Myths of Free Trade: Attac Refutes TTIP Arguments

Myths of Free Trade: Attac Refutes TTIP Arguments

TTIP and Ceta are far more than trade agreements. They help strengthen the power of transnational corporations and weaken democratic institutions. Attac promotes just trade instead of fair trade. Labor rights, environmental standards and democracy must have prioirity over one-sided trade interests. Attac does its utmost for political and economic conditions that set distribution justice and quality of life at the center, not blind growth at any price.

The TTIP agreement between the EU and the US creates a parallel private arbitration system where corporations can sue states for lost profits and decisions are irrevocable. Labor and environmental regulations can be invalidated as “takings” or “indirect expropriation.” Public interest laws can be chilled or invalidated as infringements of the “human right to profit” of foreign investors.

Fast Track, TPP and TTIP Should Be Scrapped!

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Politics Faded Out the Constitutional Offensiveness of Trade Agreements

Politics Faded Out the Constitutional Offensiveness of Trade Agreements

by Alex Flessner, Joachim Baertner and Silvia Liebrich

The arbitration jurisdiction with the ISDS mechanism is the most controversial point of the two trade agreements CETA and TTIP. US corporations could file lawsuits against the German prohibition of gas production through fracking. They could demand compensation in the billions from the states. States could be deterred by the threat of lawsuits from environmental and labor protective regulations.

These are not trade agreements but bills to protect corporate profits and privilege foreign investors. Public interest laws could be stylized as “indirect expropriation.” Parallel private courts could privilege foreign investors and shift sovereignty to corporations from states and communities.

to read Scott Sinclair’s 20 page article from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, July 2014, click on

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Fast Track, TPP and TTIP Should Be Scrapped! Thilo Bode on “The Free Trade Lie”

Fast Track, TPP and TTIP Should Be Scrapped! Thilo Bode in his new book “The Free Trade Lie” (March 2015) calls the TTIP “Impudence”

How scandalous that communities and states could lose sovereignty to corporations! In the TTIP, corporations can sue states for lost profits. In the secret negotiations, only 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the free trade agreements, not congresspersons or citizens! Corporations are put on an equal level with states. The threat of a lawsuit can have a chilling effect on labor and environmental protective regulations.

A parallel private administrative system (ISDS) is created that privileges foreign investors over labor and the environment. Philip Morris, Violea, Vattenfall, Occidental Petroleum, Pacific Rim and Metalclad are flagrant examples of profit worship. Public interest legislation can be called a trade barrier or indirect expropriation.

A reading sample of “The Free Trade Lie” is available here:

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TTIP: Corporate Interests Against Citizens

by Maja Volland, March 2015

The regulatory approaches of the EU and the US are fundamentally different. In the EU, environmental and consumer protection function according to the principle of precaution. State regulations protect the environment and health. The obligation to provide evidence that a product is harmless lies with the manufacturer or importer… Lower cost standards will prevail in free competition when standards between the EU and the US are harmonized.

The TTIP serves economic interests first of all and not safeguarding higher protective standards… At the same time the creative possibilities of governments in energy policy will be greatly minimized…

The TTIP was not conceived as an instrument to protect “sustainability” and high standards in the globalized economy. Rather TTIP threatens to disable or drive back democratic and regulatory processes for the benefit of corporate interests. Standards fall under thewheel while businesses gain more and more influence on political decisions.

On the other hand, a politics in the sense of the environment and consumers must set the rules of the game for global trade under very differently – namely oriented in the interests and needs of the majority of its citizens. But the TTIP is now miles from this.

You can download an Alternative Trade Mandate at
ATM should be easy to remember. 50 NGOs from Europe crafted this Alternative Mandate. States should be able to protect themselves from speculation and bank deregulation.

Corporations in the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US, 800 million people)create a parallel private legal system of tribunals to sue states, e.g. Philip Morris is suing Australia and Uruguay for lost profits! Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement. The judge is a corporate lawyer and the tribunals often meet in hotels! Corporations can sue states but states cannot sue corporations and the decisions are irrevocable.

Sovereignty is given to corporations and legislators and communities are stripped of power. A “chilling effect” will end labor and environmental regulations. Violea, a French waste disposal company operating in Egypt is suing because of a higher minimum wage. Vattenfall, a Swedish energy conglomerate, is suing Germany for 4 billion euros for closing two decrepit nuclear plants! Some Europeans fear Americanization and privatization of public sector jobs, hospitals, universities, bookstores etc.

