"WTO" now stands for "World Trade Outrage" rather than its original name, World Trade Organization. The World Trade Organization just ruled that the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda can freely violate American copyrights and trademarks in order to punish the United States for laws prohibiting Internet gambling.
Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 after finding that "Internet gambling is a growing cause of debt collection problems for insured depository institutions and the consumer credit industry." The social and financial costs of gambling would be greatly increased if the United States permits Internet gambling.
The World Trade Organization ordered this punishment because it says U.S. laws interfere with free trade in "recreational services." The foreign tribunal ranks free trade as more important than the intellectual property rights Americans have enjoyed since the U.S. Constitution was written.
The World Trade Organization's 88-page decision issued in December contained the panel's remarkable admission that "we feel we are on shaky grounds." But that didn't stop the Geneva tribunal from issuing its ruling anyway.
The United States has every right as a nation to protect its people against the corruption and loss of wealth that result from gambling on the Internet. It is shocking for an unelected foreign tribunal to tell the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the president of the United States that they lack the power to protect U.S. citizens.
Even American supremacist judges would not have the nerve to authorize stealing copyrights and trademarks as a remedy for one side in an unrelated dispute. But the World Trade Organization granted what has been called a "piracy permit" that allows a small Caribbean nation to "pirate," or steal, U.S. property rights.
The response in Washington was to announce an attempt to revise the conditions under which the United States joined the World Trade Organization in 1994. That's a non-starter because these changes in the World Trade Organization treaty would require the approval of all 151 members, most of whom don't like the U.S. anyway.
The World Trade Organization has ruled against the United States in 40 out of 47 major cases, and against the U.S. in 30 out of 33 trade remedies cases. After the World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. cannot divert tariff revenue to U.S. companies that are injured by foreign subsidies to their competitors, Vice President Dick Cheney provided the tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Dec. 21, 2005, to kowtow to the World Trade Organization.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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