Newsletter: 10 Shocking Realities of the TPP; Join The Revolt

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Note: All memes are from Flush The TPP.

The Secretly Negotiated TPP Will Impact Your Life In Many Ways; Together We Can Stop It

CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP

[Note: This newsletter has been edited.]

Finally, the text of the TPP has been released. It is not as bad as we expected – it is worse.

TPP No economic justice without trade justiceNow we see why the US Trade Representative and President Obama initially made a deal to keep the TPP secret for four years after it was ratified. If it had not been for a very aggressive fight against fast track trade authority, in which hundreds of thousands of people participated, we would not be seeing the text. One of the compromises made in order to get just enough votes to pass fast track was to agree to release the text publicly for 60 days before the President signs it.

Why did they want to keep it secret? Because they knew that if the people saw the text, it had much less chance of becoming law.

Here are 10 examples of things they wanted to hide from you:

1. ObamaTrade More Unjust Than BushTrade: The Obama administration is claiming that this is the most progressive trade agreement in history – a model for the 21st Century. In fact, the TPP is actually weaker in terms of labor, public and environmental protections than every agreement since the Bush-era agreements of 2007. The TPP has rolled back some of the progress made during that era on issues like limiting monopolies to ensure access to medicines and stopping polluters. Prior trade pacts included an exception that allowed governments to take action to protect their countries security at ports when necessary. Under the TPP, a trade tribunal can punish a country if their security actions interfere with profits.TPP the ultimate corporate power grab meme

2. Replaces Federal Courts With Kangaroo Trade Tribunals: The TPP dramatically weakens Article III constitutional courts, the third branch of US government, and replaces federal courts with corporate tribunals that are designed of, by and for foreign corporations. These trade tribunals will be corporate kangaroo courts with no standards for transparency or due process common in federal courts and courts in TPP countries. The “judges” will be three corporate lawyers who can serve as judges in one case and advocates for corporations in others. This dual role is considered a conflict of interest and would be unethical in federal courts. It creates an incentive for a “judge” to expand the power of corporations in their decisions, which they can use to their advantage when they sue on behalf of a corporation. There is no appeal, so these “judges” will not have their decisions reviewed. The tribunal has full discretion in determining how much governments must pay in damages, which can include “expected future profits.” Even when governments win, under TPP rules they can be ordered to pay for the tribunal’s costs and legal fees. It does not matter why a government put in place a new law, e.g. an environmental crisis, financial crisis or new health discovery is not relevant.

TPP equals toxic political poison3. Expands Trade Tribunals to Undermine Virtually Any Policy in the Public Interest: The TPP builds on the phony corporate court system. It doubles the number of corporations that could use this system to challenge US policies by newly extending it to more than 9,000 firms operating in the United States. For the first time corporations can sue if they believe their intellectual property rights were violated and challenge financial regulations in the trade tribunals. Under this tribunal system only foreign corporations can sue, US corporations do not have the right to sue so US corporations have less rights in the US than foreign corporations. Unlike real court systems where people impacted can sue if they are damaged or unions can sue if workers are damaged or environmentalists can sue to protect the environment – under the corporate tribunal system, only corporations and governments can sue.

4. Major Expansion of the Race to Lower Wages: The new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, claims that the TPP will have no impact on immigration. Now that the TPP has been released, we can see this is an outright lie. Chapters 10 and 12 expand the number of L1 worker visas and the number of tourist visas permitted for business purposes. Insourcing will mean that US jobs are lost to unlimited foreigners coming into the United States with foreign corporations. This will displace US workers and cause a downward spiral in wages. If the US does not allow foreign corporations entry into the US, it can be sued in the corporate trade tribunals and be forced to do so. TPP no climate justice without trade justice

5. Environmental Standards That Cannot Be Enforced: Environmental standards are written in very vague language making them impossible to enforce. For example the TPP says “Each Party shall strive to ensure that its environmental laws . . .” How do you enforce a standard that says “strive to” as the requirement? Or, each country agrees “to combat” trade in illegal lumber; another unenforceable phrase. Countries are required to “deter” illegal fishing. What does that mean? If they said “ban” illegal fishing you would have something enforceable but “deter” is too vague to enforce

CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP

6. Prevent Legislation To Combat Climate Change: The greatest planetary crisis of our times is climate change. How many times in this nearly 6,000 page document is climate change mentioned? Zero. Not once. In fact, the TPP will undermine climate change legislation and policy by encouraging more extreme extraction and export of gas. Exports to member countries like Japan will be fast tracked through the permitting process. The TPP will give the gas industry the power to sue in corporate tribunals to prevent any laws written to prevent extraction, such as fracking. And, corporate trade agreements will undermine any climate solutions that come out of the United Nations meeting in Paris this December. The TPP will be binding law while the climate agreement will be non-binding and must be consistent with the rights of the gas industry to extract, export and profit from fossil fuels. TPP No TOxic TPP meme

7. Unsafe, Inadequately Labeled Food: The TPP will undermine food safety. Big agribusiness and food corporations had language included that will undermine US food safety oversight and expose consumers to risky imported foods. Corporations can challenge border inspections by giving corporations new powers to second guess inspectors and push uninspected food onto the market. The US will also be required to accept foreign food safety standards that are weaker than US standards. The TPP is the first trade agreement to provide specific biotechnology protections for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Agribusiness and biotech seed companies can use trade rules to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly approve new GMO crops or even require GMO labeling.

8. End of Buy America: The TPP prevents the Federal Government from giving preference to US-manufactured products in their purchases, known as “Buy America.” Foreign bidders must be treated as equal to US bidders. This means the federal government cannot stimulate the economy by creating jobs within its own borders, for example through a national project to build and install renewable sources of energy or remake our transportation system by transitioning our abandoned factories to manufacture solar panels or electric trains. And, developing nations cannot use their limited funds to create jobs in their country but must be open to bidders from developed nations. The TPP requires negotiations within three years on applying these rules to state and local governments to ban “Buy America” preferences at those levels as well, threatening our growing local economies.TPP banging on USTR door

9. Open Internet Threatened: Under the TPP, Internet service providers are coerced into becoming copyright police who enforce the expanded copyright laws. They will have to take down websites that are in violation or face high fines if they fail to do so. Copyrights are expanded until 70 years after the death of the creator, keeping information, art and more out of the public domain. It does not include the “fair use” provisions of current copyright law. The TPP attacks whistle blowers by broadly criminalizing “trade secrets” and expands trade tribunals to allow corporations to sue for intellectual property damage. TPP poses a grave threat to our basic right to information and free speech on the web, and could easily be abused to criminalize common online activities and enforce widespread internet censorship.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP

TPP mass mobilization10. Threatens Public Health Systems Including Medicare and Medicaid: The TPP threatens health systems designed to serve the public interest like Medicare, Medicaid and single payer systems in other countries. It does so by giving greater power to pharmaceutical and other medical companies to demand higher prices for their products and pass the costs of their advertising to patients. TPP “recognize[s] the value” of pharmaceutical products or medical devices through their “objectively demonstrated therapeutic significance,” regardless of whether there are effective, affordable alternatives. This means that medical formularies can be required to include expensive drugs or technology that has no increased value over what is already available. The TPP makes it much more difficult for Medicare to negotiate lower prices. The TPP also blocks generic drugs from entering the market.

These are just some of the reasons why people are rising up against the TPP. A ‘movement of movements’ has developed that represents millions of people around the world who oppose the TPP. This November 14 to 18 join us in Washington, DC to protest and show this widespread opposition to the DC power structure. And sign this petition telling the congressional leadership to reject the TPP. We can stop this disastrous trade pact if we rise up together and say ‘No’ to the TPP.

Kevin Zeese, @KBZeese and Margaret Flowers, @MFlowers8 co-direct Popular Resistance, @PopResistance.

  • Al

    Washington D.C.? Always Washington D.C so the professional activists can keep their professions going and keep getting their donations so they can continue to organize protests in Washington D.C. that don’t do a damn thing. Reach out man! Use your imagination!
    Why don’t people comment on this newsletter/blog? The answer to that question could tell a lot.

  • kevinzeese

    What nonsense. Washington, DC happens to be where the US Trade Rep is, all the embassies of countries that are part of the TPP, the Chamber of Commerce and other K St. Lobbyists, the Congress, the White House and the Reagan trade building.

    If you want to organize something wherever you like – go for it. If you get it off the ground we would be happy to report on it.

  • Al

    Well, it’s frustrating for those of us far away from the East Coast to be invited to all these protests in D.C. when we can’t go. We obviously need something bigger than a protest in D.C., which are now viewed as a tourist attraction, i.e., a regular part of D.C. life. I know last year the possibility of an election boycott came up, has this site given that more thought, a national boycott of the 2016 election with the idea of exposing the fact that we don’t live in a democracy as well as withdrawing consent to being governed by the criminal elite? There are some of us out here trying to get that started such as Danny Haiphong of BAR and State of the Nation.