TTIP and TPP should be scrapped along with Fast Track! A million jobs were promised with NAFTA and 700,000 jobs were lost. Immigration doubled when US subsidized corn was dumped on Mexico! What a scandal to runaway from the negative effects of NAFTA and confuse night and day! John Hilary of World Against Want wrote a 58-page booklet “TTIP: Deregulation, Attack on Jobs and Destruction of Democracy” that was revised in February 2015.

call Sen Wyden at 503-326-7525

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and John Hilary’s 58 page booklet “TTIP: Deregulation, Attack on Jobs and Destruction of Democracy,” February 2014

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Video: Meltdown: The Secret History of the Global Financial Meltdown, Sept 2011, 42 min

Video: Meltdown: The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse, Sept 2011, 42 min

Doc Zone, a documentary series produced by CBC Television, is now airing, Meltdown, a four part investigation into the great financial debacle of 2008. Along the way, the CBC’s Terence McKenna takes viewers “behind the headlines and into the backrooms at the highest levels of world governments and banking institutions, revealing the astonishing level of backstabbing and tension behind the scenes as the world came dangerously close to another Great Depression.”

Above, we have posted the first episode called “The Men Who Crashed the World.” The remaining programs can be watched by clicking here and scrolling down the page. Or by heading to Al Jazeera’s English site, which also hosts the four-part series. Thanks to William for sending along this film. It’s now added to the Documentary section of our collection of Free Movies Online.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and we’ll keep pointing you to free cultural goodies daily…

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Partially Examined Life – Kierkegaard on the Self, 32 min

A philosophy podcast & blog. Enjoy!

Discussing Soren Kierkegaard’s “The Sickness Unto Death” (1849).

This is a 32-minute preview of our vintage 1 hr, 56-minute episode which you can buy at or get for free with PEL Citizenship (see You can also purchase the full episode in the iTunes Store: Search for “Partially Kierkegaard” and look under “Albums.”

What is the self? For K. we are a tension between opposites: necessity and possibility, the finite and the infinite, soul and body. He thinks we’re all in despair, whether we know it or not, because we wrongly think we’re something we’re not, or we reject what we are, or we just don’t pay attention to this dynamic at all: we just go along with the crowd. So we need to keep self-examining and (he thinks) ultimately embrace our subservience to God.

Joined by guest podcaster/Kiekegaard’s lawyer Daniel Horne, we consider K.’s 3-step self-help program and whether there’s anything to be gotten here if you don’t subscribe to K’s Christianity.

Read the text free online or buy the book.We also devote some discussion to Fear and Trembling.

End song: “John T. Flibber,” from Happy Songs Will Bring You Down by the MayTricks (1994). Get the whole album free.

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard—often considered the first existentialist—was born 200 years ago this past Sunday in Copenhagen. Writing under pseudonyms like Johannes Climacus and Johannes de Silentio, Kierkegaard attacked both the idealism of contemporary philosophers Hegel and Schelling and the bourgeois complacency of European Christendom. A highly skilled rhetorician, Kierkegaard preferred the indirect approach, deploying irony, ridicule, parody and satire in a paradoxical search for individual authenticity within a European culture he saw as beset by self-important puffery and unthinking mass movements.

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700 Free Movies

Without vision, the people perish. The future could be full of community centers, exchanging roles, free Internet books and reduced working hours if we could shift from quantitative to qualitative growth, from building stories on office buildings to telling stories, from being monads living to work to interdependent beings yearning to live.

Neoliberal finance capitalism confuses the goat and the gardener, distorts risk and liability, encourages speculation instead of public investment and threatens language and democracy. The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments (cf. Nicolaus Krowall). The motor, model and myths must be reexamined and the rights of nature and community empowerment championed. Economics is pluralist, not monolithic. Empirical reality and fictional models wrestle as private affluence and public squalor live side-by-side, as John Kenneth Galbraith grieved in the 1970s.

Security, health, strength, happiness and work must be redefined, work must be shared and social security protected by eliminating the $118K cap on social security taxes to reverse the exploding inequality and enable people to feel integrated and participating.

Focusing only on increasing oil production idealizes or transfigures business as usual, sidesteps systemic questions and makes alternatives taboo.

Needs can be satisfied in a non-economic and non-commodified way.
John Maynard Keynes distinguished between absolute needs (e.g. food) and relative needs (e.g. recognition and luxury goods) before he died in 1946. The corporate world, academia and politicians intent on raising funds for the next election trivialized and narrowed Keynes and FDR and now we face an incredulous media and a paralyzed/polarized government ready to send us down the rabbit hole like Alice.

