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TPP News and Overviews

Two diaries in one     From March 15, 2013

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.

From Nov. 11, 2011

Look Out Pacific Rim: Here Comes O’Bomba’s Free Trade Deal to F*** You (and Us) Up

As he exited the closed-door Asia-Pacific Cooperation Council yesterday in Honolulu where he and Our President are ‘negotiating’ the  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ,  Timmeh Geithner warned the European nations that they’d damned well better save the economy on their side of the pond…or else.

He didn’t go so far to remind us that what’s at risk is a global depression, but he still either believes or pretends to believe that injecting capital liquidity into the insolvent banking system coupled with draconian austerity moves and privatization of public infrastructure in  failing nations like Greece and Italy can act as anything more than a temporary band-aid.  Given that he’s corrupt, not stupid, I’m voting for the latter.

Please remember as you read the rest of the post that a major cause of the insolvency of Euro banks is due to the massive amount of toxic debt they now hold via trades in the form of opaque financial derivatives Wall Street Hucksters peddled around the globe that turned out to be fraudulent and almost worthless .  Estimates of the global debt they represent vary, but just how many hundreds of trillions of dollars worth ceases to have much meaning at some point.

Remember also how far this administration has gone to block any real financial reform, prosecute any banking fraud, and continues to steal from taxpayers to bail out banks and multinational corporations to serve the uber-wealthy Masters of the Universe.  Okay?

In the next leg of cynical Shock Doctrine pretense to stimulate the American economy and ‘create millions of jobs for American workers’, this seventeen (give or take)-nation trade ‘cooperation’ bill seems to be on the fast track.  Support for it on the various financial websites is no huge surprise, as in:’ There’s plenty good money to be made…by supplyin’ the ___ with tools and trade… yada yada.’  Europe seems not to be buying much just now (s/), so with that in mind, financial moguls are speaking of ‘pivoting toward the Pacific Rim nations whose developing economies actually are buying stuff. Looking at this partial list of the over 600 multinational corporation representatives who have been named as official negotiators at the talks gives you some idea of whose interests are being served: Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric and Time-Warner…and the rest of the usual suspects.

In terms of human and labor rights, this is another disaster we are creating for citizens in other nations, according to PC and civil organizations.  This section’s header on Global Trade’s pdf speaks for itself:

New Foreign Investor Privileges That Promote Offshoring and Give Corporations the Right to Attack Domestic Policies in Foreign Tribunals.”

I apologize for the long set-up to this sick irony concerning the warnings to Europe Obama and Geithner have issued to the European nations, this section will blow you right out of your chair:

“More financial services deregulation? The Trans-Pacific FTA is viewed by Wall Street as a mechanism to lock in financial deregulation throughout the Pacific Rim, even as countries are regulating the sector following the global financial crisis. Negotiations are now based on a text (started prior to the financial crisis, during the George W. Bush administration) that forbids countries from maintaining or establishing specific types of regulation for financial sectors they “liberalize” under the pact, even if such policies are applied to domestic and foreign firms alike. Past “trade” pact financial services rules forbid bans on risky financial products and services, limits on the size of financial firms, risk-limiting “firewalls” and bans on toxic derivatives. They also severely limit the use of capital controls, which many nations have implemented since the crisis to stop incoming floods of speculative “hot money” or sudden outflows that can destabilize entire economies.”

Now if you’re a ‘Just-can’t-quit-him’ Obama supporter, you may say that the ink ain’t dry on this deal yet; surely the administration will fix that bit.  But that would be idiocy, IMO, given the other leaked provisions that could only have been created by the Goldman Sachs of the world.  This is pure gold to Banksters…and would doom these nations’ taxpayers to same conditions of economic poverty that is becoming pandemic within the 99% of Americans whose futures no longer matter to the Ruling Class.

