Protesters scaled the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Monday and dropped banners calling for greater transparency and an end to "corporatocracy" over the ongoing and secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement currently in the works between the United States and several Pacific nations.
Those negotiations, which have been brokered entirely behind closed doors, are certain to put corporate profits ahead of both human rights and environmental concerns, opponents of the pact have argued.
Today's banner drop comes as part of a series of actions that started with a rally on Fridayoutside of the trade office and will continue throughout the next several days.
Groups involved in the ongoing protests include FlushTheTPP.org, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Earth First!, Communications Workers of America, Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
“Regulating Wall Street is what we need. It’s time to flush the TPP," Melinda St. Louis, international campaigns director for Public Citizen, said to the crowd on Friday as she stood in front of a large cardboard-constructed roll of toilet paper labeled the TPP Death Star.
"Protecting workers is what we need,” she said.
"Americans cannot afford another back-room deal that offshores manufacturing and service jobs, reduces tax revenues and pushes down wages and benefits in the jobs that remain," Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign said Friday. "Unless exposed to the light of day and real public participation, the TPP is poised to enrich corporate interests at the expense of the economy, the environment and public health at home and abroad."
While the U.S. public and the press have been locked out of TPP meetings, corporate "trade advisers" have participated and been given copies of the agreement.
President Barack Obama announced Thursday he will push fast-track legislation, otherwise known as Trade Promotion Authority, which will allow him to push through trade agreements while taking away congressional powers to amend.
"This is the grand-daddy of trade deals, a very destructive project, and it is happening completely under the radar," Chris Townsend, political director for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), told Common Dreams on Friday.
Watch below for an interview with Public Citizen's Melinda St. Louis at the protest on Friday.
Link to original article from Common Dreams
I was anxious to attend the League of Women Voters Candidate Night because like so many other people in the new 11th District, I knew little about either of the major party candidates. I sat with more than 100 other voters and waited for Kerry Bentivolio to arrive.
With the open seat, Dr. Taj has a more than favorable chance to win. His opponent is Kerry Bentivolio, reindeer rancher, failed business owner and part-time actor who has never held elected office. He has strong ties to libertarian financiers and Tea Party activists but has been ostracized by the Republican Party establishment, having taken large donations from Liberty for All Super PAC, affiliated with Ron Paul.
He may be a Democrat in a largely Republican town, but don't tell that to Canton voters.
Dr. Syed Taj finished fourth out of six candidates in 2008 to win a seat on Canton's Board of Trustees -- the first Democrat elected to the board in recent memory and the only Democrat on the seven-member board.
We also talk economics and tax policy. We can’t just continue to cut our way to prosperity, Taj says. We continue to fire public employees, he says, and that not only impacts quality of life, but it negatively impacts consumer spending.
The sudden resignation of Rep. Thad McCotter led to a tumultuous Republican primary in Michigan's 11th District, but the fallout may also mean a competitive general election for a seat thought until recently to be safely in the GOP column. At least, that's what Syed Taj is counting on.
MI-11 Dr. Syed Tajhttp://www.tajforcongress.com