Indeed---these several years of OBAMA and Clinton neo-liberal control of Congress has broken down all structures connected to careers, professional categories of pay----it created part-time and temporary-----free labor tracking ----and this indeed moved the US to having labor lower than any other industrialized nation. CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA-----killing our #1 ranked quality of life and income----taking us to third world status.
When WORLD BANK AND WORLD HEALTH say its priorities are ENVIRONMENTAL health----while these GLOBAL NGOs are filled with global 1% and their 2% expanding Foreign Economic Zone global factories everyone know kills public health and the environment----that calls for a category of what far-right wing global 1% Wall Street calls POSING ENVIRONMENTAL GREEN-----that GLOBAL GREEN CORPORATION AND ITS GLOBAL GREEN CORPORATION PARTY. There is no intentions of being green----of protecting public health----of protecting the environment in this REINDUSTRIALIZATION of America. It will be far worse than it was a century ago----and today we have no social protections---they were dismantled by CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA.
DO NOT BELIEVE ANY OF THIS ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE POSING-----THERE IS NO INTENTIONS OF PROTECTING PEOPLE OR ENVIRONMENT.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Baltimore under an Obama and a Mayor Rawlings-Blake is now known nationally for being almost totally FREE LABOR.
Reindustrialization: Reshoring Jobs To The U.S.
Mon, 06/30/2014 - 7:47am
by Dan North, Chief Economist, Euler Hermes
For many years and even decades, the U.S. manufacturing sector has cued thoughts of economic decline, heavy job cuts, dark “Dickensian” facilities and a hopeless outlook in collective minds. But in recent years, the foundation has been developed for the industrial landscape to improve, and a handful of buoyant factors have accomplished what had been inconceivable for many years: restored faith in manufacturing.
The U.S. has among the lowest labor costs in the industrialized world and is awash in cheap energy, making it attractive for businesses to reshore by bringing their operations back to the U.S.
Businesses are expected to invest $500 billion in U.S. manufacturing in 2014, and a recent survey indicated that 54 percent of executives are planning to reshore or are seriously considering it.
While unit labor costs for all industries have risen 2.3 percent since the recession, unit labor costs for manufacturing have actually fallen 6.2 percent.
CHINESE WAGE DATA HAS BEEN PROVEN OVER AND AGAIN TO BE BOGUS-----WAGES ARE NEAR STILL AT A $1-3 A DAY LEVEL.
In addition, in 2006 China held a $17.10 unit labor cost (calculated as a proxy, Effective Wage) advantage over the U.S. Since U.S. wages have grown even more slowly than anticipated, expectations are that the Chinese advantage will shrink to $9.20 in 2014 and $6.90 in 2015. This huge competitive advantage arises from the fact that U.S. productivity has grown sharply while real wages have hardly changed at all.
The second leg of the manufacturing reindustrialization is cheap U.S. energy. Natural gas prices have continued their divergence from prices in other industrialized nations, although there have been temporary spikes due to the unusually cold U.S. winter.
FRACKING AS PUBLIC HEALTH?????
Looking forward, natural gas prices are likely to experience downward pressure due to continued increases in production, providing a significant boost to the U.S. and an incentive to companies to re-shore their operations.
The last major piece of the manufacturing renaissance is currently falling into place: employment. Total manufacturing employment has grown for the last nine consecutive months, more than erasing job losses suffered from April to July 2013. While the overall U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 6.3 percent, it has plunged to 5.2 percent within the manufacturing industry, well below the rate of 7.9 percent recorded at the beginning of 2013 and the 2000-2009 average of 6.6 percent.
Strong Manufacturing Output
As a result of continued favorable labor and energy trends, other measures of manufacturing output are showing rebounding strength from a soft patch in 2013. For instance manufacturing industrial production has risen in seven of the past nine months.
Furthermore, expectations are that the auto sector, driven by the age of the auto fleet which is a record high 11.4 years, will continue its strong performance with sales growing 4 percent in 2014. Chemical production is expected to rebound from weakness early in 2013 to grow 3 percent in 2014, driven by the low cost of natural gas which is used as a feedstock.
Measures which are more forward-looking are also showing strength. Manufacturers’ new orders for durable goods rose at a very strong 5.9 percent rate over the past 12 months, well above the long-term average of 3.4 percent, something that bodes well for durables going forward. Total manufacturing was dragged down a bit by non-durables but still remained moderate at 2.9 percent.
The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) surveys, which can lead actual performance, indicate that the manufacturing sector expanded in May for the 12th consecutive month. While total manufacturing and the new orders subcomponent both fell with the severe winter weather in January, the May survey registered at 55.4 percent, well above the threshold of 50 needed for growth.
The Next Steps for Reindustrialization
While a firming economy has caused the Federal Reserve to start tapering its quantitative easing (QE) program, it is likely to only have limited effects on the manufacturing resurgence. Monetary policy will remain very loose and is expected to contribute to growth in manufacturing, along with other sectors. In addition, as QE tapering drives up the spread between long-term and short-term rates, credit conditions may ease, further boosting the industry.
On the downside, QE tapering has driven up interest rates, which has in turn temporarily slowed the housing recovery. A strengthening dollar can also make exports more expensive. Lowering and flattening rates, reducing deductions and switching to a territorial tax system – which only taxes profits where they are made – could unleash that cash for productive manufacturing investment.
That point notwithstanding, low unit labor costs and cheap energy have boosted manufacturing output and employment, and are expected to continue doing so for years, reshoring jobs back to the United States.
GLOBAL LABOR POOL ARE GETTING MOST OF NEW EMPLOYMENT CREATED BY ANY GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Every city in US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones are seeing their city water and waste tied to global corporations like VEOLA ENVIRONMENT. VEOLA is known globally for fraud, profiteering, shoddy work, and for having a goal of containing control of all fresh water to the global 1%. We have known this these few decades of global corporate takeover of sovereign water in developing nations tied to Foreign Economic Zones. In every case citizens see water and waste service rates soar-----be made tiered in who, where, when people receive services----and it is the WORLD BANK AND WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION tied to installing these global corporations.
As in Baltimore, only the global corporate campuses will see upgraded infrastructure and it will be totally tied to those global corporations -----this is why Baltimore citizens have these few decades endured lead-tainted water---breaking pipelines----waste overflows. The MASTER PLAN FOR GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUSES AND GLOBAL FACTORIES will be the only sites seeing CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION.
THE WORLD BANK AND WORLD HEALTH PRETENDING TO BE INTERESTED IN CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION ARE SIMPLY SETTING STAGE FOR FUNDING THE BUILDING OF INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS THROUGH GLOBAL VEOLA ENVIRONMENT AS IN BALTIMORE TODAY.
All of Congressional infrastructure funding these coming years will be tied to a global corporation building water and sanitation for only global corporate campuses.
'The U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council puts the figure somewhere between $2.5 and $4.3 trillion for water and wastewater over the next 20 years (2009-2028)'.
