Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement News and Overviews
Or more accurately: non-news, for the most part. There’s still been absolutely no transparency on the deal that just wrapped up its 16th round in Singapore on March 13 with 600 credited corporate trade representatives in attendance. Still Congress hasn’t been privy to the text despite demands by Ron Wyden, et.al.. Japan had apparently been offered a slot in the past, but only yesterday asked to be let in on the negotiations. Business has some heavy issues with it, though not in aid of thee and me, except for Congress-critters representing states where the automobile industry is key. That’s likely legitimate, or at least the UAW thinks so. I can’t remember now what led me to this video from New Zealand this morning, but it’s an overview of why itsourfuture.org.nz is working so diligently against it.
On rumors that Japan might ask to join the talks, 4000+ Japanese farmers and fishers hit the streets of Tokyo on March 13 demanding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe keep his promises to boycott the talks despite pressure from the US. Sound familiar? Obomba’s fast-tracking this deal brings new meaning to his campaign promise to ‘renegotiate NAFTA’).
There’s been recent news that over 400 civil society organizations representing more than 15 million Americans have written to Congress urging that Fast Track be replaced by a more democratic trade negotiating and approval process’.
Electronic Frontier Foundation lists the dangers from draconian copyright and intellectual property rules, online free speech and privacy, fair use exceptions, and much more. The leaked draft 2011 text is here (pdf).
Sandra Fulton of the ACLU called the TPP ‘the biggest threat to free speech and intellectual property that you’ve never heard of’ in this interview with EFF in September of 2012.
In a post I wrote on the TPP in September of 2011, this part concerning another policy in which Obomba is far worse than Bush still rankles:
“Obama Administration Positions Roll Back Initial 2007 Reforms Made by Bush Administration on Medicines Patents, Abandons Access to Medicines Commitments.
The leaked provisions caused Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch to react with incredulity and barely suppressed rage:
“The rollback of the modest Bush-era reforms is shocking, but what is truly stunning is the new proposal to empower pharmaceutical firms to attack the medicine formulary systems that New Zealand, Australia and other developed countries have used so successfully to achieve what is ostensibly an Obama administration goal of reducing sky-high drug prices.”
Lori Wallach is interviewed in the next two videos; this one with Amy and Juan covers many of the most hideous features of the deal as leaked so far, although as I remember it they don’t cover the super-muscular power Monsanto and other GMO multinationals will have, and the powerlessness of citizens in signatory nations to fight back. There are also provisions for financial deregulation and decreased capital control, Investor State arbitration (iirc; I’ve read and watched a lot today) and a US military presence to help keep citizens pacified.
In the next one, she’s with Thom Hartmann in July, 2012 explaining the history of structured multinational agreements on trade as far back as the Nixon administration, and her days working with Ralph Nader. Her explanation of the history of what she now calls ‘GATTzilla’ are stunning: those agreements and the WTO trump US law, and have hooks and barbs almost beyond belief.
If anyone can still believe that this President gives a fuck about you, or the 40% of the citizens of the world this will negatively impact forever…I’d like you to make your case. As far as I’m concerned, it‘s treasonous. Each person may have the issue that’s most important to them (fracking, tarsands XL pipeline, capitalism run amok), but for me, this one encompasses almost all of them. Fuckkery of the 99% gone wild.
You can still sign a petition here and there, or write to the White House, but it’s hard to think it will matter one iota. Obama wants the deal wrapped up by October. Happy Halloween to all you potential Zombies.