There have been at least 100+ diaries published in this community in just the first nine months of 2013 on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and virtually all of them have described the potential horrors loaded into this proposed trade agreement. Kossacks Joanneleon and Joe Shikspack, in their “What’s Happenin’?” and “Evening Blues” series, respectively, have been covering the topic quite extensively. Many other posts in this community have been outstanding, such as new FP’er VL Baker’s piece, in early September: “The global corporate power grab you hear nothing about because it's being decided in secret;” and Kossack War on Error’s (who's been writing about this all year) post in early August: "Alan Grayson 'US Sovereignty Being Handed to Corporate Interests;'" as well as Jen Hayden’s diary on June 13th: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls for the release of trade documents.”
I’ve also published a few posts and crossposts on this topic throughout the year, including: “Angry Bear: ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership: A New Constitution’” (3/12/13); “Smith: ‘Secret 'Free Trade' Negotiations Will Gut Reg's, Enrich Multinationals, Big Financial Firms’” (5/1/13); and, “‘Protesters Take Over US Trade Rep Building, Expose Secret Negotiations,’ by Kevin Zeese” (9/25/13).
Tonight, we're reminded via Reuters that significant efforts by citizens and activists over the past few months have had a negligible impact upon the outcome of this situation, to date.
The news agency is reporting, over the past few hours, that the U.S. government appears almost as hell-bent as the corporatocracy that owns it on doing whatever's necessary to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement "done" by year-end, despite the fact that--as noted farther down below--many refer to it as "N.A.F.T.A. on Steroids" and a "Corporate Coup D'etat" that will undermine the sovereign laws of all nations that are a party to it.
U.S. Trade Official Says to Seek TPP Deal by Year-End
October 7, 2013 at 11:47 PM ET
NUSA DUA, Indonesia — World trade ministers may discuss a U.S.-led trade pact on the sidelines of a December World Trade Organization meeting with a goal of reaching a deal by year-end, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Tuesday.
Issues in the U.S.-proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that trade ministers remained focused on include intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, labor and the environment, Froman told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.
The TPP, by seeking unprecedented access to domestic markets, is proving highly sensitive in developing countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam, whose political systems could be shaken by intrusions in areas such as government procurement and state-owned enterprises...
Also via Reuters, we're reminded of just how unflinching the corporatocracy is about this over-arching matter. Our false gods of capitalism want it done "as is." (Whatever "is" might be. Since we're not privy to the document draft; but, reports are telling us that it's unbearably draconian; and its passage will virtually impose a new brand of neofeudalism on 40% of the population of the planet, including all of us "exceptional" Americans.)
U.S. firms urge Washington not to rush through landmark trade deal
By Randy Fabi
NUSA DUA, Indonesia | Sun Oct 6, 2013 8:12pm EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. multinationals have warned Washington not to compromise and weaken a landmark 12-nation Asia-Pacific free trade agreement in order to complete the deal by the end of this year.
After three years of talks, President Barack Obama's administration is making a final push to finalize the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that would establish a free-trade bloc that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile...
Meanwhile, everyone's preoccupied by the government shutdown and the debt kabuki playing out in DC. On Wall Street, throughout the MSM, here in the political blogosphere and in the minds of citizens everywhere, it's all about the Republican-induced government shutdown, along with that party's ongoing ransom demands relating to the U.S. debt ceiling.
If you can imagine a totalitarian world where a tribunal of corporate-appointed lawyers could overrule the sovereign laws of nations, virtually at will (and on virtually any issue, whatsoever), you'd understand why so many people, from Senator Elizabeth Warren to Congressman Alan Grayson, along with many others (even here at DKos), have been warning the U.S. public for many months why we should be aware of the secret negotiations underway concerning this highly-classified trade agreement.
First and foremost, as you'll read more about it down below, this matter is about a lot more than a "trade agreement." It has been reported by the few that have actually reviewed recent drafts of this document that, out of 29 sections in it, only five pertain to actual trade issues. Most of the balance of this international "trade agreement" covers what many have referred to as an "International Corporate Coup D'Etat."
If the Trans-Pacific Partnership is passed in any semblance of the form that it's reported to be in now, we can: forget about stopping Keystone XL and reversing climate change; forget about putting a saddle on Wall Street; forget about controlling the spiraling costs of pharmaceuticals; forget about enabling social activism; forget about an open source world and universal Internet access; forget about the effort to put a lid on domestic and international surveillance; forget about a world free of genetically modified crops; and forget about significantly curtailing record-breaking income inequality.
Apparently (despite lip service from Washington about supporting the middle class, addressing income inequality, effectively dealing with climate change, and generally giving a rat's ass whether or not folks on Main Streets throughout the U.S. and around globe live or die), under the cover of record-breaking Washington kabuki, the leaders of our inverted totalitarian corporatocracy want this done NOW! And, recently appointed U.S. Trade Representative,
corporatist tool and Robert Rubin hack protegé Michael Froman is on the job.