Every MAYOR of a US city deemed Foreign Economic Zone was INSTALLED because they are ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE MOVING FORWARD -----as PUGH in Baltimore. The US Conference of Mayors are already tying those CITY STATE water and waste to global corporations. Remember, US city residents over decades have already paid to rebuild our water and sewage-----NO NEED TO PAY MORE-----we go to the global corporate campus expanded by misappropriate city funds----LIKE JOHNS HOPKINS and say-------
WE NEED A FEW BILLION FROM YOUR ENDOWMENT TO REBUILD OUR BALTIMORE CITY WATER AND WASTE INFRASTRUCTURE---THANK YOU.
If we don't go to the corporations which looted our governments and people's pockets for all these infrastructure developments-----WE THE PEOPLE will own and control none of these vital resources and will be used as an ATM FOR PROFITEERING----we already know that.
Show Me the Money: Options for Meeting Water Infrastructure Funding Needs
By Angela Godwin
Chief Editor, Domestic Water Group
The pitiful state of water and wastewater infrastructure is much lamented and little debated. It's clear that our hundred-year old distribution and collection system networks are reaching the end of their service life and relatively simultaneously. Over the next 25 years, the American Water Works Association predicts we'll need to spend over $1 trillion to modernize, repair, and expand our infrastructure. And that's just drinking water.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council puts the figure somewhere between $2.5 and $4.3 trillion for water and wastewater over the next 20 years (2009-2028).
In addition to that, environmental regulations continue to tighten. In just the past few months, several cities have been put under new Consent Decrees, including Boston, Chattanooga, and Memphis, to name a few. Those cities will need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to bring their wastewater and stormwater systems into compliance with Clean Water Act regulations.
There's been a lot of discussion in recent months about the presence of prefluorinated compounds in certain water supplies across the country. Communities, such as Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and Merrimack, N.H., are trying to understand the impacts of these compounds and how to best eliminate them from their water supplies. Evoqua's John Lombardo weighs in on some of the preferred technologies for treating these emerging contaminants.
Brought To You By Traditional funding mechanisms, such as federal loans and grants, and state revolving funds, while still available at the moment, have suffered debilitating blows from federal budget cuts. In July, the House Appropriations Committee approved a FY2013 spending bill that saw EPA's funding cut 17% compared to FY2012. In that bill, $689 million was allocated for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (compared to $1.4 billion in FY2012) and $829 million was allocated for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (compared to $917 million in FY2012).
According to WWEMA, the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, the bond market still holds some hope. Although bond issuance decreased 31% in 2011 compared to 2010, already in the first half of 2012, some $220 billion in municipal bonds were issued. That represents a 56% increase over the same period in 2011.
The bottom line is that there are some expensive repairs coming due and we are going to have to get a little creative about paying for them.
Over the past few years, a few interesting water and wastewater funding strategies have been percolating. One is the idea of a federal trust fund for water infrastructure, similar to what already exists for transportation. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been a champion of this particular strategy and in August introduced the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act of 2012 (HR 6249). At its core, it's a re-introduction of his earlier, unsuccessful trust fund attempt in 2009, only this time with a concerted focus on wastewater.
Essentially it levies a tax at the manufacturer level on products that use a significant amount of water or contribute to water pollution, things like toothpaste, toilet paper, pesticides, and bottled beverages (excluding alcohol). Supporters of the trust fund like that it could funnel anywhere from $6.5 to $10 billion into wastewater infrastructure projects — with about a third of the money earmarked for utilities serving more than 100,000 people. Groups such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Associated General Contractors of America, and the American Public Works Association have voiced fervent support for it.
But a few groups, including the American Water Works Association, say not so fast. They rather prefer a scenario where funds are raised and spent locally. A federal trust fund, they say, penalizes communities that have been able to establish an adequate rate structure by forcing them to subsidize communities that haven't.
"People don't want to feel like they're paying a tax when their local jurisdiction isn't getting any benefit — it's all going to someone else," said Greg Baird, managing director and chief financial officer of AWI Consulting LLC. "No one really likes that."
"This is a local issue and you really need to be able to take care of those things at a local level best you can," said Baird.
An alternative strategy, strongly advocated by AWWA, is the Water Infrastructure Finance Innovations Authority, or WIFIA. Modeled after a similar, successful mechanism in the transportation sector, WIFIA would basically lower the cost of capital for water utilities while having little or no effect on the federal budget deficit. It would access funds from the Treasury — at Treasury rates — and use them to support water infrastructure projects. The loans would be paid back to the Authority — and then to the Treasury — with interest.
"Only about 27 states are capitalizing their state revolving funds and this offers the ability for more states to be able to do that to leverage any dollars that they have on a wider scale," said Baird.
"It also enables cities that have some very large projects to go through the program and at a lower capital cost," he said. "So the dollars are actually going to the people who are deciding, rolling up their sleeves and saying, 'We have an issue with water quality and now we're going to figure out how to fix it and maintain some level of affordability.'
In late August, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley announced his intention to introduce WIFIA legislation when Congress returns in September. Some sources say Merkley's bill is based on Representative Bob Gibbs's draft WIFIA legislation that was circulating last spring. There is also speculation that it could have additional provisions for promoting green infrastructure. This is pure conjecture, however, as a copy of the legislation has not yet been released (at the time of this publishing).
The other beacon of hope was the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act introduced in 2010. This legislation would have removed the cap on private activity bonds, potentially freeing up billions of dollars in private capital. It was referred to committee in May 2011 and hasn't seen light of day since.
Each of these strategies has its benefits and drawbacks — but one thing they all share is that they don't yet exist.
One alternative financing method, however, is very real and growing in popularity in the U.S.: Public-Private Partnerships.
"A PPP is the use of private investment for public infrastructure projects based on a number of terms and conditions for how they will make their money," explained Terry Bennett, a strategist for civil engineering and planning at Autodesk.
There are a number of project delivery options nowadays that range from traditional design-bid-build up through more integrated project delivery approaches. "We're starting to see these in water where you have the ability to link planners, designers, contractors, and owners together under single party agreements," said Bennett. The latest evolution of that integrated delivery, he said, is where public-private partnerships come in, where the rights to operate that infrastructure for a period of time are passed to a private entity and then turned back over to the public utility at the end of the contract term.
PPP's are nothing new — they've been around for 200 years here in the U.S. But unlike in the rest of the world, they've been slow to penetrate the North American water and wastewater market, in some respects due to some very high-profile failures.
Stockton, CA, is one such failure. In 2003, the city entered into a $600 million contract with OMI-Thames Water to operate and maintain its water, wastewater and stormwater utilities for a period of 20 years. It was the largest PPP of its kind in the western U.S.
