*edit, May 19, 2015 – I just noticed that the Public Citizen article about the WTO ruling on COOL isn’t visible on the Common Dreams website. That is to say, It’s there, but it’s found via a link in their Progressive Newswire section. You can therefore use the search feature on CD’s website to call up the article.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article from Public Citizen’s Ben Beachy follows:
WASHINGTON – Today’s final ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body against popular U.S. country – of – origin meat labeling (COOL) policy spotlights how trade agreements can undermine domestic public interest policies, Public Citizen said today.
The WTO decision is likely to further fuel opposition to Fast Track authority for controversial “trade” pacts that would expose U.S. consumer and environmental protections to more such challenges…
COOL requires labeling of pork and beef sold in the United States to inform consumers the country in which the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
“The president says ‘we’re making stuff up,’ about trade deals undermining our consumer and environmental policies but today, we have the latest WTO ruling against a popular U.S. consumer policy. Last week, Canadian officials announced that our financial regulations violate trade rules, and earlier this year, the Obama administration, in response to another trade agreement ruling, opened all U.S. roads to Mexico – domiciled trucks that threaten highway safety and the environment,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
In a May 1, 2015, letter, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack informed Congress that it will need to repeal the COOL law or else change it if the final WTO ruling were to go against the United States. In contrast, in his recent speech at Nike, President Barack Obama said, “Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation – food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”…
Today’s decision on the final U.S. appeal of a 2012 initial ruling against the COOL policy paves the way for Canada and Mexico, which challenged COOL at the WTO, to impose indefinite trade sanctions against the United States unless or until it weakens or eliminates COOL, which is supported by nine in 10 Americans…
Today’s ruling is not subject to further appeal.
The decision initiates a WTO process to determine the level of trade sanctions that Canada and Mexico are authorized to impose on the United States as retaliation for COOL.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows. I will activate the links for your convenience:
Ralph Nader, when talking about Bernie Sanders recently, listed a number of areas where Obama was breaking the law. (There’s plenty of lawbreaking being done by the leader of our Canadian ‘law & order’ government as well – http://bit.ly/1JWgPkQ). Ralph was being interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. I sensed that Ralph was uncomfortable saying what he said. (He noted that the problem is with the power structure. He noted that it wouldn’t matter who you had in there, the outcome would be the same. There is something to that. But that sort of let’s Obama off the hook. No one has to join that terrorist organization. But Nader isn’t prepared to seriously attack a system that he wants to win in.) The topic was Bernie, not Obama. But you can’t not discuss Obama when you are talking about someone who is about [to] run to replace him. (Bernie Sanders, incidentally, has ignored Ralph Nader for 15 years. Think about it.)
Gangsters, like Obama, will look for work in the criminal corporatocracy. The public might be okay with the idea that there is only deliberate criminality in an ‘underworld’, as Peter Dale Scott notes, but the reality is that criminality isn’t confined to conventional criminal organizations, as Michael Parenti explains in his article “The Mafia And Me” (http://bit.ly/1KhzY44).
Indeed, The wolves among us have found that the way to dominate is to break rules. After getting together with the rest of your community to decide on the rules that will make society work for all, you then strategically break rules that will allow you to leap over and get on top of others. Why would you do that? People are free to modify themselves, to reject the golden rule of love your neighbor as yourself and to see winning as life’s most important value. Anyone – rich, poor, dumb or smart – can mod themselves and embrace the Devilish game of ‘riches for the strongest’. It’s a free universe. ‘Riches for the strongest’ is this dark world’s dominant paradigm. With that game, there ‘has to be’ losers. The lawless winners in this world get a kick out of surviving, and winning, by taking the means of survival (and much else) from others. When they do that, it makes them feel strong. When we squawk after being betrayed, deprived, abused for speaking up about it, That’s like blood to vampires. They can’t get enough of it. It’s the glory-seekers glory, for glory that is unseen isn’t glory. That’s why you see a strange tension between what those with power want to hide from you (in their calculation that you might hinder them if you know) and what they want you to know so that you know who God is.
The lawless fear no rules. But they do find them useful. The people get all kinds of rules – murder is prohibited (unless, as Voltaire noted, it’s done by large organized groups), free trade rules, rules about revealing state secrets that jeopardize national security, etc – while the powerful and their allies can break them with impunity.
Really, Is there any better illustration of the mafia character of the global capitalist system than the ISDS (investor state dispute settlement) in free trade agreements? Tax evading corporations are literally allowed to shake the people down. There’s nothing stopping them. Certainly the lawless, perverted, grinning mobsters who go through the undemocratic, captured electoral system so that they can attach the label of ‘democratically elected’ to themselves aren’t going to stop them. Additionally, Obama surely has an incentive to stay the lawless course when he looks upon the $25 million that Bill and Hillary have earned in speaking engagements since 2014 (http://bit.ly/1Fqtih1).
