two professional conclusions:
      1. We dismiss Max’s statements as unsubstantiated claims, which professionals dismiss without further comment.
      2. Although I’ve read other claims that the US government is somehow subservient to the Vatican, Queen of England, etc., none of those “secret” contracts is valid because it lacks consent of the American people.

  • Rocky Racoon

    They can also hasten in the revolution-As Buffet said “there is a class war going on and his side is winning” Time the rest of us woke up to that fact.

  • diafos

    Sierra Club’s national trade spokesperson Ilona Soloman worked her ass off against TPP, did a packed series of teach-ins across the country, and our local Seattle Sierra Club took over where she left off. They did press releases of large rallies downtown Seattle that were ignored by mainstream media, as was our enviromental and labor bus tour of Washington State.

  • teri

    Mr. Zuesse,

    You write, “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 […]”. In fact, the fast-track procedure guarantees through one of its amendments this very thing. Ralph Nader has pointed out the following: “Fast Track legislation would allow President Obama to sign and enter into the TPP before Congress approves its terms. It then requires a vote 90 days after submission of this Fast Track legislation on the TPP itself and changes in existing U.S. laws to comply with its terms.” –

    This is in effect the corporations being allowed to change our laws, since our current laws will change to comply with the TPP, not the other way around, and it’s the corporations that have written the TPP. Nader is here referring to this part of the fast-track legislation, which states that the president (and the next president, since this thing extends its reach out for years and grants fast-track to other trade agreements) can alter our laws to comply with the TPP, after simply notifying Congress about the changes:


    (C) within 60 days after entering into the agreement, the

    President submits to Congress a description of those changes

    to existing laws that the President considers would be

    required in order to bring the United States into compliance

    with the agreement;

    (D) the President, at least 30 days before submitting to

    Congress the materials under subparagraph (E), submits to


    (i) a draft statement of any administrative action proposed

    to implement the agreement; and

    (ii) a copy of the final legal text of the agreement;

    (E) after entering into the agreement, the President

    submits to Congress, on a day on which both Houses of

    Congress are in session, a copy of the final legal text of

    the agreement, together with–

    (i) a draft of an implementing bill described in section


    (ii) a statement of any administrative action proposed to

    implement the trade agreement; and

    (iii) the supporting information described in paragraph


    (F) the implementing bill is enacted into law; and

    (G) the President, not later than 30 days before the date

    on which the agreement enters into force with respect to a

    party to the agreement, submits written notice to Congress

    that the President has determined that the party has taken

    measures necessary to comply with those provisions of the

    agreement that are to take effect on the date on which the

    agreement enters into force.

    (2) Supporting information.–

    (A) In general.–The supporting information required under

    paragraph (1)(E)(iii) consists of–

    (i) an explanation as to how the implementing bill and

    proposed administrative action will change or affect existing

    law;and […]


    • cettel

      You misinterpret my statement that you quote. It does not contradict the passage that you cite. It instead refers to the question of whether a suing corporation would have the power to change a U.S. law. In other words, it refers to the situation after the treaty is approved and is in force. It does not refer to the process by which the treaty becomes approved and in force.

      I included this passage because one common argument that is given by supporters of ISDS and Obama’s ‘trade’ deals is that U.S. sovereignty isn’t being sacrificed because those suits won’t be suits against any U.S. law. I am answering: Right; but those suits can basically force U.S. laws to be changed. In other words: I am pointing out the duplicity of the whole thing.

      • teri

        Ah, I see. Thank you for the clarification.

  • plumplum

    Of course, for a legal action against a nation to be in any way effective, that nation’s government and people of course, have to accept the conditions of that treaty. Suppose they decide not to and withhold their consent? What is going to happen?
    Can we expect to see Corporate wars against those countries? Whilst I concede it is not impossible, given the already high degree of privatisation in America’s invasions around the world, the idea of Microsoft or Glaxo attacking say Australia is a bit of a step further..