The vote to approve the contract was split 3-3 with the deciding vote being cast by then-Mayor Gary Podesto, one of the deal's biggest supporters. The curious thing was that the contract was signed just a couple of weeks before voters approved a measure that would have required a public vote on it. So, from the very beginning, the deal had left a bitter taste in voters' mouths.
A litany of litigation followed and in 2007, just four years into the 20-year contract, the city voted unanimously to terminate the deal. In its wake were left rate hikes, budget cuts, sewage overflows and a constituency that felt alienated.
For every PPP failure, however, there are dozens of partnerships that are thriving. In New Orleans, a partnership between the Sewerage and Water Board and Veolia Water North America restored the wastewater facilities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina through implementation of the private sector's emergency preparedness plan and substantial community participation.
In California, a partnership between the City of Santa Paula, Alinda Capital and PERC Water provided for the replacement of an outdated wastewater facility with a plant that exceeds discharge standards. It was developed under a design-build contract, financed and operated by the private partners.
Given the state of our water infrastructure and thinness of our wallets, a public-private partnership most certainly needs to be one of the project delivery methods under consideration by cities contemplating a major water or wastewater infrastructure project.
"Regulatory mandates that have a timeline, coupled with lack of funding, creates a dynamic where the only place municipalities can get the money is to go external," said Bennett. "That's going to accelerate the project pool, and it's going to make PPP's a lot more attractive for these large scale projects that need to get done before regulations kick in — and the ensuing fines that may come with them."
Considering some of the examples of PPP's-Gone-Wild, utility owners and local governments are understandably skittish about relinquishing control of a public asset to a private entity, even temporarily. But that doesn't mean it can't be done right, fairly, and to the benefit of all involved.
There are myriad ways to structure a public-private partnership depending on the type of project being planned. "Some of those [types of partnerships] will apply to existing facilities, some to new facilities, and then a hybrid mix," said Baird.
Regardless, the key to ensuring success, Bennett said, is education. "If you do it right, you do a thorough evaluation of what your goals and objectives are," he said. It's important to focus on the water governance and really leverage the best practices of not only the financial mechanism but also the construction mechanism to actually build it and the design mechanism to use the latest technologies so that you can validate what you're trying to do. "You do this so that it's a wise and clear investment so that people aren't surprised," he said. "At the end of the day, if you're surprised at what's coming, that's bad in infrastructure design and construction — no matter how you do it."
Another important piece of advice: Don't go it alone. "If the community or public agency executing the PPP does not have an experienced and dedicated PPP office set up, then they absolutely need to bring in that expertise to guide them."
Baird agreed. The utility needs to carefully plot its course, understand what all the risks are, understand what the various option are, he said. "And it's interesting because a lot of times internally, they may not know all the steps to take it on by themselves and, to me, that's a tell tale sign that they need to partner up with some additional expertise to be able to continue on with that process."
"In all cases, the appropriate delivery strategy and how you finance it are really going to depend on the individual circumstances," said Bennett.
Ultimately, however, responsibility is really on the local level, said Baird. "They can look at and try a lot of different options including PPP's, consolidation, and regionalization." If a utility insists on retaining all of the control and all of the ownership, they also end up with all of the risk. "And that may not necessarily be the best thing long-term for that local community."
7 Keys to Successful PPPs
1. Public Sector Champion: Well-informed champions can play a critical role in minimizing misperceptions about the value to the public of an effectively developed PPP.
2. Statutory Environment: There should be a statutory foundation for the implementation of each partnership. Transparency and a competitive proposal process should be delineated in this statute.
3. Public Sector's Organized Structure: The public sector should have a dedicated team for PPP projects or programs. This unit should be involved from conceptualization to negotiation, through final monitoring of the execution of the partnership.
4. Detailed Contract (Business Plan): A PPP is a contractual relationship between the public and private sectors for the execution of a project or service. This contract should include a detailed description of the responsibilities, risks and benefits of both the public and private partners.
5. Clearly Defined Revenue Stream: While the private partner may provide a portion or all of the funding for capital improvements, there must be an identifiable revenue stream sufficient to retire this investment and provide an acceptable rate of return over the term of the partnership.
6. Stakeholder Support: More people will be affected by a partnership than just the public officials and the private sector partner. Affected employees, the portions of the public receiving the service, the press, appropriate labor unions and relevant interest groups will all have opinions, and may have misconceptions about a partnership and its value to all the public. It is important to communicate openly and candidly with these stakeholders to minimize potential resistance to establishing a partnership.
7. Pick Your Partner Carefully: The "best value" (not always lowest price) in a partnership is critical in maintaining the long-term relationship that is central to a successful partnership. A candidate's experience in the specific area of partnerships being considered is an important factor in identifying the right partner. Equally, the financial capacity of the private partner should be considered in the final selection process.
*Excerpted from "How PPPs Work," The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, www.ncppp.org.
I am ever suspect of NGOs fighting for the 99% even when these issues are in fact where these fights need to be----again, please know the global Wall Street players are always sent in to lead what are real 99% social issues. They are the ones who always make sure REAL ISSUES are never addressed----the MASTER PLAN MOVES FORWARD because captured leaders never talk about the MASTER PLAN GOALS.
Here we see for California----indeed captured longest by Foreign Economic Zone policies----where global Wall Street pols could care less about the need for fresh water and sanitation for 99% of WE THE PEOPLE.
'To summarize, the Water Fix is the most damaging and controversial water project proposal in California history. It is the most expensive water project proposal in California history. The 1970’s version of the Water Tunnels, then known as the peripheral canal, was voted down in a statewide referendum in June 1982 by a 2 to 1 margin'.
The WORLD BANK AND WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION calling for CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION will send all global funding to MOVE FORWARD these projects groups like this fighting for the 99% are trying to stop. Congressional pols will tout WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION'S push for CLEAN WATER to send US infrastructure funding to these same global corporate structures.
Notice it says the 1970s version of this plan was voted DOWN---well, in the 1970s WE THE PEOPLE had control of our local and state governments.
The Big Lie: There is No Plan B to the Delta Tunnels
Restore the Delta June 28, 2016
Yesterday, Restore the Delta, AquAlliance, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Planning and Conservation League, and Sierra Club California submitted a letter to the Santa Clara Valley Water District regarding better plans for the Delta:
Our public interest organizations write out of concern that once again, the Big Lie has been repeated that there is no Plan B to the California Water Fix Delta Water Tunnels. In fact, there is an outstanding Plan B, and for that matter, other alternative Plans as well to the Water Tunnels. The self-serving refusal of the proponents of the Water Tunnels to listen to or consider alternative Plans does not mean there is no Plan B. We presume that in many cases such as at your meeting on June 21, 2016, when Mr. Matt Maltbie of Californians for Water Security said there is no Plan B, the mistake is innocent and is caused by the continuing efforts of proponent government agencies to ignore and conceal alternatives to the Water Tunnels.