Here we see that Obama isn’t just lawless, in that he’s broken clearly written rules, like the constitution and other American laws, but he’s broken rules that aren’t written as rules one must [follow] – unless you want to point out that leaders who profess to be Christian violate Christ’s edicts when they lie etc.. Anyway, Obama bald faced lies to the American people, and the world that is watching, by claiming that free trade is good for them and those who say otherwise are “making stuff up,” as Lori notes (http://bit.ly/1INIxl3).
These modded people who are now our ‘leaders’ are something else. They are lawless, dishonest, perverted, murderous and macho. It’s not enough that Obama finesses his lies. He’s got to bald faced lie. It may be harder to do, but if you want to prove to yourself that you’re hard… And the economy he cares about isn’t one in which average Americans participate. They are barred from that. Under neoliberal capitalism and a regime of free trade agreements, the people get austerity while the criminal 1% and it’s tools get prosperity. And so the WTO, which is a hit man for the corporatocracy, is free to shake down the American (and other) people, while grinning Obama lies about how great things will be when he aids and abets that shakedown. This is nothing new.
Southern white supremacists used to tell black Americans that segregation and inequality was good for them. When the equality line was losing them more support than it was winning, they opted to focus on the segregation system. But it was all about inequality. It was all about a way for white industrialists – who didn’t hesitate, like today’s ‘leaders’, to ruin the minds and souls of the population by propagandizing people into thinking that racism was in accordance with science and God – to maintain their racialized labor system. The result was ugly enough, with events like the patriotic murder that Chris Hedges wrote about in his book “Death Of The Liberal Class.”
Macho capitalists push until things break. They aren’t terribly… conservative. Or wise. I recall – easy enough to do since I have the book (“Defending White Democracy” by Jason Morgan Ward) before me and will resume reading it when this post is done – reading about the pushback of the southern white supremacists against the gains of the civil rights movement, and how they offered to make black public schools separate ‘and’ equal. They actually put their money where their mouths were in this instance, although that led to interesting outcomes. Here’s the thing, From the start of James Frances Byrne’s employment of the tactic to make segregation and segregationists seem respectable, via a sincere offer of establishing equality for blacks (in the public school system), the offers were also accompanied by threats. This was just prior to the Brown decision of 1954, making segregation illegal. That’s what they were trying to stop. They threatened to completely abandon public schools and they’d look after white kids while poorer black American parents were on their own. They just couldn’t help themselves. It was in their macho nature.
“From the outset, Byrnes balanced his unprecedented equalization pledge with an ominous threat. Once in office, he made good on both. In the fall of 1952, Palmetto State whites voted two to one to strike from their constitution the section mandating public schools. Afterward, Byrnes found himself lumped with less savory southern leaders… Alex McCullough, a Spartanburg newspaperman serving as “research secretary” to Governor Byrnes, resented northern newspapers’ increasing unwillingness to say anything nice about his boss. While southern newspapers regularly printed McCullough’s glowing profiles of South Carolina’s “educational revolution,” northern editors largely ignored the public relations campaign. Instead, McCullough complained, Byrne’s threat to abolish the public schools was being “used out of context to picture him as a relentless persecutor of Negroes.” -pg 138
And, as happens when you join up with a vicious gang, you don’t want to behave in such a way as to condemn the bullies’ behavior. They might turn on you. (Wall Street might turn on Obama if he says no to them or jails banksters.) So you imitate their behavior instead, especially if you have dangled before you the two options of penury and fear vs riches and glory. That the southern racist industrialists and their political allies were holding back their states and even hurting their country’s image on the world stage, with economic consequences, wasn’t enough to make them behave. They could only be forced to behave. (The NAACP, incredibly, went along with an immoral argument that segregation gave communists a reason to disparage the US. They aren’t so ‘ignorant’ now, I hope. Capitalism and force and slavery are one package deal, as we now know very well, if we care to.)
Obama, like my prime minister, Stephen Harper, fresh from cutting our throats with Bill C-51, which he immediately followed up with a push to make it illegal for Canadians to disagree with him about Israel (http://bit.ly/1B9igat), which is something US politicians are looking at also (http://bit.ly/1QZpcQT), are asking “Where’s God?” Those modded men have replaced God and need, badly, to know that a real, inconvenient, party-pooping God isn’t there. It’s an interesting pathology. The God who they’ve replaced, and whose standards they have no use for or they wouldn’t be interested in replacing him, is a God of love. One way to get his attention, then, would be to do things that would force a God of love to step out from the shadows and deal with it. Since these leaders haven’t seen God in their lifetimes, they, along with millions of others, choose to believe he isn’t there and won’t be coming. But they aren’t sure. Lucky us. They commit their abuses on the people, at home and abroad, in the most vicious manner, and await a response that doesn’t come. It’s like a hit of cocaine or something. It gives them a momentary high. But it wears off. And they come back for more. As I said, Lucky us.
But God has his timetable. Those losers aren’t going to manipulate God. They are merely going to fill up their measure and be judged for their crimes by a perfect Source of justice. He doesn’t use baseball cards and signature style drone strikes. There will be no miscalculations. And yes, Obama, change is good.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more… And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new… Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and the sexually immoral and those practicing spiritism and idolatry and all the liars; Their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This means the second death.”” (Revelation chapter 21)