According to Public Citizen, in October, 2011, leaks coming out of the TPP talks concerning pharmaceutical monopolization read in part:

“Obama Administration Positions Roll Back Initial 2007 Reforms Made by Bush Administration on Medicines Patents, Abandon Access to Medicines Commitments

LIMA, Peru – Leaks of U.S. proposals for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reveal that the Obama administration has reversed initial reforms to U.S. trade pact drug patent policies to enhance access to affordable medicines that were made during the George W. Bush administration, while also demanding new rights for pharmaceutical firms to challenge pricing and other drug formulary policies used by many countries to keep down prices, said Public Citizen as the ninth round of talks get under way in Peru.”

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.”

There’s plenty more about the subterfuge, i.e., corrupt profiteering disguised as ‘help’ at the link above.

The Economic Policy Institute has calculated that the last three ‘fair’ trade deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia will cost a net loss of over 200,000 jobs (over what time period is not clear to me) since they will increase imports more than exports.  Lowered tariffs with TPP would create even more imports/export imbalance, which of course would harm US labor.  “But don’t you want to pay lower prices at Walmart?” would be the only question that would have any weight with some ignorant and impoverished voters who might care about this issue.  In bold moves (s/), Big Labor leaders have written strongly-worded letters to the US Trade Representative.

That much of the TPP deal is about limiting China’s influence in the region is obvious, but the CNBC piece also has quotes about US Military influence in the region.  Only the most naïve Americans might believe that our foreign policy and military moves are not intertwined with corporate interests, i.e.: more fascism.

“Asia has been a stated foreign policy priority for Obama since his first days in office, but wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the Middle East soon diverted much of his attention.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said this week the winding down of U.S. involvement in those conflicts offered a chance for the Democrat to focus more on the Asia-Pacific, which he described as “a region that is really going to shape the future of the 21st century.”

Hu is set to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the summit, as well as the presidents and prime ministers from Japan, Canada, Peru and Vietnam.”

Wow.  And: really?  Unwinding Afghanistan?

Todd Tucker and Lori Wallach have written for the American Prospect about the deal, and how far Obama, et.al. have gone to construct deals that are much loved by Republicans, and how harmful the leaked drafts concerning the reduction of tariffs on goods coming into the US will be to the part of our economy that affects US, while the multinationals’ profits will soar.  Politifact crunched the numbers and found that the US actually exports more goods to nations with which we don’t have trade deals.

Again: Just wow.

Occupies everywhere need to have this information; share it as you can.  Ya say ya want a Revolution?

* TPP would unite the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in a single free-trade community. TPP would lower tariffs and other trade barriers among the nine countries. The U.S. hopes the promise of open access will entice Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and others to join and eventually extend the free-trade zone throughout the Pacific Rim.

4 responses to “TPP News and Overviews

  1. Wow, the Ides of May already. One of your best recent diaries and worth a refresher for my “flawless,” memory regarding important details. ;-)

    Thanks wendydavis.

  2. mornin’, nonquixote. i figured all that information and the links were worth saving *exactly* because my memory is cottage cheese, lol. i only found two i’d written on the ttp on accountta i couldn’t remember the other titles: that’s how bad it is. obomba had promised to fast track it, and have it all wrapped up in lead foil by october, but with penny pritzker at commerce, and the new trade rep, they may make it happen even before that. (can’t imagine she won’t be confirmed.) john kerry’s brother cameron is acting sect’y of commerce now, it seems; he’s prolly a busy bee himself.

    just for fun, i ran into this ry cooder paen to OWS this mornin’ while looking for a song he wrote for a protest at the LA Times. seems the koch brothers are tryin’ to buy the paper; arrrgh. wallstreet, tpp; yep, it works. ;~)

  3. Here’s what they’re saying Down Under (the corporates, that is) – this is coming right up, May 19-21:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1305/S00366/research-us-remains-critical-trade-partner-nzus-council.htm

  4. Hmmm…kiwi officials seem to be sensing a wrap-up, eh? and all they need to do is quote this paragraph to receive a host of support/ers:

    “New Zealand’s share of American imports has declined as has the United States share of New Zealand imports. New Zealand provides 0.15% of American imports down from 0.26% in 1991. The US share of New Zealand imports has dropped from 17% to 9.3% in the same period. This underscores the importance of TPP and the boost it will give to two way trade and investment.”

    have you seen any major announcements of protests of the conference?

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