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Trade Rules Create Obstacle Course for a Better Food System


#1

Trade Rules Create Obstacle Course for a Better Food System

Karen Hansen-Kuhn

There were some decidedly Kafkaesque aspects of the Congressional debate this week on Fast Track legislation, designed to speed through the passage of secret trade deals that could have a serious impact on our food system. At first, the Senate refused to approve a bill to limit debate on Fast Track. Then, when the Senate did approve that bill, it turned out the real debate over Fast Track wouldn’t be happening in the Senate at all, but rather in the House (but not yet).


#3

The TPP and TTIP provisions for "regulatory coherence" and "investor-state dispute settlement" are "unfair barriers to democracy" and "unjustified democracy restrictions."

Such corporatist machinations should be illegal.


#4

"We need to rebuild our broken food system. We need new laws to regulate harmful pesticides and food additives."

In the same way that right wing Conservatives turned Affirmative Action laws around to favor their own interests, and the way that media protects violent perpetrators by blaming their victims (as is the trend when reporting on exposures of sickening police violence), control of NARRATIVE is paramount to any good Offensive.

Corporations, creeping their way first into Personhood and then, through the power of the purse granted homage by the current less than sagacious Supreme Court into the legal status of Most Esteemed Persons, have turned the presumption of innocence around. They use it to DO a good deal of harm and then place the onus on those who have been harmed to prove their harm. Often this Court will then kneecap such legal action from running a fair, sane, or just course by stating that the very people harmed do not "have standing." This is to secular/civil law what Military kangaroo courts are to "justice" within that Mars-ruled Might Makes Might tragic-hierarchy.

So here, too, we find that corporations are saying, "We get to poison you, turn your kids fat, put your wives on anti-depressants, render your waters toxic" and YOU have to prove it.

How many notable persons in positions of authority have had former dealings with Monsanto? How many covered for this criminal corporation whose war crimes continue to bleed the populations of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos... with similar effects (somewhat mitigated in their outright toxic effect) let loose on Columbia as its forests are sprayed to "fight the drug war."

Corporations which behave with the ethics of Organized Crime families have been getting away with murder and ecocide on a massive scale. The TPP and the TIPP grant them a license to kill while anesthetizing citizens' legal pathways to redress.

They are The New World Order's Totalitarian creep turned into a race that now bares its true weapons.


#5

She is very right- we need all these things- but

... of course, they are all in mortal danger..

her organizations web site has a lot of info on these problems too.. highly recommended.

But, lets not get complaent, we need to hit the phones while we learn the truth.

Absolutely NONE of the things the author is stating we need here will be permitted under the new global regimen, they are al specifically, systematically prohibited. Additionally, an attack is made on the reporting systems of the workd, particularly the availability of affordable health care. We can consider the US system of denying healthcare to those most likely to be injured as a model the US is successfuly importing, ia the secret trade deals, and they are made to become bullet proof (in other words, democracy and election and even total change in government proof.) This week and our phone calls and letters to Senate and Congress might be thought of as possibly the last chance we human beings have to have a say, in these issues of extreme importance to our lives and future existence. let me give an example of just one big problem.

A recent paper entitled "Estimating Burden and Disease Costs of Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union"
Url is here, remove left angle bracket [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399291/?report=printable

----cut here --- excerpt -----

Results:Expert
panels achieved consensus at least for probable (>20%) EDC causation
for IQ loss and associated intellectual disability, autism,
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, childhood obesity, adult
obesity, adult diabetes, cryptorchidism, male infertility, and mortality
associated with reduced testosterone. Accounting for probability of
causation and using the midpoint of each range for probability of
causation, Monte Carlo simulations produced a median cost of €157
billion (or $209 billion, corresponding to 1.23% of EU gross domestic
product) annually across 1000 simulations. Notably, using the lowest end
of the probability range for each relationship in the Monte Carlo
simulations produced a median range of €109 billion that differed
modestly from base case probability inputs.Conclusions:EDC
exposures in the EU are likely to contribute substantially to disease
and dysfunction across the life course with costs in the hundreds of
billions of Euros per year. These estimates represent only those EDCs
with the highest probability of causation; a broader analysis would have
produced greater estimates of burden of disease and costs.

