Newsflash:
Issues End Corporate Rule Trans Pacific Partnership Secretive Free Trade Agreement Puts Climate, Public Health at Risk
Monday, 16 September 2013 02:45

Secretive Free Trade Agreement Puts Climate, Public Health at Risk

Written by  Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

New warnings on TPP, free trade 'regime' fostering 'global emergency situation'

As secretive talks over the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—the pending free trade agreement slammed as "NAFTA on steroids" and "a quiet coup for the investor class"—continue, new warnings highlight the corporate winners and global losers at stake.

As Kristen Beifus, director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition,wrote,

The corporate powers granted in the TPP can override domestic laws on environmental health and safety, and labor and citizens’ rights. Not only that, but multinationals can claim that those domestic laws hamper free trade and sue member countries for millions of dollars. The TPP is in many ways an attempt to revive the stalled expansion of the World Trade Organization.

In other words, as Food & Water Watch's Mitch Jones explained, TPP would be a "permanent power grab by corporations" that "would permanently enshrine the very economic system that has lead to greater imbalances in income and wealth and increasing economic crises."

Save the climate, ditch 'free trade'

Charging that "To confront the climate emergency we need to dismantle the WTO and the free trade regime," groups including La Via Campesina, Focus on the Global South and Oilwatch International explain that the logic of free trade policies, including the TPP,

promotes the construction of market-oriented and imbalanced economies that focus on the demands of the market rather than the needs of their people on the ground. These export-oriented economies also bleed Mother Nature in order to exploit the most out of it provoking disruptions in the environment as we are seeing now with climate change, biodiversity loss and the destruction of ecosystems. This is the capitalist logic – nature is just a thing to be exploited for profit.

The real beneficiaries of this [sic] imbalanced trade rules of the WTO are the transnational corporations since in reality, they are the ones that have more “comparative advantages” than fledgling national and domestic infant industries. In a world of free trade flows - as the WTO aspires – transnational corporations are free to enter and move between countries, choosing those with cheap labor and relaxed regulations and at the same time able to exit and move out just as easily after it has exhausted and grabbed the natural resources, leaving in several cases, their toxic waste.

At the same time, the losers are many – the farmers who lose their farms as they cannot compete with cheap food imports that flood the local markets, the workers whose jobs are made even more unstable and precarious with the pressure to lower labor standards, the persons who are forced to migrate because of loss of livelihood, the women who are most times those who bear the brunt of economic distress on the family and community, the indigenous people who are displaced from their lands, and Mother Earth.

And as Common Dreams contributor and organic dairy farmer Jim Goodman points out, with TPP,

Policies promoting sustainably produced foods sourced from local small-scale farmers for consumption in schools or institutions, could be deemed to unfairly discriminate against foreign suppliers.

Trade liberalization and elimination of local control will promote more intensive fossil fuel based agricultural production that is the exact opposite of the type of farming we must promote to reverse agriculture's contribution to climate change.

Uprisings against such trade agreements and their effects are taking place now, as small-scale farmers in Colombia, joined by gorwing numbers of civil society, have launched a series of protests against the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement that has devastated local agriculture.

More losers:  public health, and probably you

Among the losers of the TPP,  according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), are most U.S. workers.  In a report released Tuesday, CEPR economist David Rosnick looks at projections for the effect of trade on inequality and finds that

in fact, most workers are likely to lose — the exceptions being some of the bottom quarter or so whose earnings are determined by the minimum wage; and those with the highest wages who are more protected from international competition. Rather, many top incomes will rise as a result of TPP expansion of the terms and enforcement of copyrights and patents.

Another potential loser:  public health, thanks to a potential cave to Big Tobacco.

As Vietnam's Thanh Nien Dailyreports,

The US government has sought to include tobacco in a regional free-trade pact, which would enable tobacco companies to use trade rules to compromise government anti-smoking regulations.

In talks that began August 23 in Brunei for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), if the US proposal is accepted, Big Tobacco could sue countries that enact anti-smoking laws deemed to be in breach of the TPP, health groups say.

Watchdog group Public Citizen notes that "The Obama administration has drawn sharp criticism from leading health organizationsU.S. state representatives, and New York mayorMichael Bloomberg" for this cave to Big Tobacco.  Public Citizen continues:

The TPP's extreme investor privileges would empower tobacco corporations to skirt domestic legal systems and attack tobacco control policies before extrajudicial tribunals as a means of intimidating policymakers who would dare to enact such safeguards. The Obama administration's proposal does nothing to limit, or even to address, this empowerment of Big Tobacco.