To summarize, the Water Fix is the most damaging and controversial water project proposal in California history. It is the most expensive water project proposal in California history. The 1970’s version of the Water Tunnels, then known as the peripheral canal, was voted down in a statewide referendum in June 1982 by a 2 to 1 margin.
The Tunnels would divert enormous quantities of water from the Sacramento River upstream from the Delta near Clarksburg. As a result of this massive diversion, the freshwater that presently flows through the Sacramento River and sloughs to and through the Bay-Delta before being diverted for export at the south Delta, would no longer reach the Delta. The benefits of those freshwater flows for Delta water flows and water quality, agriculture, industry, residents, and fish and fish habitat would be lost, with the impacts to humans falling particularly heavily on low-income people of color and California Indian Tribes.
We presented A Sustainable Water Plan for California (Environmental Water Caucus, May 2015) as a reasonable alternative to the Water Tunnels over a year ago. The plan is at: http://ewccalifornia.org/reports/ewcwaterplan9-1-2015.pdf. A copy of A Sustainable Water Plan for California is also attached hereto. The actions called for by this alternative include: reducing exports to no more than 3,000,000 acre-feet in all years in keeping with State Water Board Delta flow criteria (for inflow as well as outflow); water efficiency and demand reduction programs including urban and agricultural water conservation, recycling, storm water recapture and reuse; reinforced levees above PL 84-99 standards; installation of improved fish screens at existing Delta pumps; elimination of irrigation water applied on up to 1.3 million acres of drainage-impaired farmlands south of the Bay-Delta; return the Kern Water Bank to State control; restore Article 18 urban preference; restore the original intent of Article 21 surplus water in SWP contracts; conduct feasibility study for Tulare Basin water storage; provide fish passage above and below Central Valley rim dams for species of concern; and retain cold water for fish in reservoirs. We also requested that the range of reasonable alternatives include reducing exports both more and less than the 3,000,000 acre feet limit called for by this alternative.
A Sustainable Water Plan for California is a carefully conceived modern, 21st-century Plan B. It should be Plan A.
Continue reading the full letter here.
Make a mid year donation to our organization. 2016 is shaping up, unfortunately, to be a tough year for the Delta. Restore the Delta is the only Delta public interest organization that will be representing all the beneficial uses of water with the State Water Resources Control Board to stop the tunnels permitting process. That means that with our membership partners we are representing the water needs of everyone in the Bay-Delta region: from growers to farm workers; from urban businesses to in-Delta businesses; from Delta drinking water users to lovers of the San Francisco Bay; from boaters to recreational fishermen; from wealthy landowners to members of the environmental justice community; from Sandhill cranes to Delta smelt. We believe that our case, the statistical and narrative facts of the millions of people tied to the estuary, in addition to necessity for species protections, will be the most compelling factual stories made to the State Water Resources Control Board. Right now, 2016 is shaping up to be a tough year and we need additional funding. Donate today.
Can you imagine the WORLD BANK AND WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION WORKING THESE DECADES TO BUILD FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES AND SLAVE TRADING SYSTEMS ARE BOLD ENOUGH TO SAY THEY PROMOTE INEQUITIES? PRAGMATIC NILISM----
Reduced inequities has that goal of bringing developed nations' citizens down to third world wage and living conditions. That is what global Wall Street sees as EQUITY. They do that by increasing inequity by sending all developed nations's wealth to the same global 1% and their 2%.
'The North American Water and Power Alliance was an audacious proposal to divert water to parched western states that would have cost hundreds of billions of dollars and pissed off Canada. But what if it had worked'?
This is indeed what is happening as Alaska is also selling its fresh water we already know this will degrade yet more ecosystems. Our northern regions are the only resources left not compromised or diminished. Here we see a Canadian citizen thinking rightly the US will seize the water----THINK THAT IS WHAT CAEXIT BRINGING WESTERN STATES INTO CANADA IS ABOUT? That movement is of course global Wall Street knowing US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones and re-industrialization is going to take tons of fresh water we do not have.
So, the REAL public health stance on water and sanitation is STOP EXPANDING FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES AND CURB RE-INDUSTRIALIZATION.
Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
Honestly folks---it took global Wall Street ONE CENTURY to kill much of America's natural resources-----if we allow these policies to MOVE FORWARD----our northern resources will be gone in that same time frame.
Hmmmmmm....does any of this reduce INEQUITIES? WORLD BANK AND WORLD HEALTH SAYS
Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
Will Canada export its fresh water or will the US just take it?
Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter)
Science / Clean Water
September 21, 2015
Public Domain GRAND Canal via WikipediaOver on Buzzfeed, Michelle Nijhuis titles a post
The Forgotten Project That Could Have Saved America From Drought.
She describes the huge international plumbing job in the subhead:
The North American Water and Power Alliance was an audacious proposal to divert water to parched western states that would have cost hundreds of billions of dollars and pissed off Canada. But what if it had worked?
It indeed was audacious, and has not been forgotten; I wondered about it last year in Will the next war with Canada be a fight over water? and others south of the border haven't forgotten it either:
"For those of us who work in the water world, NAWAPA is a constant presence,” says Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. “It’s the most grandiose water-engineering project ever conceived for North America. It’s both a monument to the ingenuity of America and a monument to the folly of the 20th century. In a sense, we measure all other ideas against it."
There was one major problem, as Chris Mims notes in a tweet:
The Canadian Ambassador to the US, Gary Doer, thinks it is a much bigger issue than, say, the Keystone Pipeline.
We’re blessed with a lot of water, but we cannot take it for granted. We have to manage it more effectively and that means waterflows south to north and north to south … There will be pressure on water quality and water quantity. I think it will make a debate about going from 85 to 86 pipelines look silly.
And not everyone in Canada is against shipping water south; In the Globe and Mail, Barrie McKenna reminds us that Tom Mulcair, now leader of the NDP with a real shot at being Canada's Prime Minister, once thought it made a lot of sense. Back when he was Environment Minister for the Province of Quebec, which drains billions of gallons of water uselessly into Hudson's Bay, noted:
“[If] I can export, and I’m capable of ensuring the sustainability of the resource, and it could bring something to the region, why wouldn’t I do it?” Mr. Mulcair told Quebec’s National Assembly. “This is a renewable natural resource, unlike a mine. … If we manage it properly, if we take care of it as we should, why can’t we even talk about it?”
IS IT REALLY A RENEWABLE RESOURCE GIVEN CLIMATE CHANGE?
GRAND Canal via Wikipedia/Public Domain
Mulcair has evidently changed his mind, but others have not. And in fact, the NAWAPA proposal was not the only one on the table in the sixties; there was also the GRAND canal, where a big dam would be built across the top of James Bay, and all water that flowed into it from Quebec and Ontario would then be diverted south and dumping 2.5 times the volume of Niagara Falls into into the Great Lakes, which could then be shipped south. McKenna quotes a professor of environmental law, who, being located in Arizona, thinks it's all a fine idea.