This estimates burden by a sophisticated and highly accurate statistical technique, quite conservatively, of the chemicals which the US is trying so hard to prevent future regulation of in Europe, in TISA and here, carving in stone forever the huge obstacles which were created in the US and giving corporations rights to compensation for government actions, via "investor-state dispute settlement"


After these agreements are signed, we might as well ignore voting in the future because the control will shift to an entirely unaccountable, international mechanism which will be stacked by industries and which within it, people simply do not exist. The TPA bill is a national law and as such its irrelevant beyond the fact that it will trigger the deal. We dont realize how these trade deals remove the ability of leaders to regulate. here is an example, health care. Everybody seems to agree, health care is f**** up and legislators cant seem to fixc anything it all gets worse. Well there is a reason for that which I covered in two other posts, they gave away the power to fix it in GATS beginning in 1995 (for examples, read this paper [http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.405.5725&rep=rep1&type=pdf

... and these trade deals continue to BLOCK any ability of legislators to change anything positively due to "standstill clauses" rights to freezing of a regulatory set of conditions by giving a right to compensation for any adverse effects to "future expected profits"

If a law "takes away the property" of a corporation, like an insurance corporation or chemical company, they can bring a suit in an special corporate-lawyer staffed stacked courts, where the only question at issue is did they change something that impacted the profits, yes or no. period. Also people should be aware that the TPA bill is a deliberate distraction away from the two other trade deals which are in their negotiations now TISA and TTIP, both of which likely will effect Americans far more terrifyingly than TPP. Both are attacks on the public interest of an audacity we have never seen before.

For example, the Trade in Services Agreement will set up a programme of privatizing and then globalizing the public sector, See [http://www.cuts-geneva.org/pacteac/images/Documents/EAC%20Forum/Forum17/EAC%20Geneva%20Forum-%20WTO%20Note%2017.pdf

Also see GATS Article 1:3 (or I:3) one way to find a lot of writing on the subject is by Googling the fllowing text: "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."

Another way to prove I am telling you the truth quickly is by reading this document from the entire European highed education community against TTIP and TISA- Please do it now. Look at their bullet list of problems, GATS's use in TTIP and TISA is number one.

[http://www.eua.be/Libraries/Publication/EUA_Statement_TTIP.sflb.ashx (which leads to the EUA_Statement on TTIP and TISA document )

Please understand, more and more - to the point where now people are literally so profoundly misled that they find it very hard to grok just how much of what we have been told for the last 20 years is a lie - Its like the science film, The matrix and this is the real world-

They are obviously desperate or they would not be lying like this, and it could catastrophically collapse so expect more and more lying until a catastropher occurs for our country. Its like pearl harbor, would you have warned the men when your radar picked up the approaching japanese fleet- YES, because it would have prevented so much later on to win that victory- As soon as you dig into this you will find that every single thing they try to do is loaded with tricks and traps.

These deals are a takeover of our futures, excluding almost none of what we currently think of as sacred and off limits. they lie about this, but the truth can be found by examining closely the writing in the GATS provisions mentioned in their text.

terms people need to understand are "indirect expropriation" and additional constraints on numerous things which make it better which are now all systematically being barred as thefts of their prperty from corporations.!

"We need to rebuild our broken food system. We need new laws to regulate
harmful pesticides and food additives. We need better food labels. We
need new programs to produce healthier foods at prices that are fair to
consumers and farmers. A lot of this is starting to happen at the local
level all across the country. We must protect these fragile gains, and
find ways for them to flourish, not create new obstacles to change.
These trade deals are another way to place our nation’s food safety in
the hands of a few food corporations, to diminish the public’s role in
ensuring safe food and to weaken the rights of consumers to know what’s in their food."


#6

Armybrat, yes, you have nailed exactly what is happening. these supra-national deals basically create a government of all the governments owned by corporations, which is called the investor-state dispute settlement system.

I highly recommend your going to italaw dot com which is a site that collects and makes available a great many of the investor state suits, as well as aggregates writing on them which otherwise would be easy to find.

lets pick an issue of concern to all, health care. Search for Achmea vs. Slovak Republic (a previous name for Achmea is Eureko) The most recent decision is quite interesting, especially note how a loss for the nation (how dare they vote for a "unitary healthcare system" or to limit an insurer profits AFTER they signed an FTA- the decison spells out just how difficult the system makes it to escape.

Of course, their loss is framed as a win for them.

