>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 17:35:01 -0800 (PST)
>From: Geov Parrish <bc340 at scn.org>
>To: berlin at socrates.berkeley.edu, uzjsme at hotmail.com, kao at rivermoon.com,
> amieriley at hotmail.com, ets at scn.org, newell at wolfenet.com,
> l_mcwhorter at hotmail.com, bc340 at scn.org, carolin at u.washington.edu,
> davidric at microsoft.com, garratt at foxinternet.net,
> jeffrey.kipper at mail.swedish.org, rgio at frii.com, johnnyc at eskimo.com,
> stillpoint.b at juno.com, jsexton at asc.upenn.edu, snorer9 at jps.net,
> cschwab at psu.edu, anne1 at wrq.com, tom.gannon at ci.seartle.wa.us,
> audreylyle at earthlink.net
>Subject: [geovlp at earthlink.net: Geov's Weekly Column--11/25/99]
> ================= Begin forwarded message =================
> From: geovlp at earthlink.net (Geov Parrish)
> To: bc340 at scn.org
> Subject: Geov's Weekly Column--11/25/99
> Date: Sat, 20 Nov
> Here is a pre-copy-edited version of the Seattle Weekly
> "Impolitics" column for Nov. 28, 1999. It's a bit early, due
> to Thanksgiving and the onset of the holiday shopping
> If you know of others who might be interested in receiving
> these columns, pass it on!
> Peace, love, & sabotage,
> Geov Parrish
> WTO Strikes Down Santa Claus
> In a stunning ruling on the eve of the biggest gift-giving
> season of the millenium, a secret Geneva panel of the World
> Trade Organization (WTO) today ruled the Christmas Eve trade
> export policies of the North Pole to be "WTO-illegal."
> The case, brought by the United States on behalf of a
> consortium of transnational corporations who claimed that
> they could not compete with the price supports offered to
> the North Pole's sole industry, may mean disaster this year
> for hundreds of millions of good little girls and boys.
> Santa Claus, Inc., annually distributes billions of gifts
> around the world, delivering them by sleigh and the firm's
> trademarked eight tiny reindeer on Christmas Eve. The
> distribution of gifts has long enjoyed an unusual exemption
> from border regulations, a competitive advantage that was
> also struck down by the WTO ruling. The tribunal also ruled
> that countries with fireplaces would also need to amend
> their trespass laws to allow competitors an equal right to
> deliver goods by chimney.
> Geneva-based observers said the ruling against the North
> Pole was predictable. No country challenged for unfair trade
> practices before the WTO has ever won a case.
> "Ho, ho, ho, my ass. This is a tragic day for the world's
> children," commented the elderly Claus, 457, known
> affectionately around the world as "Saint Nick." In the
> snowbound city where Claus' operation is located, street
> demonstrations immediately broke out among agitated elves,
> concerned about possible job losses to foreign competitors
> in warmer climates.
> The ruling marked a further increase in tensions between the
> WTO and the tiny country of the North Pole, which has been
> pressured by the WTO in recent years to adopt austerity
> measures in exchange for interntional credit and to scrap
> its long-standing pension, "Universal Elfcare" health plan,
> and free snowshoe benefits for worker elves.
> "Clearly, we've been vindicated," announced a pleased Pres.
> Bill Clinton, whose consistent receipt over the years of
> stockings full of coal are said to have led to his personal
> interest in the case. "We've said all along that it's
> virtually impossible to create minimum-wage jobs for hard-
> working Americans when they must compete in the global
> marketplace against preternaturally cheerful midgets with
> collective bargaining rights." The two-term President and
> chronic adulterer has also frequently accused the North Pole
> of industrial espionage for annually making a list and
> checking it twice.
> For years, the North Pole has maintained a huge foreign
> trade surplus, fueled by its annual Christmas Eve export
> flooding the market with billions of toys. American-based
> toymakers and other consumer goods producers dependent on
> the Christmas retail season claimed that the North Pole
> government paid for many of the costs of the toys'
> manufacture. Commented one CEO who did not want to be named,
> "Nobody has ever figured out where they get their raw
> materials. It must be either a government subsidy or dead
> elves." The politically neutral North Pole also has no
> military, prompting speculation that it must waste enormous
> amounts of money on <I>something</I>.
> Foreign competitors, including toymakers and distributors
> such as Federal Express and UPS, saw their stock values soar
> today as they wasted no time in reacting to the decision.
> "We're moving all our operations to Russia," said a FedEx
> spokesperson. "If they can figure out how to operate
> overnight delivery at no cost in a corrupt, communistic
> frozen wasteland, so can we." American companies dependent
> on Chinese toy factories were equally euphoric. "This lays
> waste to the outdated idea that a company can compete
> globally on fair terms while paying workers more than $10 a
> month," said a Mattel spokeswoman. "We reject that notion."
> Back in the North Pole, an obviously somewhat inebriated St.
> Nick was not taking things too well. "You bet I'm pissed,"
> roared the celebrated company icon. "Those smarmy bastards
> wouldn't know holiday cheer and peace on earth if it bit
> them in their blooming ass." Added an also drunk and red-
> nosed lead reindeer, "If they thought they heard a clatter
> before, wait til we land on their roof this year."
> Angry North Pole elves announced a plan to resist the WTO
> ruling. "Let them go ahead and levy sanctions. What are they
> going to tax? All of our exports are free!." noted a
> spokeself. "They don't even understand free. We have a
> unique country here, and we don't want to see huge
> corporations turning us into just another tiny impoverished
> place unhappy with our work and desperate for our consumer
> goods. That's not free."
> The immediate effect of today's ruling will be to drive up
> prices of holiday goods and reduce the number of gifts
> received by children around the world, especially in poorer
> countries. While prices will be somethat higher, analysts
> expected to see a possible return of the traditional "Twelve
> Days of Christmas" as delivery problems stretched out annual
> gift-giving. Corporations also outlined a tentative plan,
> based on the HMO model, to have gift recipients provide co-
> payments for their gifts. Said one, giddily, "Nothing's
> going to be free any more. You can bet on it."
> In another, unrelated agricultural decision, the WTO
> announced that corporations had the right to kill geese that
> lay golden eggs.
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