TTIP: corporations to sue government in private, secret courts

Well worth watching this HoC Business, Innovation and Skills Committee hearing (which I can’t seem to embed in WordPress): http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16584 :

“Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP Witnesses 1.  Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC, and Sean McGuire, Brussels Director, CBI; 2.  David Babbs, Executive Director, 38 Degrees Visit the Committee’s homepage.

TTIP only masquerades as a “trade agreement”.  It is actually a corporate take-over of governments, facilitated by its hotly disputed ISDS facet.

 “ISDS grants a foreign investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. It is commonly included in free trade agreements, but opponents say it could leave local level policymakers vulnerable to libel proceedings from overseas investors, should local laws interfere with their ability to turn a profit.”

ISDS gives corporations the right to sue governments if they perceive that a government’s law reduces the profits of the corporations.  The corporations would have the right to sue the government in a private, secret court set up by the corporations where, even if the government won its case, it would end up paying the ‘legal’ costs.  This would have a chilling effect on governments pursuing policies agreed to by democratic consent at elections.

So via ISDS, corporations could dictate to governments, thereby instituting corporatocracy in what would be one giant customs union of the EU and the US.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

Update: At around10:58 into the hearing, Tory Caroline Dinenage starts badgering 38 Degrees’ David Babbs.  She asks how he dares to advise his members to urge the ditching of the TTIP agreement when he’s spoken to no experts and has not been privy to information around the agreement!

Never mind that the TTIP negotiations are secret.

Never mind that nobody yet knows the eventual terms of the agreement.

No, Dinenage thinks that Babbs is disqualified from campaigning because he is campaigning on behalf of the public. So, effectively, the Committee has called Babbs in to answer for campaigning democratically. This is very chilling from a free speech point of view, as it is not for MPs to hold the people to account.

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Cameron’s BS on corporation tax

In Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference today, he stated that he wants lower corporate taxes in the UK than other countries.

David Cameron says:  “We have cut your taxes. Now you must pay what you owe.”

If they owe the money, then can’t you take them to court for not paying, Mr Cameron?  Oh, the law doesn’t allow you to do that?  Well then, why not change the law?  Oh, because the corporations won’t pay into Conservative Party coffers?

Cameron has given the corporations tax breaks at the expense of the ordinary man, whose business has been undercut by those very corporate tax breaks.  And yet the ordinary man is not asked nicely to pay: he pays or goes to jail.

Cameron’s “Now you must pay what you owe” line is pure PR BS.

And about those zero hours contracts that Cameron says he will scrap – the ones which his government brought into being:  why doesn’t he scrap them now?  Why did he allow them to proliferate in the first place, if not to massage the employment figures in the most dishonest way possible?

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Related:

Does Israel rule the world?

Given that the NSA gives unfettered access to data on US Citizens (and everyone else) to Israel, one has to wonder who is in control in the US.

Hillary Mann Leverett* seems to indicate that Israel does indeed have an awful lot of power in Washington.  Outstanding interview.

* Co-Author of Going To Tehran, U.S. Foreign Policy Professor at American University, Academic Board Member of The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, former National Security and State Department official in the Bush and Clinton administrations,

Britain for business could be our ticket out of this EU mad house

Douglas Carswell hopes that Business for Britain will tip the balance in favour of the Better Off Outers by removing from the FCO a trump card (or should that be a Joker?) that it has used time and again to bamboozle the public: that British business is in favour of our remaining in the EU.

I agree.  While Business for Britain has no chance of effecting a renegotiation due to the EU’s “ever closer union” goal, it does give the BOO camp more ammo.

It is clear that the Sir Humphreys of this world run the show – those who would “undermine, subvert or control the legitimate government of the UK”, either for political or ideological reasons, or because they have been bought by the EU.

As someone remarked, MPs don’t listen to their constituents, Cameron doesn’t listen to MPs and civil servants don’t obey orders from the elected government.”

Why?

The EU subversion programme has broken the links between the levers and the cogs in all our governmental and quasi-governmental institutions. In effect, the cogs – placemen – are running the show, while those elected to pull the levers find that those levers have precisely zero effect and that they don’t have the power they thought they had.

This type of subversion is clearly laid out in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals“.  That ghastly Clinton woman wrote a thesis on Alinsky’s work, Obama was carefully schooled in it (he was a “Community Organizer”) and Cameron is a self-confessed fan of both Alinsky and Cass Sunstein.

When you put those pieces together, having read Alinsky’s book and surveyed our current socio-political landscape, it’s not difficult to discern the UK’s trajectory, as plotted by the unelected who have brought us all to this unholy pass.

Oh! Now libertarianism is to blame for immigration

The Tories are desperate to finger UKIP, as this latest piece of political sophistry demonstrates.

Mass immigration, as has been organised in Britain, is neither a left-wing nor a right-wing issue. It’s a corporatism issue. Corporatism is not capitalism – it is almost the exact opposite of it.

Corporatism is the unholy alliance between big business and the State, whereby big business puts politicians into office, writes laws which its pliant politicians enact – screwing the competition, while providing big business with tax breaks, immunity from prosecution, etc.*

Mass immigration benefits big business because it drives down wages in the host country, while supplying an ever-increasing number of consumers. The negative consequences of such immigration is paid for by the resident taxpayer.

Firstly, nobody voted for mass immigration. It was imposed on us by a government for whom less than 80% 20% of the country voted. There is nothing libertarian about that.

Secondly, the people of this country have invested their lives in the structure or institution that is known as Britain. They have paid taxes into it (rather than emigrate) and settled down, having planned for their future with their families. They have had to make assumptions based on election manifesto promises and they have every right to expect honesty and integrity from parties who made those promises.

Mass immigration has destroyed their jobs, their culture, and their life opportunities – and while they’re dead against it, they are being forced to pay for it all – especially when it all goes wrong.

What is libertarian about that?

*The NHS’s “health tourism” scandal is a perfect example of big business benefiting from the state. Big Pharma gets an unlimited number of clients whose bills are all paid for – in advance – by the state. Should “emergency treatments” turn into long-term “care”, so much the better.