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Ignoring Businesses, Baltimore Shuts Off Water to 1,600 Homes


#1

Ignoring Businesses, Baltimore Shuts Off Water to 1,600 Homes

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Despite the millions owed by commercial properties in overdue water payments, the city of Baltimore has strictly targeted its residents and in the past 6 weeks has shut off the water supply to more than 1,600 households, reporting reveals.


#2

The explanation for their behavior may be found in WTO GATS "services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority" exclusion as well as in the fact that the US is promoting three secret trade deals, at least two of which are based on the GATS in part.. The US doesn't want anybody to think that water is a service "supplied in the exercise of governmental authority"

See This document on the ongoing TISA negotiations in Geneva (one of several trade related processes that they hope to distract most of America from) as well as:
The WTO’s Threats To Global Water Security: The General Agreement On Trade In Services And Beyond (about water privatization specifically) And also the links below..

“Water will be to the 21st Century what oil was to the 20th.”—Fortune Magazine

Giving away services or commodities is now being framed as very bad thing by the US in its trade policy, and the three secretive trade deals, TISA, TTIP and TPP are the known ones, and the US is trying to convince the whole world that this new "corporate lives matter" viewpoint is the future and that the US public support it to the exclusion of the human centric approaches which the US is explicitly framing as a vestige of the past.

The controversial GATS "standstill" "ratchet" and rollback" clauses enforce a one way ever tightening goal of increasing "liberalisation" - "disinvestment" or privatization of former public services and jobs. To allow any free public services would be seen as sending absolutely the wrong message to investors.

In the WTO General Agreement on Trade In Services, which is borrowed from extensively to define the scope of public services and soon to be commercialized services, in GATS Article I:3 there is a two part test:

> "For the purposes of this Agreement…

> (b) 'services' includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority;

> (c) 'a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority' means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers."

Do you see the problem. For the US to present a convincing argument that total privatization under WTO rules is the inly future (Climate change and growing corruption, combined with subsequent looting of economies, may create a situation where obeying WTO rules that may demand exporting potentially quite valuable and life sustaining water to the highest bidder irregardless of local needs - if local consumers lack ability to pay, obedience to the system may require taking it anyway.

(A similar situation exists with TTIP and its deregulation of natural gas export and the United States. Would it set a good precedent to illustrate to potential foreign investors that the US, which prides itself as the global protector of investor rights, might deny foreign investors the right to fully exploit the value of their investments in 2017 when the natural gas exports are expected to begin in earnest? ) (The value of liquid natural gas varies by as much as 600% around the globe, with the prices in the US currently being the lowest)

Its a similar situation as with health care. For healthcare to be privatized, globally and maximum prices to be exacted for pharmaceuticals in a future (where many lack of ability to pay) the US must stick to the ideological tenets of its free market ideology to maximize profits as the trade deals force others to do. It must stick to its own rule book.

To make a convincing point in the trade deals that privatization is the only viable future, the US cannot be giving exemptions to its effects - in effect sweetheart deals of any kind, to its own people.

Look at other ideoloically based chains of events. The forced collectivization of the Ukraine, the Irish Potato Famine, the Great Leap Forward famine, the late 1990s in North Korea. Each was a ideology driven problem.

That is what we see here, because of the nature of trade deals all the Venn diagrams intersect on us.

Here are the "mandate" documents for the huge pending TISA and TTIP free trade agreements, the biggest ever. Note the references to the previous WTO services FTA, GATS.

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6891-2013-ADD-1-DCL-1/en/pdf

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11103-2013-DCL-1/en/pdf

Two documents that explain the scope of WTO-GATS mandate to privatize and the scope of the exceedingly narrow government services exemption from WTO-GATS privatization.
http://www.iatp.org/files/GATS_and_Public_Service_Systems.htm

http://www.ciel.org/Publications/PublicServicesScope.pdf


#4

In my opinion, race has absolutely nothing to do with it. Except its being used as a cover story, a super effective cover up, to distract America from where the real battle should be - but isn't, and as such it does provide a really great, plausible distraction for media use which likely would have to be made up otherwise. And an added benefit is that Obama was duly elected, is black, and he still decided to make the hard choice on water, even though people might die, investments will be protected. A similar thing is happening with health care.

This is all about setting highly visible precedents which make unpleasant choices which adhere to our ideologically rigid trade policy.

Here is another paper-

The Trade in Water Services: How Does GATS Apply to the Water and Sanitation Services Sector? by Rebecca Bates

Also http://www.ciel.org/Publications/GATS_WaterEnv_Nov03.pdf

The current services battleground is around the pending TISA trade deal.

The TISA and TTIP mandate documents a level up above show how many of the relevant GATS rules are being replicated TODAY in TISA and TTIP.

Obama started his career helping privatize former public housing.


#6

have you called all your Senators and Congresspeople to tell them how you feel about Fast track? Multiple times?


#9

I honestly believe that from the point of view of the people who run the country, race has nothing to do with it except as a convenient cover story/distraction from the real cause, which is basically the GATS provisions and the need to make it clear that water is not a "service provided as an exercise of government authority" and thereby something which does not have to be a business. like with health care - good discussion of these same issues with regard to Canadian health care here.

what Joe Stiglitz is telling us is true, the trade deals are literally a global coup against democracy.

They should be honest about something I have known since I was a little kid, jobs are going away for good for most people , (except scientists and artists and the very best people at things)

and corporations are nervous that people will see the big picture which is one of abundance, so they want to create false scarcity, and always they want more and more money!