  • Lili-Ann Berg

    Well said Al. There are activists all over the world who share your concerns.

  • Aquifer

    “This conflict of interest would not be unethical in federal courts.”
    ?

  • Aquifer

    Voting boycotts only serve the interests of TPTB – by removing your voice, theirs gets even louder …

  • Al

    Disagree. Our national election system is a fraud and everyone knows it. The Princeton study for example showed that we live in an oligarchy, not a democracy and that oligarchy is completely corrupted. We have to change the system of government to give the power to the people and it can’t be done by continually playing this stupid game of electing Bush or Clinton or Obama or whoever the ruling class allows us to vote for. It’s time to send the ruling class and the world a message with an organized boycott demanding changes be made now. Voting isn’t going to get us out of this mess, voting for the two ruling class political parties especially. We advocate a boycott of the election except for direct democracy options via State initiatives and referendums. Voting for these politicians in the two major parties indicates consent to be governed, that’s how their power gets stronger. We remove our consent, their power lessens. “If voting did any good, it would be illegal”.

  • jemcgloin

    The national turnout in last week’s election was 30% Have you heard any national media questioning the legitimacy of those elections based on turnout? Of course not. Some local elections have as low as 2% turnout, and still their results are not questioned. Someone wins 51% of the vote and gets the job.
    What if the 42% of eligible citizens that did not vote in the 2012 presidential election had written in somebody they thought would actually be a good president? Then instead of reporting that Barack Obama had won 51% of the vote, they would have had to say that he won with (58% of 51%) 30% of the vote. Can you see how the this would open up possibilities for third party candidates? At the very least, the system would have to think about what they would have to change to capture those voters. At best it would let voters see the actual weakness of the Republicrats and Demublicans and see that they have the power to go a different way? If a large portion of that 42% wrote in the same candidate they might have won. That would be revolutionary.
    If turnout in the next presidential election was only the richest 1%, they would be very happy. Their corporate media would report a successful election of the next corporate stooge. No problem.
    Voting for the lesser evil, just gives you evil. Not voting lets evil claim a big win. If you want to protest fixed elections, try to convince everyone to vote (with a write in if necessary) for the best possible candidate.

  • jemcgloin

    At a time like this, one person handing out flyers at a local transportation hub can make a big difference. This issue is not only important to the left. Many on the right are also against global government, even that run by crony global capitalists. Most people will walk right by, but delivered in the right way, you could open up the eyes of enough people to make a difference. Overpass banner drops, light brigade actions, and other creative techniques can be done anywhere with small numbers of people. I went on to the Fox News TPP article and commented on how meat would not be labeled by country of origin. Took ten minutes, but might help. If you don’t like professional organizers, don’t wait for them to organize.
    We should also be planning an international day of protests like the Feb 15 2003 anti war March (Just saw an excellent film about that by the way: We Are Many, which among other things has Egyptian organizers saying the roots of their protests was not twitter, but that march). There are people in every effected country (including countries that will be in the Tans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which will include another third of the world) who would definitely participate.

  • Al

    And the 2014 election only saw a 37% turnout which is chalked up to “apathy” by the ruling class media. Yes, obviously low voter turnout will be shoved aside unless it’s an organized effort with a publicized message. The problem I have with boycotting only the Dem and Repub ruling class parties is that third parties cannot compete in this system and our time is running short. The criminals in charge are going to take us all down if we don’t do something about this soon and the 2016 election would be a good place to start. We’re going to get Clinton or a Repub, a republican controlled Congress and that’s what we’re facing for the next 8 years. Imagine the damage these **ckers are going to do in the next 8 years. I could see a boycott of the two major political parties ( the evil and lesser evil), and an organized effort at third party or write ins. Either way, something should be done this election, something major.

  • jemcgloin

    You forgot the national press, which as owned as they are still reach millions and are manipulable.