As we learn (please lets all learn very fast as the vote is this week) about these FTAs, you will see that nowhere is any such thing as a national law or statements made by national politicians of any kinds, especially promises, ever relevant in the trade deal world. its because in that world, our world barely exists except as a market, as rights to a captive group.

the phrases "non-binding" and "advisory only" are applicable to the Preambles and sort of meta documents (such as the TISA and TTIP "mandate" documnts) too - the beginning text, of many FTAs too..

In short, given the huge cost- the loss of democracy forever- nothing les- we should require at least a year of time with these documents all being public and an intense national debate to make any such far reaching change, especially globalizing huge swatches of the economy as is intended with TISA..

Proof of that is here- [http://www.wti.org/fileadmin/user_upload/nccr-trade.ch/wp2/publications/TISA_P_Sauve.pdf and here [http://www.cuts-geneva.org/pacteac/images/Documents/EAC%20Forum/Forum17/EAC%20Geneva%20Forum-%20WTO%20Note%2017.pdf

I suspect very strongly that with such a unusually dishonest situation, its designed to only need one mistaken yes vote and then the rest is likely to go on autpilot, not unlike the Doomsday Device in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove

I would not be surpprised, indeed, I would be surprised if any of the so called safeguards were anything other than additional parts of the big deception. I suspect that that the second any acceptance is made of TPA, the entire rest of it likely becomes a nullity and everything goes on autopilot as much as possible, taking it out of the American people's eyes and hands.

Look at some of the other links I posted in other threads, de-linked since I am new- let me know what you think!

This document may have a useful gloassary in it, (But be aware that TISA is not just financial services, its basically GATS II so huge, and its been in planning since 2006, as part of WTO "Friends of Services" talks [http://ttip2015.eu/files/content/docs/Full%20documents/factsheet_tisa_and_financial_services.pdf

Not just because this site is in Maine, but because it goes right to the heart of the issue, this may also be interesting: [http://www.maine.gov/legis/opla/ctpchlthcaresub.pdf

These below are good articles on non-services procurement which is an important issue for food and farming which shows how the deals threaten sustainable local buying directly. [http://www.iatp.org/blog/201411/trade-vs-local-economies-procurement-on-the-table and [http://www.iatp.org/documents/10-reasons-ttip-is-bad-for-good-food-and-farming


#7

Thanks for your posts and your work, you've obviously been at this for a while. i got involved pre-WTO Seattle in the late 1990s when the MAI was being negotiated. We beat that back, we stalled the WTO (but did not dismantle it), and the top-level corporatist cabal is back with their most far-reaching and nasty "Global Corporatist Constitution" documents yet.

And responding to your previous quote, yes they are afraid of their whole system coming unraveled, and we do have the opportunity to get them on the run. We need solidarity and to support every different organized effort to get in the way of the carrying out of the corporatist colonialist extractivist agenda. And TPP / TTIP / TISA are the pointed spears of their most important "legal" offensive.


#8

Thanks for the dedication to revealing the truth on these matters.


#9

Healthcare has been described to me as the one brght spot in a dismal economy. Trade deals assert the right of corporations to make lots of money on "managing" rather than curing illness, to maximize that one bright spot.


#10

Keeping a close eye on this horrific example of corporate greed.


#11

This is the Obama-Roberts corporate era. The whole system is rotten to the core.


#12

Where does Hillary stand on this issue? I've heard her referred to as the 'Bride of Frankenfood'.


#14

Its under attack in TISA, and likely will vanish or be gutted into something like the Cameron proposed anti-regulation bill, if they get their way. Just in time for the us drilling and fracking expansions from the TTIP energy deal, panels for "regulatory convergence" etc.

As they did in the US many years ago, across the board, it seems to me as if they are trying to replace any law like that - any human equal right, with its doppelganger - typically a corporate unequal right- globally,

That might be typified by a law which tests all laws put in place for any reason against their possible influence on future expected corporate profits and demands compensation for the made up and speculatory costs of any regulation in advance. Such laws, and the political appointees to decide their application have been in US Federal agencies for quite a long time (they were and are I think called kommisars under the former USSR and in Russia)

How do they decide priorities? MONEY and money alone. (But the real costs of things like putting cancer causing endocrine disruptors into the environment would be likely to be grossly underreported intentionally also. )

They make the market the ruler of value whenever a value is ascribed?
That is my gut feeling but its based on a general view of the situation over years.

