Saturday, July 4, 2015

We Can Still Defeat TPP

 “When the inexcusable and anti-democratic veil of secrecy surrounding the TPP is finally lifted, and the American people see what is actually in the agreement, they are going to force their representatives in Washington to vote that deal down.”                    Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen

We lost the Fast Track fight, (because of the 13 traitorous Senate Democrats above who sided with Republicans to end debate) but TPP is far from a done deal. Once the text is released, Congress will be debating it for 90 days and the ugly truth the "corporate trade advisors" have been hiding for years will be in open view.  

TPP's unprecedented secrecy
The little we know about TPP, is thanks to Wikileaks. Members of Congress have only recently been able to see portions of the text and are not allowed to take notes, copy pages or even talk about what they read!

We will not be able to see TPP's negotiating texts until four years after it is passed, or is voted down. With TISA we will not be able to see them for five years. What are they hiding?

It is already clear from leaked texts that this is not just a trade deal (only 5 chapters out of 29 are specifically about trade) but it is rather a global power grab by multinational corporations intent on profits at the expense of the earth and our rights. 

Here is what corporate tyranny looks like
I think most Americans would shudder at the thought that multinational corporations could sue US taxpayers for laws and policies that a corporation says could reduce their "expected future profits". Under the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) provision of TPP, these cases would be decided by international tribunals and the judges would be corporate lawyers whose decision would be final. No US court could override them! 

Want clean air, safe food, drinkable water, fair working conditions, labels on GMOs, fracking bans, or bank regulations to prevent another 2008 economic meltdown? TPP will give foreign corporations the right to retaliate against any such laws or regulations and sue us for billions of dollars. Think it can't happen? Unfortunately, under NAFTA and other trade agreements, corporations are already suing nations and winning ($3.5 billion has been paid out and another $14.7 billion in corporate suits are awaiting decision). TPP goes a step further than granting corporations personhood- it makes them more powerful than countries. It gives them nationhood!

"In a threat to our sovereignty and solvency, the TPP would expand the scope of policies that could be attacked. And, there would be 15,000 new foreign corporations empowered by TPP to attack US laws." Expose the TPP 

To me this is the most egregious part of TPP, but there are many other disastrous results of TPP passing- the loss of millions of American jobs (hard for us to compete with Vietnam wages at 29 cents an hour), a race to the bottom for wages and worker safety, increased costs for medicines (Big Pharma made sure patents on drugs would be extended and generics will be at risk), loss of internet freedom,  the end of Buy American policies, the forced importation of foods that do not meet our safety standards, increased environmentally destructive fracking (see the video below) and more. 

The unbridled corporate greed of "Free Trade", or a "Fair Trade" bright future? 
The good news is that a slumbering America has been awakened! Environmental groups, workers, family farmers, internet freedom advocates, people of faith and organizations for food safety and public health have all come together to fight this corporate takeover. It's about time that we started to marshal all our forces to restore democracy and to protect what is dear to us and makes America great. 

This is just the beginning of a movement to create a new paradigm of trade that protects our earth and ensures our basic human rights- our ability to live in freedom, safety and dignity. Fair Trade lifts all people to a better standard of living and ensures a viable and sustainable future for all of our children. 

TPP and its partners TISA* (Trade in Services Agreement) and TTIP (the European version of TPP) do just the opposite. They benefit the very few, the plutocratic elite, at the expense of the rest of us. This unholy triumvirate would make our lives less safe, more polluted, miserable and eventually unlivable as measures to deal with climate change would be seen as barriers to trade. We are already seeing the effects from NAFTA and TPP is NAFTA on steroids.

So let's roll up our sleeves and "Get to work!" as Ed Schultz of MSNBC says. By the way, he deserves kudos for being practically the only journalist who has covered these terrible, plutocratic deals from the beginning. We need to exert more pressure for others to follow his lead.

There are many organizations leading this fight- join them! Public Citizen, Flush the TPP, Progressive Democrats of America- TPP Media March, MoveOn, Sierra Club and more. 

Remember, Fast Track only won in the House by two votes- we can defeat final passage of TPP there. Pledge to keep up the fight hereWe can do this. We have to do this!

*Please note this article "Leaked TISA Documents Reveal Privacy Threat" was in Forbes magazine -  hardly a bastion of left-wing thinking. It's time for the "left" and "right" to come together on this! We have to go beyond labels to save our democracy.