Say hello to our new corporate-run secret court system
Obama and a host of corporate lobbyists have been caught trying to slide by a nefarious new trade agreement that makes NAFTA look like small change. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), would do some run-of-the-mill trade stuff like open Japan to agriculural imports, but it would--and I am not making this up--"grant multinational corporations vast new powers and that, among these, are virtual veto-powers over local environmental and labor laws."
EVERYONE should be talking about this. Congress should be flipping out that this is being done unilaterally, without their vote.
One of the most controversial provisions in the talks includes new corporate empowerment language insisted upon by the U.S. government, which would allow foreign companies to challenge laws or regulations in a privately run international court. Under World Trade Organization treaties, this political power to contest government law is reserved for sovereign nations. The U.S. has endorsed some corporate political powers in prior trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the scope of what laws can be challenged appears to be much broader in TPP negotiations.
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The U.S. is also facing major resistance on bank regulation standards. The Obama administration is seeking to curtail the use of "capital controls" by foreign governments. These can include an extremely broad variety of financial tools, from restricting lending in overheated markets to denying mass international outflows of currency during a financial panic. The loss of these tools would dramatically limit the ability of governments to prevent and stem banking crises.