So, for example with wages, the most extreme example would contrast two arguments one would be a sustainability argument that a wage needs to be living, and ideally should result in promotions and raises for good performance. However, that would deny the company the benefit of the falling wages due to falling demand, so it seems the FTAs attempt to create a new amoral system that deliberately but explicitly repudiates all those concepts in favor of their opposites.

Also, wherever it sees a potential laibility it attempts to address it in a particular "backwards" way.

For example, chemical liability for endocrine disruption based cancers. Having only preventative care (visits where no complaints are made) be free -

Taking older people's estates when they die if they use Medicaid

Affordable health care means a large body of information, as shown by countries with high quality health care a large body of cradle to grave health intervention and outcome data is available. That poses a grave threat to the chemical industry if it cotinues, even in only a few countries, if the problem is not solved by adoption of a :Highest common denominator" approach instead of the US backed lowest common denominator.

If indeed Obamacare is a "prevention of care" strategy, and that seems fairly obvious to me given the parallel attacks on the precautionary principle AND non-profit higher education. It looks precisely at the problem of the "moral hazard" caused by the acquisition of inconvenient scientific data and tries to prevent it by every means possible.

It is a brilliant global strategy from the hypothetical point of view of a hypothetically polluting chemical or agribusiness company.

The attack on public services that began with GATS and which is now continuing in TTIP and especially TISA, is an attack on good government and science and healthcare of a very broad nature, will also cripple regulation in all countries it happens in.

Also, they are a broader attack on the concept of human rights as opposed to unequal rights (the right of corporations to make sure that only those with money get the best and those with less money must by ncessity get less or none in order not to devalue the market)

The same goes with skill level, which is determined by supply and demand only,

To extrapolate the (hypothetical) future effects of our unknowlingly globally endorsing this system in these three known and unnown other secret deals, , one only needs to look at US states which assign values to lives based on lost earnings, IF worth of everything, including life itself, is determined by what it sells for period, the argument that the market determines wages and if wages are next to nothing its perfectly okay to work workers to death as long as their wages are low because the value of their life would also be low. Also, the value of compensation which would be paid (if any) in the events of global catastrophes would become ifinitesimally small, due to wages being the core marker of value. So, children, the aged, and the unemployed (more and more people as we move towards what scientists say will be a much much more automated future) will have lives worth - well, hopefully you get my point.

Thes use of secret frames that unnaturally elevate markets above natural people effect virtually everything.

So, value of a life is basically the salary of its holder


#15

Seattle and Washington State Port Authorities and DOTs are aligned with oil and globalization interests, Costco Panamax class consumerism, Buffett's BNSF and the Columbia River becoming a fossil fuel corridor with "international jurisdiction" according to the TPP; implied, inferred, mandated.
Unhappy with Seattle. The DOTs rule the roost ruinously.
Frightening traffic despite claimed solutions forthcoming-ish.
Business-suited apparitions declaring war, smiling.
Black oil salesmen jerking off senseless dreadful harm.
Laughing drunks cajoling others like them, the officials.
Parading the party underground won't erupt, disrupt, destabilize?
Pay to ride to the end of a hole in the ground -Bertha- yours, ours.
Seattle and Washington DOTs/Port Authorities are NOT trustworthy.
Globalization globally globalizizes global globalinessness.


#16

I agree, although I've come to question whether Organized Crime families deserve to be smeared by comparison to the level of depravity big corporations are capable of. Corporations and their partners in the Democratic Party and Republican Party have taken organized crime to a new level. A massive scale, as you pointed out.


#17

This is a new video on TTIP's "Regulatory Cooperation" provisions that give multinational corporations and lobbyists a new panel stacked with their people to help draft laws effecting them- One law change must be agreed upon by 38 countries.

It appears that chemical companies are working to prevent any future regulation of incredibly costly endocrine disrupting chemicals by embedding special rights to prevent new regulations in the taboo (for Senators to discuss) TTIP US-European trade deal.

Americans need to know more about the TTIP's dangerous and likely freeze on food safety and environmental and chemical regulations.

Its being claimed in Europe that we support the dismantling of their stronger, more effective laws and these freezes which will make it as hard to regulate even knowmn dangers as it is here.