Canada should arguably treat water the same way it treats oil or gold – a valuable commodity on the international market with benefits from exportation outweighing the costs of depletion...Allowing the world to access Canada’s vast water supplies in a way that is sustainable, responsible and even profitable for Canada may be part of solving the global water crisis.
To be truthful he should be noting that it is a California and Arizona crisis, not a global one. And the United States also already gets a lot of Canadian water that it could divert if it wanted to, according to a commenter at the Globe:
The bottom line is that for bulk water exports to be significant, we would have to export a river, and a big one. In fact, we already do. Several thousand cubic metres per second of water crosses the US border in the Columbia River. It is worth noting that the discharge of the Columbia River at its mouth is more than double the total water consumption of California. The Americans don't need more Canadian water to alleviate their drought; they are already getting plenty.
Canada has a lot of water, much of it just draining away to the north. Nobody knows whether the Americans will come and take it or the Canadians will sell it, but something is going to happen, whether we like it or not.
One area of public health touted by WORLD BANK WORLD HEALTH that is reasonable for 99% is responsible consumption. That does not mean a pendulum swings and 99% of global people are enslaved with no money to afford consumption outside of what it takes to live and work----which is the goal of these global 1% RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION policies. Living simply and consuming less does take less income----but free will, free choice, independent living requires the 99% have income above the extremes of simply STAYING ALIVE.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
When global Wall Street uses the term CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY it includes the movement towards manufacturing for only a global 1% and their 2%.....this is the DESIGNER MANUFACTURING we have discussed earlier. If only the global 1% and their 2% are going to have money then all manufacturing becomes designer and PRICES ARE VERY, VERY, VERY HIGH. When people not believing we will not access ordinary health care say---HOW WILL CORPORATIONS EARN A PROFIT----think about the goals of ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE----with a global 1% having all the money and wealth in the world---they are not worried about earning future profits---they are simply organizing a livable environment for THEMSELVES.
There is indeed only so much a global 1% can consume so they will fight to create the products a global 1% will pay the most to purchase. Meanwhile a global 99% consumption will be that needed to stay alive and work.
The REAL responsible consumption and production policy is to NOT KEEP BUILDING FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES WITH GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUSES AND GLOBAL FACTORIES. There is nothing responsible or sustainable in these global Wall Street economic policies.
The SMART CAR was never responsible consumption---it was yet another product to promote as left green. What is responsible consumption is PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION which is being privatized away as fast as global Wall Street players can.
This Just In: “Responsible Consumption” is Bogus
Lauren KirchnerSeptember 03, 2014
Photo by Sarah Larson
“Are environmental and social problems such as global warming and poverty the result of inadequate governmental regulations or does the burden fall on our failure as consumers to make better consumption choices?” Thus begins a very earnest press release about a study forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research next month.
In their pursuit of the answer to this question, Canadian business-school professors Markus Giesler and Ela Veresiu analyzed the “influence of economic elites on the creation of four types of responsible consumers: the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumer, the green consumer, the health-conscious consumer, and the financially literate consumer.” (Which one are you? / Collect all four!)
The authors found that corporate lobbyists and leaders spend a lot of time and money on encouraging individual consumer “choice” while simultaneously discouraging policy changes or government regulations. When environmental or social problems enter a discussion, such as at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “the economic elite” can usually succeed in shifting responsibility away from themselves, and away from the state, and onto consumers.
This same “elite” then creates a market to sell those more-responsible solutions for a profit, and make consumers feel special and smart for doing so. (Air pollution and energy crisis and global poverty got you down? Here, you’ll feel better when you buy these hybrid cars and long-lasting light bulbs and stop eating meat and wear buy-one-give-one shoes.)
Giesler and Veresiu write:
While the responsible consumption myth offers a powerful vision of a better world through identity-based consumption, upon closer inspection, this logic harbors significant personal and societal costs. The responsible consumption myth promotes the idea that governments can never achieve harmony between competing economic and social or environmental goals and that this instead requires a global community of morally enlightened consumers who are empowered to make a difference through the marketplace.
Every day we’re told that we can not only rebel against the mainstream forces of conformity by buying stuff, and define and refine our individual identities by buying stuff, but that we can save the environment and end global poverty by buying stuff, too. But this empowered, feel-good marketplace only serves to enrich the corporate interests that invented it in the first place. Maybe instead of voting with our wallets, we should, you know, vote with our votes.
The Democratic base of labor and justice have these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA allowed far-right wing global 1% Wall Street pols take EVERY LEFT LABOR AND JUSTICE POLICY ISSUE and PRETEND to be helping with the goal of dismantling everything that actually does help and protect labor and justice....that is what CLINTON/OBAMA has done to WE THE PEOPLE. They have always had the goal of bringing the US and Americans to a colonial status operating as a third world entity. We must stop allowing them to throw our left social progressive terms around-----CO-OPTING THE LEFT----those thinking the left is only about social programs are not understanding left policies kept extreme wealth extreme poverty global monopoly stagnating economies open fraud and corruption from a rich class thinking it is above the law. Left social democracy simply fights to see citizens' taxes are used for their benefit-----to see workers can gain wealth, have a stable job, and are protected from abuse. THAT'S IT----THAT IS THE 99% PUBLIC POLICY.
We had to listen to OBAMA and global Wall STreet players PRETENDING yet again they were fighting to keep PUBLIC HEALTH ----TO PROTECT OUR MEDICARE---when the goal all along was dismantling, deregulating, eliminating access to ordinary health care for 99% of US citizens.
It was never simply a Lieberman---none of those global Wall Street players were going to protect US public health---Obama and Clinton neo-liberals spent these several years breaking down all Federal public health structures---used the excuse of private state health systems as a MANDATED INSURANCE----when the goal was to have 99% of citizens NOT ACCESSING HEALTH CARE----only accessing what will be that ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE WORLD HEALTH PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE ALL FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES WILL INSTALL.
Please stop allowing a Clinton/Obama neo-liberal pretend they are any different than a Bush/Trump ----THEY ARE MOVING FORWARD THESE SAME POLICIES.
Elimination of 'public option' threw consumers to the insurance wolves
Commentary: big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman
By Wendell Potter
5:00 am, February 16, 2015 Updated: 5:00 am, February
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., gestures with his fist during a news conference at the state capitol in Hartford, Conn., in December, 2012.
When members of Congress caved to demands from the insurance industry and ditched their plan to establish a “public option” health plan, the lawmakers also ditched one of their favorite talking points, that a government-run plan was necessary to “keep insurers honest.”
Getting rid of a government-run insurance option was the industry’s top objective during the health care reform debate. Private insurers set out to persuade President Obama and Congressional leaders that they were trustworthy. Lawmakers were led to believe, for one thing, that insurers could be trusted to offer policies that would continue to give Americans’ access to the doctors they had developed relationships with and wanted to keep. And they were persuaded that insurers wouldn’t think of engaging in bait-and-switch tactics that would leave folks with less coverage than they thought they were buying.