You can watch “The 99% – Occupy Everywhere!,” “Capitalism- a Love Story,” “War Made Easy,” “Iraq for Sale,” “The Flaw” and “We’re Not Broke” as free movies on

Links to 700 free movies and 700 free E-books await you at
(including the 1915 silent movie Alice in Wonderland), concerts by the Grateful Dead and The Clash.

Enjoy the feast! A little time-prosperity amid the neoliberal hocus pocus/ stagnation and paralysis!

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Less Growth and Less Work

Less Growth and Less Work by Mohssen Massarrat

French economist Thomas Piketty described neoliberalism or finance capitalism as an “inequality machine.” Profits soar and investments are postponed. Keynes spoke of three phases: investments, surplus and stagnation. Are economic policy alternatives and trade agreements blacked out from public discussion?

Reduced working hours is the only way to full employment and to gaining work-life balance. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, Einstein said. Eliminating the cap on payroll social security contributions and rescheduling student loans would help reverse exploding inequality and create public spirit, trust between the generations.

Courage is different than cowardice as light differs from darkness and lethargy and paralysis differ from an open dynamic future.

to read “Less Growth and Less Work” published in 2009, click on

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Degrowth – A vocabulary for a new era, 19pp

Growth in the developed economies might be coming to an end. This might be due to diminishing marginal returns (Bonaiuti, 2014), the exhaustion of technological innovations (Gordon 2012) or limits in creating effective demand and investment outlets for capital accumulating at a compound interest rate (Harvey 2010)…

From a degrowth perspective, the current economic crisis is the result of systemic limits to growth. It is not a cyclical crisis or fault in the credit system…

As the late Eric Hobsbawm (2011: 12) put it very late in his long life, ‘there is a patent conflict between the need to reverse or at least to control the impact of our economy on the biosphere and the imperatives of a capitalist market: maximum growth
in search for profit’. Two premises underlie this statement. The first was defended in Section 3.1: economic growth unavoidably increases throughput and negatively impacts the biosphere (against the argument of proponents of green growth or green capitalism that it is possible to both grow and reduce environmental impact). The second is that growth is an imperative under capitalism…

3.2 Degrowth and autonomy
The fact that there are limits and growth is coming to an end is not necessarily bad. For many degrowthers, degrowth is not an adaptation to inevitable limits, but a desirable project to be pursued for its own sake in the search for autonomy

Autonomy was a keyword for thinkers such as Illich, Gorz and Castoriadis, but it meant something slightly different to each. Illich (1973) meant freedom from large techno-infrastructures and the centralized bureaucratic institutions, public or private, that manage them. For Gorz (1982) autonomy is freedom from wage-labour. Autonomous is the sphere of non-paid work where individuals and collectives enjoy leisure and produce for their own use, instead of money. For Castoriadis (1987) instead,
autonomy means the ability of a collective to decide its future in common, freed from external (‘heteronomous’) imperatives and givens, such as the law of God (religion), or the laws of the economy (economics).

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Breaking the Frozen Soul

Here are several thoughts from philosophy and theology when the strong winds shake everything but the Wall Street banks. You can watch “Capitalism: A Love Song,” “We’re Not Broke,” “War Made Easy,” “Iraq for Sale,” “War on Whistleblowers,” “Fish Out of Water,” “The Flaw,” “The 99%,” “Tent City,” “Kennedy Legacy,” “Outfoxed” and “I’m Your Man” on Enjoy the feast!

Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people.

Words can be like spears breaking frozen souls. (Kafka)

Education is the great transformer (John Kenneth Galbraith).

Economics as taught today is like brainwashing. (Ulrich Thielemann)

Incentives to investing in the real economy are vital after the phase of credit- and bubble prosperity, after the expansion of the financial sector and the repression of alternatives and economic ethics. Economic ethics cannot be reduced to business ethics since that would be ideology. (Ulrich Thielemann)

The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments. (Nicolaus Kowall)

You can make fish soup out of an aquarium but can’t make an aquarium out of fish soup. (Polish proverb)

The person who says it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt the person already doing it. {Chinese proverb)

The swan that floats and doesn’t sink represents the in transitory in the transitory. (Heidegger)

The snow gives way to the spring as the old gives way to the new. (Rilke)

Prejudice can be overcome as a stepping stone on the way to the event of understanding, the fusion of horizons. (Hans George Gadamer)

The penultimate depends on the ultimate. (Bonhoeffer)

Human community draws its breath from God’s community. Hope sets us apart from all creation. We can go beyond everything past and present in the power of the coming, the power of the promise. (Jurgen Moltmann)

God did not create the world finished like a think that is forever the same. (Dorothee Soelle)

The language of proclamation runs crossways to the language of time. (Bonhoeffer)

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