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WTO overrules U.S. country of origin law

Originally posted on Phil Ebersole's Blog:

The World Trade Organization has overruled a U.S. law requiring that imported meat be labeled as to its country of origin.

The law gives an unfair advantage to domestic livestock breeders and meat processors, the WTO said.

Now the WTO is in the process of deciding what retaliatory tariffs can be imposed by Canada and Mexico if the United States does not repeal the law.

This is a sample of what can be expected if Congress approves the Trans Pacific Partnership or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements.

The mechanism is different in the TPP and TTIP, but the purpose is the same.  Under the investor-state dispute settlement processes in these agreements, a panel of arbitrators could fine a government whose laws supposedly treated a foreign investor unfairly.  The government would have the choice of paying the fine or repealing the law.

It might be good to have a trade…

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what does one really mean by “liberal democracy”? [proj-syn]

So I’ve been tooling around the peanut gallery over at Project Syndicate. Actually not too bad for a venue for distributing policy-marketing material from establishment celebs. Thought this one was interesting – both the text and the especially some of comments (not mine, I have too much of an axe to grind!) – for bringing out several different ways to analyze the meaning of liberal democracy, which just so happens to be a central piece of the current talking point vocabulary, kind of like the words “credibility” and “legitimacy” were a year ago.


musical interlude LXXXVIII

musical interlude LXXXVII

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musical interlude LXXXV

mm 90’s? yea

The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis


interesting stuffs

Originally posted on Phil Ebersole's Blog:

Some years ago I posted videos of “The Century of the Self,” the great four-part documentary by Adam Curtis about “how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”

The videos were taken down from the Internet, but Jason Kottke found new iterations and linked to them on  Here they are.  If you haven’t seen them before, I highly recommend watching them.  Each one is a little less than an hour long.

Part One, Happiness Machines, is about how Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, created the profession of public relations in the 1920s and taught American advertisers how to link products with consumers’ unconscious desires, and how these ideas influenced politics in the 1930s.

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