Last spring, President Obama got downright crabby about people criticizing the gleaming Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) he’s trying to sell to Congress and the public.
More and more Americans are learning that TPP would undermine America’s very sovereignty, giving multinational corporations direct access to secretive tribunals empowered to roll back our nation’s consumer, labor and other laws that global corporate giants don’t like. Yet, an irked Obama called this untrue: “They’re making this stuff up,” he cried. “No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”
Perhaps he was misinformed. Perhaps he hasn’t actually read the deal he’s pushing. Or, dare we say it?, perhaps he’s lying.
In unmistakable language, TPP does indeed create the private, corporate-run mechanism for changing our laws. Moreover, surely Obama knows that foreign corporations are already doing this indirectly. Through little-known provisions in the NAFTA and WTO trade scams, powerful corporations in other countries have pressured their governments to challenge our laws in similar tribunals.
From Canada to Malaysia, many countries have, on behalf of their corporate powers, successfully forced Congress and U.S. agencies to weaken or eliminate everything from some of our environmental protections to consumer right-to-know laws. In fact, this very year, Obama’s own administration has been told by the World Trade Organization that it must alter or repeal two of America’s laws!
Shockingly, his TPP flimflam would elevate private profiteering corporations to the legal status of nation states, enabling them to sue directly in rigged corporate courts “to force us to change our laws.” Obama knows this — or he doesn’t. Either one destroys his presidential credibility and moral authority to keep pushing this giveaway of our People’s sovereignty.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.