Wednesday, February 18, 2015

THE COLLAPSE OF U.S. DEMOCRACY

COUNTERPUNCH


This is What Corporatocracy Looks Like!

Trading US Democracy for Corporate Profits with TPP

by DAVE LINDORFF
If you want to get a good understanding of how thoroughly corrupted and sold-out our government in Washington is, you need only look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the latest in a series of trade “deals” that is heading towards passage right now, and that, like its predecessors, NAFTA and CAFTA, as well as the World Trade Organization, will be sucking jobs out of the US for years.
The key point to notice about TPP, as with earlier trade deals, is that it is being negotiated in secret. The reason for this is that there are so many outrages in it which undermine US sovereignty and democratic control, and so many things in the deal that benefit multinational corporations at the expense of the American worker and the broader American public that there would be almost universal outrage if they were known.
What really demonstrates the collapse of US democracy is that even though the Republican Party claims to loath and distrust President Obama, their majorities in both House and Senate have voted to give him “fast-track” authority to negotiate the TPP. That means they want this man whom they claim to completely distrust to negotiate the whole TPP treaty, and then to present it to them as an unalterable take-it-or-leave it deal, with no amendments or changes allowed.
Why are they doing this? Because the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, like the president, want to pass this bill without letting the public find out what’s in it. And the members of Congress of both parties, who have been flooded with campaign contributions (really bribes) and other perks by corporate America to ensure that TPP is passed without discussion.
Where else could you find a government body that would willingly — no enthusiastically — surrender its power to investigate, debate and amend a major bill or, in this case, treaty? Especially a government body that is run by one party that is surrendering its power to the leader of the supposed opposing party — a man who is openly loathed and distrusted by them?
What this demonstrates is that the whole government in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike, is owned now by corporate America. What corporate America wants is what this thoroughly corrupted government gives it.
So what are they giving away in TPP? Well, the main thing is that the TPP cedes to an unelected supra-national body of government bureaucrats the right to decide in secret tribunals whether some law in a member country — say the US — unfairly restricts trade. And if that secret tribunal concludes that the law does restrict trade or interferes with some multinational company’s ability to make obscene profits doing something that the country in question has democratically decided it shouldn’t be able to do, the nation’s law is ruled to be invalid.
Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).