Customers will dry up soon because the global economy depends on a middle class and that middle class is endangered everywhere, and this situation demands honesty but they wont go there, they don't want to change, this incredibly elaborate scheme is in their quite obsessive minds, preferable to just letting the future happen in a good way 9and it will be better for all of us- including them)

All they need to do is let go of the death grip and start being honest about the things they need to be honest about.

Chemical companies and agribusiness fear is likely liability for the huge EDC mess and banks fear the collapse of their various schemes/control frauds.

But its only going to get worse if they continue. The world won't just let it happen this time. I think they themselves know this and they secretly want to get caught. They should just be grown ups and admit the truth.

Number 1 is that fact that this is a sea change and nobody has any idea what we are going to do.

But the minute we admit the truth, thats when the healing starts.

Continuing denial will become more and more costly quickly. hannah Arendt pointed out the reasons why in her book so i wont repeat it all here.

What is kind of interesting is also kind of sad.. As we know, most of the black people in the world are in Africa, not the US, and ...

What do you make of this? Do you follow it?

EAC Geneva Forum- WTO Note 17


The trade deals are irreversible and the carve outs that need to go into, say TISA need to be going in now.

Are you familiar with the concept of "cascade" in failure analysis?


There are five years of future trade deals and three pending right now. Actually, as far as I know, TPP does not involve services, TISA is services, TTIP also has some services. There are THREE "T" trade deals, also, apart from flicking the switch on

Plus two T-named laws that are - because they are laws, largely irrelevant.

TPA is advisory only and NON BINDING, Those national laws are irrelevant, once the FTA is triggered, it is self contained. You cant change any of it by voting, its forever.

just imagine it says "from now on, democracy comes second, forever in anything involving anything thats traded across borders,, so for example, the WTO might gain power to demand the "rollback" of a minimum wage law change to its pre-FTA value or pay penalties in compensation until a country complied..


#12

Yes We Can!

Note - this link is informative, its not what you probably think.


#13

It's OK. We've been stripping away the fundamental human rights of the poor since the 1990s. You deserve only what you are able to pay for. Those who still have enough income to afford shelter are able to acquire drinking water. Sanitation is a big problem, but the poor tend to live in specific areas with low rent housing, so this would only affect those who (as middle classers put it) "choose the poverty lifestyle." If we don't believe that food and shelter are basic human rights, why would we care about indoor, running water?


#14

Oh, what a wicked web we weave....

GATT, World Bank, WTO...represent corporate interests (banking, investments, venture capitalists and the like) as they were created in that vein yet the American public remains ignorant of these orgs' subterfuge and obfuscation. Another example of a "shadow government" operating...as FDR warned.

Usurp all the world's resources and make the people pay dearly with their lives and any dreams of right livelihood.


#15

Will the person or persons erecting a mega mansion in Florida with a master suite of 3,000 ft plus, imported Italian marble columns, floors, and staircase, a $3Million Imax inhouse viewing room, etc. please step up to the plate and forgo another home/condo/mega yacht and then use those funds to help the people living in poverty in Detroit and Baltimore KEEP THEIR WATER ON? What a concept: sharing good fortune with fellow human beings....

No water when the temperatures and humidity are on a precipitous rise for summer will result in riots, deaths, chaos, fires, ruination of neighborhoods. Where is the sanity? Where is the compassion? Where is the loving kindness? It seems to have been consumed by the grasping, clawing, inhumane pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Please, no snide comments about "they (folks with unpaid water/sewer bills) made their beds, let them lie in it (them) or "they (the million-cum-billionaires) made it, they have a right to choose how to spend (or keep) it."


#16

This should be the last straw: Total non cooperation now!


#17

That's exactly what they want, more distraction from TISA.


#19

Cruel and Unusual. Now people will have to waste all their time buying bottled water which is more expensive than gasoline.

Corporate Dictatorship from hell. Pretty soon they're going to charge a fortune for one drop of water applied to your burning tongue. Just where the hell is the Big Federal Peeping-Tom Government and it's massive legal system to stop this?

Huh?

Where is the Executive Branch? Where is the Congress? Where is the Judicial Branch?

If it's completely useless, I say let's get rid of it, and transfer power to the local block level. Pretty soon, these azzholes on Wall Street are going to be charging us to breathe our own air. And Big Uncle Sam will do nothing about it, since he's been paid-off to do nothing except start wars all over the world...


#20

yup, I have


#21

No snide comments here, but that person erecting their mega mansion would almost certainly look upon any attempt to get them to divert their money elsewhere as theft to help the undeserving. How do we change attitudes like that?


#22

Looking at the news coverage, I think that the media is trying to spin it as a threat to them, they don't realize that a monster like this basically consumes everybody eventually, even its own.

Any system so obsessed with excluding people (to cover up its own failure in economic sustainability) absolutely has to keep finding reasons to blame/exclude this group or that.

Its a similar (but far less extreme, at this point) state to Stalin's "The terror" are you familiar with that?

Basically, Stalin arbitrarily made up skapegoats to blame his failings on and systematically killed large groups of people as a distraction, or to create a state of fear, or national emergency, without an actual war going on.

Read Hannah Arendt's "The Origins of Totalitarianism" - its free on the web at archive.org and I think also gutenberg.org.

Its a brilliant book that deconstructs totalitarianism and its origins in the late 19th and early 20th century, and it is widely acknowledged as one of the best political books ever written. The very beginning is a bit slow, one can skip the very beginning and still get the main points.

Highly recommended!