When he was running for president, Obama regularly talked about the need for a public option. That was one reason why many health care reform advocates supported him instead of Hillary Clinton.
He kept insisting on a public option for months after he was elected. He said on July 18, 2009, “Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange—a one-stop-shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, costs and track records of a variety of plans, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest...”
Soon after that, though, he began to waffle. It became clear to me as well as public option supporters in Congress that industry lobbyists had gotten to him. In an effort to keep the public option idea alive, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited me to testify during a Sept. 16, 2009, meeting of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee Forum on Health Insurance Reform.
Knowing the industry as I did, I told the committee that if Congress failed to create a public option to compete with private insurers, “the bill it sends to the President might as well be called “The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.” Pelosi insisted that Congress had no intention of doing that.
FOR THOSE NOT KNOWING PELOSI SHE IS BALTIMORE AND RAGING GLOBAL WALL STREET SO SHE NEVER SUPPORTED A PUBLIC OPTION----
While Pelosi was able to get a bill through the House with a public option provision, she couldn’t control what was happening in the Senate. Although a majority of Senate Democrats supported the public option, the industry knew it only needed one senator who caucused with the Dems to change his mind and kill it.
A senator from Connecticut, the insurance capital of the world, became the industry’s go-to guy. Insurers had spent years investing in Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat-turned-Independent. During the reform debate, the watchdog group Public Campaign Action Fund, (now called EveryVoice), called Lieberman an “insurance puppet,” noting that insurers had contributed nearly half a million dollars to his campaigns over the years.
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The Democrats needed Lieberman’s vote to get reform passed, and insurers knew it. Shortly before the Senate was set to vote on the bill, Lieberman said he would vote for the bill only if the public option was stripped out.
Lieberman accused public option supporters of having an ulterior motive.
“A public option plan is unnecessary,” he told Fox News. “It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance.”
In retrospect, the half a million dollars in campaign contributions might have been the best money the industry ever spent. That’s because the Affordable Care Act, for all the good it has done to expand access to health care, has, as I predicted, protected and enhanced the profits of health insurance companies. As I pointed out last month, health insurers have seen their stock prices double, and in many cases triple, since Obama signed the ACA into law five years ago.
And how trustworthy have those companies been? Not very, in many cases.
Millions of Americans who have signed up for coverage on the Obamacare exchanges are finding out that they will not get any coverage if they continue going to the doctors they’ve been going to for years.
Nowhere is this more of a problem than in New York State. A friend who recently lost both his job and employer-sponsored coverage told me earlier this month that not only were the physician networks of all the New York exchange plans skimpy, not a single exchange plan offered any coverage for out-of-network care. If he and his wife continued to go to their primary care doctors and specialists, and if they continued to take their kids to their pediatricians, they would have to pay for everything out of their own pockets.
On the other side of the country, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones last month issued an emergency regulation after getting a flood of calls from folks who said health insurers had duped them.
"Californians and California businesses deserve better than what they have gotten from most health insurers and HMOs,” Jones said at the time. “Health insurers' medical provider directories have been inaccurate, misleading consumers into signing up with a health insurer for access to a doctor, specialist, or hospital only to learn that these medical providers are not actually a part of the health insurer's network.”
The problems people are facing are not limited to New York and California, as Elizabeth Rosenthal reported last week in a New York Times article headlined, “Insured, but Not Covered.”
Would a public option have kept insurers more honest? Thanks to Big Money from Big Insurance—and Joe Lieberman—we’ll never know.
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Citizens of Western nations from the Americas, to Europe and UK-----have a DIFFERENT HISTORY OF PUBLIC JUSTICE AND CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS than developing nations in Asia and Africa. We have centuries of law and constitutions that progressively created courts and justice structures to protect WE THE PEOPLE. The Magna Carta was just that start----moving away from only the rich---or royalty protected by law. Developing nations are locked into that old world structure no matter how many laws Foreign Economic Zone nations like China put on the books----they do not enforce them.
What we have watched through CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA was the dismantling of this Western structure MOVING FORWARD----or really backward to before MAGNA CARTA preparing the US to return to societal structures where 99% of citizens have no rights----there are no courts or justice structures to protect us---ONLY GLOBAL CORPORATE LAW AND PROTECTIONS OF GLOBAL RICH.
This is why CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA allowed massive systemic corporate/Wall Street frauds and government corruptions moving all wealth to the top go without any pol or court trying to bring justice. It is why the middle-class is watching all its retirements, its pre-paid health care, it's houses, businesses be attacked and taken down without any ability to seek legal justice. It is why BLACK LIVES MATTER over police abuses and citizens' deaths go without justice and why SLAVERY has worked its way back into the Americas.
WORLD BANK WORLD HEALTH says------Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
THE GLOBAL WALL STREET 1% CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA are lying, cheating, and stealing because that is not going to happen.
'When the case of James Somerset, and enslaved African, came before Lord Mansfield in 1772, one of Somerset’s supporters, Granville Sharp, argued that Magna Carta prohibited slavery. Mansfield ruled that there was no basis for slavery in the common law of England and Wales, common law that was underpinned by Magna Carta. Any person in slavery in that jurisdiction must therefore be free. In establishing the rights for some, the English barons inadvertently established the rights for more'.
We have to stop the MOVING FORWARD OF FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES all having slavery in order to reverse and end slavery globally. If Western nations are allowed to be taken by global corporate rule-----conditions in developing nations will only get worse.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU KNOW SLAVERY IS NOT A PUBLIC HEALTH GOAL. SMART CITY TOTALITARIANISM----oh, that will bring peace.
15 June 2015
Magna Carta and slavery
By Dr Aidan McQuade, Director
Today, I was attending the official commemoration of the signing of Magna Carta at Runnymede. Queen Elizabeth was present at the place where 800 years ago her predecessor King John put his signature to the Great Charter, which was, in truth, a political settlement to end the rebellion of the English barons. Yet the event was entitled “Foundation of Liberty” and I have been reflecting on how true that description of Magna Carta is.
There are many distinguished legal and historical scholars who argue that because it was a political settlement amongst the elite that Magna Carta is not a true exemplar of human rights, which emphasise the fundamental nature of those rights and their universality to all human beings. Those present at Runnymede were concerned about themselves and their rights not those of poor people, women or foreigners.
But that is not so unusual. Throughout history we have seen different communities struggle for rights that have been denied them. Sometimes they have understood this as part of a broader struggle – the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was prompted into being by the efforts of Martin King and his comrades to obtain basic civil rights for all American citizens. Other times the struggle for rights have been much more specifically focussed: I doubt that Spartacus and Crixus had much concern for the rights of Roman civilians as they fought to escape slavery at the beginning of the first millenium. And the struggle of brick kiln workers in contemporary Punjab to end their enslavement is no less vital a human rights struggle even if those workers have never heard of Spartacus, or Fredrick Douglass, or Equiano, or SOS Esclaves.