  • Al

    Agree, everything helps. But I can see where this is going and standing on the street corner isn’t going to change it. The TPP is going to become reality and we’re going to be farther up sheet creek. The ruling class doesn’t care what we do, they’re going to implement their systems and wage their wars regardless what we say. We didn’t stop the Vietnam war, we didn’t stop the Iraq war, we didn’t stop the Syria war, we didn’t stop the Keystone pipeline (Warren Buffet did) and we won’t stop the TPP. The only way to stop these things is to change the system, remove these criminals from power and seek justice against them, and bring power to the people, not the corporations and ruling class.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think all options should be on the table, including standing on the street corners. I have my own signs I take down to Portland when I can. I blog, I scream, yell, whatever it takes. I even write to my tea party congress person, as worthless as that is.. We all should. But we need more and we need to admit that.
    I agree, we need a global movement, a global people’s movement.

  • John McGloin

    Since the GOP is doing everything they can to suppress voter turnout (while the DEMs are barely fighting back, as usual) you could probably get them to finance your boycott. They would love for all the lefties to stop voting.
    By the way elections are not enough, what we really need is a political evolution, where most people get involved in governance, and we change the power structures with a bottom up approach, with for example, employee owned cooperatives. But if you want to work on the electoral system you need as many people as possible to vote for good, not “electable” candidates.

  • Al

    Who are those “good” candidates you’re talking about? Certainly not within the dem party which is completely useless to the people at this point. We need a bottom up approach and a top down approach in that we have to stop the criminal psycho’s at the top from continuing their rampage of killing people, destroying countries and stealing all the wealth. If we wait until we elect enough school board members and city council reps it will be too late for many millions.

  • Aquifer

    You don’t have to write in a candidate – the results you speak of could be gotten by voting Green – they will be on the ballot in ’16 – in ’12 Stein was on enough state ballots to get enough EC votes to win – one of only 4, including D/Rs, who were …

  • Aquifer

    So don’t vote D/R – that is a “wasted vote” – Vote Green …

  • Aquifer

    Sure 3rd parties can compete – they are on the ballot, all we have to do is pull those levers …

  • Aquifer

    Greens …

  • Aquifer

    Thank you for making that distinction – the candidates called electable are those labeled as such by the MSM – any candidate on a ballot can win if enough folks vote for ’em ….

  • Aquifer

    An how do you propose to “change the system”?

  • Al

    I don’t think they are given equal opportunity in all states and certainly not at the national level where they can’t even compete in debates. I voted Green in the past, voted for Stein in 2012, but after thinking about this and doing some research have concluded an organized boycott of the system is needed instead. Third party national candidates are extremely rare in the U.S., I think less than five since WWII and even if we could slowly turn that around it would take decades under the current system to have an adequate voice against the two ruling class parties. Also third parties are rife for cooptation as seen in Greece and Portugal so there’s no guarantee the serfs would have any better “representation” than we have now if the third parties compete within this system.

  • kevinzeese

    Writing in does not work because many states do not count write in ballots; others only count them if the write in candidate collects enough signatures to get counted. Also, it would be very hard to get people to agree. The better strategy is vote Green. They have a candidate, will be on almost all the ballots and votes would help to build an alternative to the Wall Street parties.

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  • Aquifer

    Naw, it wouldn’t take decades – it could be done rather rapidly – we start in this election, refusing to vote for any duopoly candidate – i.e. boycott them and let them know we are, but in addition voting FOR Green candidates – a one two punch – I learned decades ago that it is not enough to “throw the bums out” – they just have more bums waiting in the wings, we have to replace them with good non-corp folk ..

  • Al

    I could support that as long as it’s an official boycott of the duopoly. I know a helluva lot of Bernie supporters, who say they will not vote for Clinton if Sanders loses, that are going to need somewhere to go when he is out of the race. However, there are a lot of people who won’t vote Green but other third parties that would join the boycott. So the boycott of the duopoly shouldn’t include support of just the Greens. I don’t think the goal should be to replace the bums, but to overturn the duopoly system.

  • Aquifer

    If you overthrow the duopoly, what will you replace them with …

    And the opposition should come together – a coupla % for a bunch of parties can be dismissed as a splintered, nonthreatening opposition – a decent % for one opposition candidate will make them color their shorts ….

  • Al

    Direct democracy, or some kind of hybrid. I’m old now, I’m not going to be practical about it. We need to end rule by the rich once and for all and be bold. Power to the people man, the (we) hippies had it right.

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  • jemcgloin

    I often vote Green, but many nonvoters I know don’t like them, so they need to find someone else to vote for.

  • Aquifer

    The story about the student who puts an equation outlining the problem on the left side of the blackboard, and an equation for the solution on the right and then writes in the middle – “and then a miracle happens”, as the teacher says, “I’m afraid you’ll have to do better than that” – would seem to apply here …

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