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Public Citizen: Right or Far Right?
Public Citizen (PC) is rather liberal in its use of facts when it comes to its war against free trade. A case in point is the World Trade Organization's recent appellate decision on US laws restricting internet gambling.

PC's love of hyperbole is evident in the title of their press release, "Final WTO Panel Upholds Ruling Against U.S. Internet Gambling Ban in Explosive Decision With Broad Political, Policy Implications." PC's motives for the headline are evident in the first sentence of their press release, "A World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling today that the federal law ban on Internet gambling violates U.S. WTO obligations deepens the crisis of legitimacy the troubled institution already faces..."

What "crisis of legitimacy"? You would not know from PC's frothing-at-the-mouth press release that the actual WTO ruling is complex, nuanced and upholds key elements of the US' position against internet gambling. For example, CNET's news story on the issue notes "the intricacies of the WTO's complex ruling, which weighed in at 146 pages and spurred both sides to claim victory. The WTO board agreed with the United States in key areas, saying that some disputed laws were ‘necessary to protect public morals' and that it would not consider whether state laws in Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota and Utah violated trade agreements."

PC also doesn't bother to quote the Acting US Trade Representative who explained that "U.S. restrictions on Internet gambling can be maintained. This report essentially says that if we clarify U.S. Internet gambling restrictions in certain ways, we'll be fine."

However, PC makes clear that their real concern has little to do with off-shore gaming and everything to do with trying to undermine the WTO. As the consumer watchdog states "Maybe this explosive ruling finally will wake up U.S. policymakers, press and the public to what a serious threat to democracy and sovereignty is posed by the WTO and its requirements that we conform all of our domestic policies to its 900 pages of backwards dictates."

Winston is fascinated to learn that the supposedly liberal/progressive PC has joined with the far-right in fighting to protect American sovereignty from those dastardly international organizations. Perhaps they'll hold a joint event with other like-minded opponents of free trade such as Pat Buchanan and the America First Party.

  • Click for PC press release.
  • Click for CNET article.
  • Click for WTO ruling.

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