By Staff for Northwest Labor Press – The damage to their relationship to organized labor is beginning to be felt. The Northwest Oregon Labor Council resolved not to invite them to its annual Labor Day picnic this year. The announcement of that decision was greeted with general applause at the July 7 meeting of the state AFL-CIO Executive Board. Likewise, the Oregon AFL-CIO won’t be inviting any Fast Track Democrats to its biennial convention in Seaside this October. That’s never happened before. And there’s more to come. “Our message is: ‘You damaged the relationship. It’s up to you to fix it,’” Oregon AFL-CIO president Tom Chamberlain explained at the Executive Board meeting. Senator Wyden is up for re-election in 2016, and so are all the Fast Track Democrats in the House, since they must run every two years. United Food and Commercial Workers, both nationally and in Oregon, has resolved not to support to the re-election campaigns of members of Congress who voted for Fast Track, in any way. And at least one other national union is ready to back a primary challenger to Wyden, if one should emerge.
By Lori Wallach for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch – TPP proponents are eager for Congress to vote on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in late 2015. But to do so, given Fast Track’s statutorily-required timeframe of notice periods and pre-vote reports, TPP negotiations must be completed – and the TPP text itself – by the end of July. If notice to Congress of intent to sign the TPP were sent by August 1, a final TPP vote could be held the last week Congress is in session in December. Assuming the quickest timeline conceivable under the Fast Track rules and that somehow a required International Trade Commission (ITC) report on TPP impacts could be completed faster than has ever occurred for past pacts*, a TPP vote could take place about four and one half months after Congress is given notice of intent to sign a deal. Thus, negotiations must conclude at the July 28-31 TPP ministerial and a text must be ready for notice of intent to sign by August 1. That text must be publicly posted on August 30. This would allow for a vote the week of December 14. After that, Congress goes on recess and a vote would roll to 2016.
By Margaret Flowers and Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins for FlushtheTPP.org. Germantown, MD – It has been one month since Fast Track passed through US Congress. Now we are starting a mass mobilization effort to stop the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). One part of the effort to Stop the TPP is to hold members of Congress accountable, by birddogging them wherever they go and challenging them in upcoming elections. Already, this has been happening across the country. On July 16 a small group from Communication Workers of America (CWA), FlushtheTPP, and Popular Resistance protested Congressman John Delaney’s vote to Fast Track the TPP at a community forum. See the video here: filmed and edited by Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins.
By Lee Camp in Redacted Tonight. Washington, DC – Following a week of impressive Supreme Court decisions, many are saying Obama’s legacy is secure. But is it really? Has all of America forgotten about the war on whistle blowers, the war on immigrants, the war on drugs, war on privacy, and the war on civilians living underneath drone aircraft? This not mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the continuing pillaging by Wall Street. So how exactly is Obama’s legacy secure? Well, sometimes it takes a comedy show to break all this down.
By Rivera Sun – In our real lives, we are witnessing the advance of the corporate coup. The latest slurry of acronyms (TAA, TPA, FTA, TPP, TTIP) spells out the coded story of the rise of corporate power over living, breathing people. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is still shrouded in secrecy, but one detail we know from leaked text is that a transnational trade tribunal will have the authority to overturn local, state, and federal laws as barriers to trade. Gone is our right to clean water and air. (China doesn’t have them, so neither should US citizens – such regulations hamper corporations’ ability to compete.) Gone is the dream of living wages (third world nations don’t have them, and neither should Americans – it gets in the way of corporations finding cheap labor).
By Storm Clouds Gathering – Under the TPP, if a country passes a law to protect its citizens or reduce pollution in a particular sector, a multinational corporation which is affected by that law can take that country to a tribunal. The ruling will be legally binding. It doesn’t matter what people voted for. An example of what this will look can be found in Uruguay, which has been sued by the Philip Morris tobacco company. You see, Uruguay passed a law requiring particularly aggressive warning labels on cigarettes. These warning labels have been very effective. Smoking in Uruguay has declined by about 4 percent annually. Obviously that’s bad for business.
By Kevin Zeese and Paul Jay in The Real News – We’re basically at the stage of dealing with giving the President trade promotion authority, which we call fast track because it means Congress has a very cursory role. They just debate it on the two floors. No amendments, an up or down vote, if the President has that power. They also had to pass a separate piece for labor assistance called TAA, which was to provide assistance to workers who lose their job because of trade. So this is all procedural. This is how they’re going to approach the trade issue. They could have approached it without fast track. Had committee hearings, had expert witnesses, took testimony, debated in committee rooms, taken citizen input, had a floor debate, amendments on the floor.
By Margaret Flowers in Popular Resistance. In the days leading up to the Fast Track votes in the Senate, the activist community mobilized in an amazing way. Actions were held across the country, particularly focusing on the fourteen Democratic Senators who supported Fast Track in the last round. On June 23, the Senate held a procedural vote on the Fast Track bill that just reached the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. This clears the way for the final vote which is expected to pass easily. Of the 14 Democrats who supported Fast Track previously, all but one voted to advance the vote.
By Staff of Popular Resistance. Note: Forty three members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the members of the US House of Representatives last week urging them to oppose Fast Track. They highlighted the broad reach of the treaties currently under negotiation and the importance of exploring their full impacts on their constituents before moving ahead on them. Like the US Congress, members of the EU Parliament have been excluded from the secret negotiations with limited access to the text. Unlike the US Congress, they do not have a choice whether they Fast Track the treaties or not. They advise the US Congress not to cede their power to provide checks and balances to the executive office. This week, the parliamentarians decided to publish their similar letter to the US Senate as an open letter for all to read. Here it is:
By Paola Casale in Op-Ed News. Next week will be the key votes in the US Senate on Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority. See here on what you can do to stop it. The article below shows the kind of corruption we are up against. It covers the US House of Representatives where a vote was held last week. The vote was 218 in favor of TPA. That is the exact number for a majority in the US House of Representatives (10 did not vote in the House). The battle over TPA has become a conflict between people and money. The people won in the House two weeks ago but than the Republican leadership working with President Obama manipulated the rules for a re-vote. But rather than a re-vote they came up with a scheme to avoid a re-vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance which they lost in the House and stopped TPA from becoming law. They created a convoluted process that now looks on the verge of success that will make it very hard to stop the Obama trade agreements that will dramatically shift power to corporations over the global economy and all levels of US government.
By Lee Stewart for Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – The dome was encased in a rigid web of scaffolding as I rushed by. Looking up at it on my way to the corner of Independence Avenue and New Jersey Avenue SE, I saw a country trying to hide a fatal illness. It’s beyond repair, I mumbled to myself, thinking about the deep underlying rot I see everywhere I look. Walking in the shadow of the Capitol Building in the day’s rising heat, my ears were still ringing. Made uneasy by the inadequate yet intensifying public scrutiny faced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the captive government agency that receives its funding from the very industry it purports to regulate, the rule-makers there no longer allow its outspoken critics inside the room where monthly public meetings are held.
By David Dayen in Propsect – Pharmaceutical companies, software makers, and Hollywood conglomerates get expanded intellectual property enforcement, protecting their patents and their profits. Some of this, such as restrictions on generic drugs, is at the expense of competition and consumers. Firms get improved access to poor countries with nonexistent labor protections, like Vietnam or Brunei, to manufacture their goods. TPP provides assurances that regulations, from food safety to financial services, will be “harmonized” across borders. In practice, that means a regulatory ceiling. In one of the most contested provisions, corporations can use the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process, and appeal to extra-judicial tribunals that bypass courts and usual forms of due process to seek monetary damages equaling “expected future profits.”