I think, if we look at it properly, we can see that all these struggles fit into the process famously described by Bobby Kennedy as “numberless diverse acts of courage and belief” that shape the history of the times. Viewed this way Magna Carta is an important, albeit, imperfect milestone along the way.
And the English barons, for their own selfish reasons perhaps, had a more profound impact than they could ever have possibly imagined.
When the case of James Somerset, and enslaved African, came before Lord Mansfield in 1772, one of Somerset’s supporters, Granville Sharp, argued that Magna Carta prohibited slavery. Mansfield ruled that there was no basis for slavery in the common law of England and Wales, common law that was underpinned by Magna Carta. Any person in slavery in that jurisdiction must therefore be free. In establishing the rights for some, the English barons inadvertently established the rights for more.
So an initial English and Welsh contribution to the history of human rights can be traced to Magna Carta, but it does not end there. It is worth remembering that the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta coincides with the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. From the carnage and genocide of that war, and from the injustices and betrayals of that peace, two good things emerged.
First was the recognition that states and states’ leaders can be held to account for transgressions of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Second, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was conscious repudiation by Eleanor Roosevelt, Rene Cassin and the other drafters of the Declaration, of everything the Axis stood for. Both of these things were only made possible by the blood shed by the peoples of the democracies, not least the United Kingdom.
I suppose like anyone who knows anything about Churchill I have very mixed feelings towards him. He was an imperialist and a racist and must bear considerable culpability for the atrocious wartime famine in India which killed millions. But he also must be respected for the extraordinary moral courage he showed in leading Britain in continued resistance against the Axis after the fall of France. Without that those principles of rule of international law and universality of human rights might never have been established.
I suspect also that Churchill’s advocacy of a Council of Europe, which ultimately translated the Universal Declaration into the European Convention on Human Rights administered by the European Court of Human Rights, drew on his understanding of the principles of rule of law that originated from that English and Welsh tradition that goes back to Magna Carta: Without courts to administer the law then even the grandest of charters remain just words on a piece of paper. We see that in, for example, India today where decent law against bonded labour remains ineffectual because there is insufficient court capacity to ensure that it is properly implemented. Likewise without the international accountability that international courts provide countries can with impunity choose to trample over the rights of ordinary people.
So it is deeply disappointing that 800 years after the signing of Magna Carta and 70 years after the end of the Second World War that the UK government is talking about scrapping the Human Rights Act and pulling out of the European Court of Human Rights. If this country is not to be bound by the most basic principles of human rights, rights that were bloodily won with the lives of young British people on the battlefields of the Second World War, then why should a country like Niger, for example, allow itself to be held internationally legally accountable? Yet in 2008 Niger did just that in a case Anti-Slavery International helped to bring, The West African Regional Court found Niger guilty of failing to protect its citizens from slavery, a judgement Niger accepted and which led to the liberation of thousands of people in slavery across the region.
Again and again in the contemporary world we see governments legislate and regulate in ways that either directly cause the enslavement of others or facilitate private individuals to do the enslaving without any fear of sanction.
Amongst the most notorious examples of this is the “kafala” system of the Gulf states. This is a system that requires that overseas workers, for example those imported to build the infrastructure and venues for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, are “sponsored” by an employer. The nature of this “sponsorship” includes the power to deny employees the right to change employer or even leave the country irrespective of how dangerous their working conditions or abusive the employment relationship. It is in fact a system that facilitates the enslavement and manslaughter of thousands of vulnerable workers.
Countries like Qatar must also be held accountable in international law. While it will be a long and difficult road until that is achieved one thing we can be certain of is this: it will not be advanced one iota by the United Kingdom betraying its own history by declaring that it is above the very advances in human rights and international rule of law that it helped to enact.
But perhaps there is some self-interest in this government’s position. Let us consider for a moment domestic work: it is sometime described as an unskilled occupation. However it is an occupation for which there is considerable demand in the UK, a demand which cannot be met without overseas domestic workers. And if this demand were met with workers paid a living wage the value the UK Exchequer would run into millions.
However this does not chime with the prevailing prejudices in some parts of the UK so the government felt it was in need of showing it was being tough on immigration. It introduced a restriction on visas for overseas domestic workers in 2012. This means that Overseas Domestic Workers are no longer allowed to change employers, irrespective of how abusive those employers are. If they do leave they are threatened with deportation. This is an enormous power to put into the hands of unscrupulous employers. In fact it is the UK’s own kafala system. Those who monitor the situation, such as the charity Kalayaan, have found increases in the numbers of cases of slavery of overseas domestic workers.
Lord Mansfield ruled in the Somerset case that slavery could only be made legal in the UK as a result of statute. This government has however managed to de facto legalise slavery in the UK by the use of mere regulation.
So I don’t think, in spite of everything, that calling the Magna Carta the foundation of liberty is mere hyperbole. It is however tragic that the government of the United Kingdom seems intent on repudiating such a considerable part of the United Kingdom’s human rights tradition that has grown up in the 800 years since the barons met at Runnymede, and the 70 years since British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen.
HELP US END SLAVERY:
The global 99% have known these few decades that their nations and leaders were increasingly answering to a global 1% and not listening at all to their sovereign citizens. CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA decades made that increasingly clear in both developed nations AND developing nations. It was during this time a UNITED NATIONS----A WORLD BANK----GLOBAL NGOs were the source of public policy brought to each nation via what was called an ELECTED BODY OF POLITICIANS. We saw global corporations writing all policy as the US went from being a left social Democratic nation with a public interest goal of legislating ---to a PROFIT goal of legislating. THESE FEW DECADES HAS SEEN BOTH A GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL WRITING ALL LEGISLATION and a GLOBAL CORPORATE COURT TRIBUNAL handling all legal actions---of course the only entities protected by RULE OF LAW in empire-building are corporations and the rich.
The primary goal of global neo-liberalism these several decades was to dismantle all local people-driven structures---to centralize whether collectively or by BIG BUSINESS------end national sovereign constitutions and citizens' rights to remake boundaries and societal structures to meet a ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE goal. It started with global industrialization late 1800s----it drove GLOBAL BIG AG AND BIG ENERGY----and it drove global Foreign Economic Zone policies.
WE THE PEOPLE watched as societies around the world-----developed nations earliest---saw local farmers loss ancient land rights----saw far-right wing authoritarian regimes use industrialization to end local governance, cultural traditions, religious beliefs. Today just about every nation globally is ruled by a dictatorship with all local control, constitutions, cultural history erased.
Then Americans watched as CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA brought that same attack on our national sovereignty---our US Constitution and US Rule of Law, our rights as citizens-----rolled out policies consolidating land ownership to global corporations and the rich while pushing WE THE PEOPLE from houses, farms, communities----with all public justice and court structures that led to the strongest Rule of Law in world history----DISMANTLED. WORLD BANK WORLD HEALTH all tied to these global Wall Street empire-building actions----so what do they REALLY MEAN by peace, justice, and strong institutions?
