What Poses a Greater Threat Than ISIS? How About ISDS!

Where are all those clamoring to “take their country back”   They’re about to lose it to  their free-market buddies.

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Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is an alleged legal system worming its way into trade agreements that would wrest local control from citizens by multinational corporations.

Under ISDS, “foreign investors” – mostly transnational corporations – have the ability to bypass U.S. courts and challenge U.S. government action and inaction before international tribunals authorized to order U.S. taxpayer compensation to the firms.    SOURCE

Holy Invisible Hand of the free markets Batman!!!   These guys are trying to steal our rights guaranteed under the Constitution.  The idea that an Islamic terrorist will ever hurt an American in this country is almost nil.  According to the National Safety Council you are more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorists.  On the other hand the law under the TPP trade agreement will surely impact numerous Americans without even leaving the city limits of their home towns.

It seems like blue-blooded capitalist no longer put their faith in a system that is built in part on risk.  The whole argument asserting that businesses deserve some tax credits and less regulation is that they inherit certain risk in their business ventures.   But now they are even trying to remove this component at the expense of local and state government sovereignty.

Watch this short video about the dirtiest deal you’ve never heard of.

Ben Ross, president of the Action Committee for Transit and author of Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism that addresses the politics of urbanism and transit, points out the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement through the ISDS mandate could have a huge impact on the long-established system of local control.  “A key principle of land use in the United States, Ross reminds us, “is that homeowners can often veto new buildings on nearby land that other people own.”  

Local control in Texas and especially my hometown of Denton has become a dividing line between citizens and the oil and gas industry.  We are witnessing first hand how special corporate interests that want obstruction free access to land for drilling can deprive citizens of their right to live in a community free from health and safety concerns.

corpamericaOur right to engage in this battle will automatically be removed if the ISDS provision of the TPP becomes part of U.S. law.  The fossil fuel industry along with other corporate interests are pushing for this trade agreement power over local control so they don’t have to face the wrath of citizens who oppose their push into our neighborhoods.   They want all the perks of owning a business without the incumbent responsibilities that ensures they will take every responsibility to prevent those things that can diminish an established neighborhood of the things that give it its appeal.

But even more egregious is how ISDS allows a foreign investor to come in and try to build something in our community that citizens are opposed to.  If such an event occurs then the foreign investor, under the authority of the TPP, can sue for and probably get compensation, not for anything he or she actually lost, but what he or she presumably may have lost had they been able to build what they wanted to.  There would be no real appeal for citizens because the court that would determine the outcome is an international court run by corporate lawyers outside the protection of the Constitution.  Think of the scams that could be perpetrated with this by wealthy people who could care less if they build or not, knowing that they would get compensated for it regardless.

“The separate and unaccountable system of justice that TPP would create poses a major risk to critical statutes and policy decisions that protect our citizens — and it has no place in a nation committed to equal justice under law”  Eric Schneiderman, New York state Atty General

Businesses and the jobs they create are vital to our communities and to our economy.   But there has to be some equilibrium about who and what we allow in the places where we live out our lives.  There’s no reason why we can’t cohabit the same area within reason.   But the ISDS provision of the TPP trade agreement removes this reasonable expectation and puts all the burden and risk on local tax payers.  It also threatens a government of, for and by the people and puts it in the self-interest domain of for-profit companies.

For more details on this onerous provision and other trappings of the TPP trade agreement read Lambert Strether’s article over at the naked capitalism blog site
The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism


5 Leading Legal Scholars on TPP: We Write Out of Grave Concern


5 responses to “What Poses a Greater Threat Than ISIS? How About ISDS!

    • “Where is the Tea Party protesting this in the streets?”

      Still caught up in their own self-created quagmire about the “socialist” in the White House. And yet this is one area that they could actually have a legitimate gripe on since Obama is backing the trade agreement and its fast-tracking through Congress so no amendments can be added or people can get a good look at the contents before the bill is passed.

      • “Why on earth … would he support such a thing? “

        As much as I like the guy and have no regrets voting for him to prevent McCain and Romney from sitting in the oval office, Obama has neo-liberal leanings, strong neo-liberal leanings, much like Hillary and Bill. This is his one misgiving as far as I am concerned but it is a big one none-the-less.

      • And don’t forget about the most important part, the post-politics job opportunities. (aka 7 digit annual income to sit in a corner office and play Minesweeper 5-6 days a year)

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