The following was written by Victor Tiffany of Ithaca and is published with his permission.
Click on the above graphic to get a two page PDF copy of this article, perfect to share by email or pass out at meetings, for example at Rep. Reed’s Town Hall Meetings.
Call it NAFTA on steroids. Call it a corporate coup d’etat. Call it corporate insurance plan against democracy. Call it Citizens United on crack. Call it ObamaTrade. Call it all the above, and you’d be correct.
If you want to get a good understanding of how thoroughly corrupted our government in Washington is, check out the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the latest in a series of “trade” deals that is heading towards passage soon in Congress; and, like its predecessors, NAFTA and CAFTA it will be sucking jobs out of the US for years to come.
But it’s far worse than that. The TPP, as with earlier trade deals, is being negotiated in secret. The reason for this is that there are so many outrages in it which undermine US sovereignty and democratic control, and so many things in the deal that benefit multinational corporations at the expense of American workers and consumers, that there would be almost universal outrage if they were known.
How would the TPP be “a corporate insurance plan against democracy?” If passed by Congress, the TPP would establish secret, corporate tribunals, called Investor State Dispute Settlement, to protect profits. For example, if a foreign company or a foreign-based subsidiary of an American company wants to frack for gas in New York, they could sue New York State for profits lost as a consequence of the ban currently in place. NY taxes would go up to pay for lost profits from foreign corporations. Who would pay for these “lost profits?” New York tax payers!
We also know from TPP draft chapters leaked in June, 2011 that the TPP will grant twenty year patents for pharmaceuticals that can be renewed if a new indication is found. This is designed to prevent generics and protect profits. The TPP will also undermine public health efforts by raising health care costs for public health systems and by preventing public health education efforts, such as anti-tobacco campaigns, if they are viewed as conflicting with corporate profits.
Why are they doing this? The members of Congress of both parties, who have been flooded with campaign contributions (legal bribes) by corporate PACs, want to ensure that TPP is passed without discussion. The democratic republic that was founded in blood in 1776 is controlled by giant corporations loyal only to wealthy owners, and by a political class that has decided it’s much more profitable to legislate in favor of those transnational corporations than to legislate in favor of the people who voted them into office. Critics accurately call this “pay to play.”
Republicans and Democrats in Congress and President Obama want to pass this pact without letting the public find out what’s in it. The mainstream media has cooperated with them. Over the past 18 months, network evening news has completely ignored the TPP. A transcript search of the CBS Evening News, ABC’s World News Tonight, and NBC’s Nightly News from August 1, 2013, through January 31, 2015, found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership!
What is fast-track?
Urging bipartisan support for Trade Promotion Authority, a “fast track” bill to bypass constitutional congressional modification and oversight and to speed passage of the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal (more far-reaching than NAFTA and bound to further undermine jobs and manufacturing) the president telegraphed his support of the corporate agenda. Only five of 29 chapters of the TPP have anything to do with trade; the remainder amount to a huge corporate power grab.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan joined leaders of the Senate Finance Committee to offer legislation on so-called trade-promotion authority, which subjects trade deals to an up-or-down vote by Congress. This means Congress cannot modify the agreement to remove the Investor State Dispute Settlement section or any other part of this corporate give-away. There is also no separation clause in the TPP. Once in, the U.S. will be stuck with it forever!
For more information on the TPP, see: www.exposetheTPP.org
Call your representatives in Congress and tell them to vote “No” on fast-track authority (up or down vote with no possibility of amending the pact) and “No” on the TPP. Unlike the Citizens United decision, we the people can stop this corporate coup before it becomes the law of the land; but only if you act.
To call your representatives, use: www.stopfasttrack.com. This website tracks the number of calls going into Congress and lists many organizations opposing this raw deal.
Congressman Reed claims to represent his constituents, but this claim will be determined by how he votes on Trade Promotion Authority (fast-track) and the TPP. Foreign corporations or his constituents?
Don’t have a computer? Call Reed’s Washington office next week:
Senator Schumer: 631-753-0978. Senator Gillibrand: 212-688-6262.
Communications Workers of America has produced a two minute video explaining the Investor State Dispute Settlement. You can view it here.