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions-
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
This is a long article but please glance through to see the powe r of what will be the only legal system for all Foreign Economic Zones under ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE.
A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. Part one of a BuzzFeed News investigation — read the whole series here.
BuzzFeed News Reporter
posted on Aug. 28, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.
Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.
Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court’s authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as “The Club” or “The Mafia.”
And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing — and its decisions so unpredictable — that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.
This system is already in place, operating behind closed doors in office buildings and conference rooms in cities around the world. Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.
These trade pacts have become a flashpoint in the US presidential campaign. But an 18-month BuzzFeed News investigation, spanning three continents and involving more than 200 interviews and tens of thousands of documents, many of them previously confidential, has exposed an obscure but immensely consequential feature of these trade treaties, the secret operations of these tribunals, and the ways that business has co-opted them to bring sovereign nations to heel.
The BuzzFeed News investigation explores four different aspects of ISDS. In coming days, it will show how the mere threat of an ISDS case can intimidate a nation into gutting its own laws, how some financial firms have transformed what was intended to be a system of justice into an engine of profit, and how America is surprisingly vulnerable to suits from foreign companies.
The series starts today with perhaps the least known and most jarring revelation: Companies and executives accused or even convicted of crimes have escaped punishment by turning to this special forum. Based on exclusive reporting from the Middle East, Central America, and Asia, BuzzFeed News has found the following:
- A Dubai real estate mogul and former business partner of Donald Trump was sentenced to prison for collaborating on a deal that would swindle the Egyptian people out of millions of dollars — but then he turned to ISDS and got his prison sentence wiped away.
- In El Salvador, a court found that a factory had poisoned a village — including dozens of children — with lead, failing for years to take government-ordered steps to prevent the toxic metal from seeping out. But the factory owners’ lawyers used ISDS to help the company dodge a criminal conviction and the responsibility for cleaning up the area and providing needed medical care.
- Two financiers convicted of embezzling more than $300 million from an Indonesian bank used an ISDS finding to fend off Interpol, shield their assets, and effectively nullify their punishment.
ISDS is basically binding arbitration on a global scale, designed to settle disputes between countries and foreign companies that do business within their borders. Different treaties can mandate slightly different rules, but the system is broadly the same. When companies sue, their cases are usually heard in front of a tribunal of three arbitrators, often private attorneys. The business appoints one arbitrator and the country another, then both sides usually decide on the third together.
Conceived of in the 1950s, the system was intended to benefit both developing nations and the foreign companies that sought to invest in them. The companies would gain a fair, neutral referee if a rogue regime seized their property or discriminated against them in favor of domestic companies. And the countries would gain the roads or hospitals or industries that those foreign corporations would, as a result, feel confident building.
“It works,” said Charles Brower, a longtime ISDS arbitrator. “Like any system of law, there will be disappointments; you’re dealing with human systems. But this system fundamentally produces as good justice as the federal courts of the United States.”
He defended the lawyers who often serve as arbitrators, saying they “are very aware of their responsibilities. Unlike politicians, we are up for election every minute of every day — somewhere in the world, somebody is trying to figure out whom to appoint in a case. We’re only as good as our reputations.”
As proof that ISDS delivers justice, Brower pointed to a wave of nationalizations by the Venezuelan government, many while Hugo Chávez was in charge, that led to “huge awards against them for uncompensated expropriation.”
ISDS has not only put rapacious leaders on notice, its defenders say, but it has also encouraged investment, especially in poor countries, helping to raise overall economic development. Some even say that it helps avoid gunboat diplomacy and tense international showdowns because countries have agreed on a forum where they can resolve disputes involving major investments.
But over the last two decades, ISDS has morphed from a rarely used last resort, designed for egregious cases of state theft or blatant discrimination, into a powerful tool that corporations brandish ever more frequently, often against broad public policies that they claim crimp profits.
Because the system is so secretive, it is not possible to know the total number of ISDS cases, but lawyers in the field say it is skyrocketing. Indeed, of the almost 700 publicly known cases across the last half century, more than a tenth were filed just last year.
ISDS has morphed from a rarely used last resort into a powerful tool that corporations brandish ever more frequently.Driving this expansion are the lawyers themselves. They have devised new and creative ways to deploy ISDS, and in the process bill millions to both the businesses and the governments they represent. At posh locales around the globe, members of The Club meet to swap strategies and drum up potential clients, some of which are household names, such as ExxonMobil or Eli Lilly, but many more of which are much lower profile. In specialty publications, the lawyers suggest novel ways to use ISDS as leverage against governments. It’s a sort of sophisticated, international version of the plaintiff’s attorney TV ad or billboard: Has your business been harmed by an increase in mining royalties in Mali? Our experienced team of lawyers may be able to help.
A few of their ideas: Sue Libya for failing to protect an oil facility during a civil war. Sue Spain for reducing solar energy incentives as a severe recession forced the government to make budget cuts. Sue India for allowing a generic drug company to make a cheaper version of a cancer drug.
In a little-noticed 2014 dissent, US Chief Justice John Roberts warned that ISDS arbitration panels hold the alarming power to review a nation’s laws and “effectively annul the authoritative acts of its legislature, executive, and judiciary.” ISDS arbitrators, he continued, “can meet literally anywhere in the world” and “sit in judgment” on a nation’s “sovereign acts.”
That fate has not yet befallen the United States — but largely because of sheer luck, former government lawyers said. In theory, ISDS arbitrators must follow the rules laid down in trade pacts. But in practice, they have interpreted the vague language of many treaties as enshrining broad, unwritten rights far beyond protections against property seizures and blatant discrimination — even finding, in one case, a right to a “reasonable rate of return.”
Some entrepreneurial lawyers scout for ways to make money from ISDS. Selvyn Seidel, an attorney who represented clients in ISDS suits, now runs a specialty firm, one that finds investors willing to fund promising suits for a cut of the eventual award. Some lawyers, he said, monitor governments around the world in search of proposed laws and regulations that might spark objections from foreign companies. “You know it’s coming down the road,” he said, “so, in that year before it’s actually changed, you can line up the right claimants and the right law firms to bring a number of cases.”
The US officials who negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership have argued that it contains new ISDS safeguards, including opening up hearings and legal filings to the public. The changes, however, have loopholes, and lawyers at some big firms are already advising clients how they might use the new deal to their benefit.
Opposition to ISDS is spreading across the political spectrum, with groups on the left and right attacking the system. Around the world, a growing number of countries are pushing for reforms or pulling out entirely. But most of the alarm has been focused on the potential use of ISDS by corporations to roll back public-interest laws, such as those banning the use of hazardous chemicals or raising the minimum wage. The system’s usefulness as a shield for the criminal and the corrupt has remained virtually unknown.
Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.