WRR: Trans-Pacific Partnership

For the Old Mole Variety HourOctober 1, 2012

Oppose the TPP: http://stopthetrap.net/

http://www.publicknowledge.org/Tell-White-House-Ensure-OpennessTPP-IP-Chapter

 

With the Presidential debates coming up, there are a few things we can remember are not going to be discussed, because the major party candidates agree about them. As Bill Quigley points out on Nation of Change,

Neither candidate is interested in stopping the use of the death penalty for federal or state crimes.

Neither candidate is interested in eliminating or reducing the 5,113 US nuclear warheads.

Neither candidate is campaigning to close Guantanamo prison.

Neither candidate has called for arresting and prosecuting high ranking people on Wall Street for the subprime mortgage catastrophe.

Neither candidate is interested in holding anyone in the Bush administration accountable for the torture committed by US personnel against prisoners in Guantanamo or in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Neither candidate is interested in stopping the use of drones to assassinate people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia.

Neither candidate is against warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, or racial profiling in fighting “terrorism.”

Neither candidate is interested in fighting for a living wage.

In fact neither are really committed beyond lip service to raising the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour – which, if it kept pace with inflation since the 1960s should be about $10 an hour.

Neither candidate will declare they refuse to bomb Iran.

Neither candidate is refusing to take huge campaign contributions from people and organizations.

Neither candidate proposes any significant specific steps to reverse global warming.

Neither candidate is talking about the over 2 million people in jails and prisons in the US.

Neither candidate opposes the nuclear power industry. In fact both support expansion.

Also, as far as we know, neither candidate opposes the TransPacific Partnership, or TPP agreeement, though we know little about the TPP, since it is being negotiated behind closed doors that are "guarded by paramilitary teams with machine guns and helicopters," according to a report by Laurel Sutherlin of Rainforest Action Network, available on Altenet.

She writes,

The corporate cabal behind it, including names like Cargill, Pfizer, Nike and WalMart, has done an exceptional job of maintaining an almost total lack of transparency as they . . .  design the future we will all inhabit.  While 600 corporate lobbyists have been granted access and input on the draft texts from the beginning, even high-ranking members of Congress have been denied access to the most basic content of what US negotiators are proposing in our names.  Thankfully, draft texts of the proposal have appeared on Wikileaks and the website of Citizen’s Trade Campaign.  ….

 

The fourteenth major round of TPP negotiations — and perhaps one of the last —took place in Virginia in September, and was met with small but growing protests demanding to "Flush the TPP."

Hilary Matfess in Nation of Change writes that,

It would be a relief to report with any certainty that the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a massive proposed free-trade zone spanning the Pacific Ocean and all four hemispheres—are definitely empowering corporations to the detriment of workers, the environment, and sovereignty throughout the region. Unfortunately, the secretive and opaque character of the negotiations has made it difficult to report much of anything about them. What can be confidently reported about the TPP is that, in terms of trade flows, it would be the largest free-trade agreement yet entered into by the United States….

According to Citizen.org, the negotiations thus far have given corporations the right to avoid government review when acquiring land, natural resources, or factories. They have also banned corporate performance requirements, guaranteed compensation for the loss of “‘expected future profits’ from health, labor, [or] environmental” regulations, and included stunning provisions concerning the right to “move capital without limits.” If these are indeed terms of the TPP, then the agreement would make it nearly impossible for countries to hold corporations accountable for their conduct—and would in fact hold governments liable for any “damage” incurred by corporations due to the institution of regulations. 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the intellectual property chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, and rights to privacy and due process.

Public Citizen's analysis of the drafts that have been leaked suggest  TPP would require internet service providers to "police" user-activity and treat individual violators as though they were large-scale for-profit violators.

Foreign corporations would be empowered to attack our health, environmental and other laws before foreign tribunals to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think undermine their expected future profits.

TPP would rollback reregulation of Wall Street. It would prohibit bans on risky financial services and undermine "too big to fail" regulations.

Monopoly control of pharmaceuticals would mean that millions of people in developing countries are cut off from life-saving medicines & the rest of us will face even higher prices.

Special protections for investors would encourage offshoring by providing special benefits for companies that leave.

Plus, TPP would impose limits on how our elected officials can use tax dollars – banning Buy America or Buy Local preferences.

TPP would require us to import food that does not meet U.S. safety standards. It would limit food labeling. 

….According to Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, the leaked chapters of the TPP “sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama’s campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states.” The struggle over the Trans-Pacific Partnership reveals a disturbing trend in American politics. The much discussed Citizens United ruling granting corporations personhood has given way to a trade negotiation process in which corporations are granted more rights than American citizens, their elected representatives, or foreign governments impacted by the deal. That trade negotiations with such an immense potential impact on numerous sectors of the American economy have been conducted in secret is troubling enough. To consider that those negotiating the treaty have willfully ignored experts and elected representatives in favor of corporate interests calls into question the sustainability of American democracy.  

 

As Sutherlin points out,

The TPP was conceived under the second Bush administration, but it has been embraced and nurtured into maturity under Obama’s watch. The widespread belief among people …opposing it is that the current Administration is in a race to finish much of the negotiations while they can bank on the fact that labor leaders and environmental and human rights advocates will shy away from challenging a democratic president in an election year. Free trade agreements are particularly unpopular in the key swing states That makes right now a crucial moment of opportunity to pull the TPP out of the shadows and leverage our combined political power to kill it before it takes root any deeper.

 

 

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