HIGHTOWER: The WTO Strikes Again

Why do we find so much on the front pages of newspapers that ought to be in the back, and so much in the back that ought to be on the front page?

Take this little item buried way back in the August 29th New York Times: "WTO Rules Against U.S." The item contained only four sentences, yet it cloaked a HUGE story that if fully reported, properly placed, and followed up would have informed and aroused the U.S. citizenry and forced a major national issue into the drone-a-thon of this year's presidential campaign.

The story is that the secretive, anti-democratic, corporate protectorate called the World Trade Organization had reached into our country once again and, by executive fiat, overturned a U.S. law. Americans have fought wars to establish and defend our rights as a free and sovereign people to write our own laws, yet here is an alien body rendering a judgment in Geneva that declares one of our laws null and void. Excuse me, who the hell elected these twerps?

The particular law is our Anti-Dumping Act, which says that foreign companies cannot unfairly compete by dumping their surplus goods here, selling them below what it costs to produce them. To give it teeth, the law provides fines and possible prison terms for violators. Uh-uh, says the corporate-protecting WTO--no fines and no prison allowed for such commercial criminals. Holy Thomas Jefferson! We can't set our own standards for criminal behavior?

Far more important than the law itself is the principle of self-government that has so cavalierly been usurped by the WTO. Imagine if the United Nations had declared a U.S. law invalid, or if a foreign government had threatened to take away our sovereignty! Wall Street, Washington, and the media would blow a gasket.

This is Jim Hightower saying . . . But this is corporate power stealing our rights, so the media sleeps, Gore and Bush stay mum . . . and Wall Street silently cheers its victory over the people.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.