Yes indeed--eee! We're talkin': Change that Exxon, Monsanto, Merck, Goldman Sachs and all of those vendors at the NSA
bought and paid for can believe in! "Forward!"
There's are plenty of reasons why some (including DemocracyNow!) are referring to this as "N.A.F.T.A. on steroids..."
Published on Oct 4, 2013
From Democracy Now! - As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is often referred to by critics as "NAFTA on steroids," and would establishing a free-trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompass 800 million people -- about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisors reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton, and Monsanto. "This is not mainly about trade," says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "It is a corporate trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments -- limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy -- or establishing new powers for corporations."
From Jim Hightower, over on Buzzflash at Truth-out...
Jim Hightower: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is a Corporate Coup in Disguise
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:13
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What if our national leaders told us that communities across America had to eliminate such local programs as Buy Local, Buy American, Buy Green, etc. to allow foreign corporations to have the right to make the sale on any products purchased with our tax dollars? This nullification of our people's right to direct expenditures is just one of the horror stories in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
This is a super-sized NAFTA, the 1994 trade scam rammed through Congress by the entire corporate establishment. NAFTA promised the "glories of globalization": prosperity across our land. Unfortunately, corporations got the gold. We got the shaft — thousands of factories closed, millions of middle-class jobs went south, and the economies of hundreds of towns and cities were shattered.
Twenty years later, the gang that gave us NAFTA is back with the TPP, a "trade deal" that mostly does not deal with trade. Of the 29 chapters in this document, only five cover traditional trade matters! The other chapters amount to a devilish "partnership" for corporate protectionism...
--Food safety: U.S. gov't food safety regulations (re: pesticide levels, bacterial contamination, fecal exposure, toxic additives, etc.) and food labeling laws (organic, country-of-origin, animal-welfare approved, GMO-free, etc.) that are more stringent than "international standards" could be ruled as "illegal trade barriers"...
—Fracking. The U.S. Department of Energy would lose all rights to regulate natural gas exports to any signatory of the TPP. Essentially, according to Hightower, "This would create an explosion of the destructive fracking process across our land, for both foreign and U.S. corporations could export fracked gas from America to member nations without any DOE review of the environmental and economic impacts on local communities — or on our national interests."
—Jobs. US companies would be "...guaranteed a sweetheart deal" if they moved operations to a TPP nation. Essentially, it's "...an incentive for corporate chieftains to export more of our middle-class jobs."
—Drug prices. Big Pharma would receive lengthier patent guarantees, and they'd "be empowered to block distribution of cheaper generic drugs." Hightower rightfully describes it as "...a death sentence to many people suffering from cancer, HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and other treatable diseases in impoverished lands."
—Wall Street. The global too-big-to-fail banks would be able to avoid transaction taxes, since the TPP Agreement specifically prohibits them. It also "...restricts "firewall" reforms that separate consumer banking from risky investment banking. It could roll back reforms that governments adopted to fix the extreme bank-deregulation regimen that caused Wall Street's 2007 crash. And it provides an escape from national rules that would limit the size of 'too-big-to-fail' behemoths."
—Internet freedom. Corporations have slipped the most "pernicious" aspects of the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) into the TPP. Instead of being curtailed, our government's surveillance efforts--as they've been noted via the release of National Security Agency documents by whistleblower Edward Snowden's--would be given free reign.
—Public services. "TPP rules would limit how governments regulate such public services as utilities, transportation and education." Hightower notes: "...policies meant to ensure broad or universal access to those essential needs."
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UPDATE (10/8/13 2:00PM EDT):
FOR THE RECORD: A few (I'm assuming) well-intentioned commenters have made numerous, grossly inaccurate statements in the comment threads below, comparing the TPP to trade agreements of the past. There are many differences between the TPP and the original WTO accords--too many, in fact, to go into details necessary to explain this in this brief update. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a very different--much more draconian, especially with regard to matters that have little to with trade and everything to do with expanding the legal powers of corporations on an international scale--type of trade agreement than previous international trade agreements entered into by our country in past years. That being said, there was a technical problem with the DemocracyNow! video in this post, and I've corrected it. So, please watch it if you have a few minutes (or click upon a few of the links for more information), and you'll get a pretty good overview regarding what I'm referencing here.
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So, what are you waiting for? Checkout globaltradewatch.org, and get involved!
And, while you're at it, let Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the bipartisan
sellout team responsible for pushing this treasonous trade agreement through the Senate, know what you think of their distinguished careers (Baucus is retiring in 2014 and Hatch in 2018). Click HERE for the contact info for Hatch and HERE for the contact info for Baucus.