Unfortunately, the investor-state threat is not a hypothetical one. Phillip Morris has already used such investor privileges in other treaties to attack landmark anti-smoking laws in Australia and Uruguay after failing to undermine those health laws in domestic courts.  As Andrew Martin points out in Bloomberg,Philip Morris has been leading Big Tobacco's battle to pressure the Obama administration to weaken tobacco-control safeguards in the TPP.

The Obama administration's caving to that pressure makes clear the TPP's very real threat to public health.  As Laurent Huber of Action on Smoking and Health stated, the new tobacco-friendly proposal for TPP "will mean more lives lost, both here in the US and abroad.” It is more crucial than ever to expose the TPP and to stop it from being fast tracked through Congress. Our health depends on it.

* * *

"We are living a global emergency situation," the environmental justice groups write, and the solution will come from nothing short of a paradigm shift away from free trade policies that threaten the climate, food sovereignty and the global "99%."

"If we are to save nature and humanity, we need to change the system and changing the system means dismantling the free trade regime."

Link to original article from Common Dreams

Read 5394 times Last modified on Monday, 16 September 2013 03:01

End Corporate Rule

  • Protest Groups Call for Linking Arms on Wall Street to Stop the Destruction of the Ecosystem
    Protest Groups Call for Linking Arms on Wall Street to Stop the Destruction of the Ecosystem #FloodWallStreet – A day of non-violent direct action, Monday September 22nd: Thousands of demonstrators are planning to disrupt business-as-usual on Wall Street and at the NY Stock Exchange, sending a message to Obama and world leaders meeting at the UN Climate Summit on the 23rd: “Our economic system both causes, and profits from the crisis that is threatening humanity.”
    Written on Monday, 15 September 2014 18:37 Read more...
  • The Senate Tried to Overturn 'Citizens United' Today. Guess What Stopped Them?
    The Senate Tried to Overturn 'Citizens United' Today. Guess What Stopped Them? A majority of the United States Senate has voted to advance a constitutional amendment to restore the ability of Congress and the states to establish campaign fundraising and spending rules with an eye toward preventing billionaires and corporations from buying elections.
    Written on Saturday, 13 September 2014 14:48 Read more...
  • Bipartisan Case for a Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Finance
    Bipartisan Case for a Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Finance Following recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions dismantling our nation’s campaign finance laws, all Americans are certainly not equal on Election Day. With 5-4 split decisions, the court has given corporations the ability to spend unlimited money to persuade voters, and also declared limits on large donations to be the equivalent of infringement on speech.
    Written on Monday, 08 September 2014 21:46 Read more...
  • Coalition Asks John McCain to Support Constitutional Amendment, Hits a Glass Wall
    Coalition Asks John McCain to Support Constitutional Amendment, Hits a Glass Wall On Thursday, a broad coalition of activists met at Senator John McCain's office in an upscale building at a tony Camelback Road address to ask him to sponsor a constitutional amendment. Known as the Democracy For All amendment, it would overturn the Supreme Court 's decision on Citizens United from four years ago. You know — the decision that allowed all that money from 'corporations-are-people-too' into the political process.
    Written on Saturday, 06 September 2014 13:13 Read more...
  • Activists Deliver Amendment Petitions to 21 Senate Offices
    Activists Deliver Amendment Petitions to 21 Senate Offices

    Congress may be on recess, but activists across the country are not taking a break from the nationwide push to get big money out of politics. Today activists teamed up for a massive petition drop, delivering petitions in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United to 21 Senate offices in 15 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington).

    Written on Friday, 22 August 2014 15:41 Read more...
  • On the Hill with Heroes and Tap Dancers
    On the Hill with Heroes and Tap Dancers I think the bad guys are sacred of the heroes and the tap dancers are managing a shuffle ball change just enough to keep in step with re-election. Thursday July 24, 2014, twenty-three heroes, Americans voting with their time to reverse the Supreme Court erosion of our equality of citizenship, congregated in the Russell Senate building waiting for Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va).
    Written on Friday, 08 August 2014 13:57 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Quietly Racked Up A Nice Win
    Elizabeth Warren Quietly Racked Up A Nice Win Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) got her way on Tuesday when the Federal Reserve rejected the living will plans for most Wall Street banks.
    Written on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 22:15 Read more...
  • The Koch Brothers' Reign of Terror: How Their Great Wealth Is Buying Our Government
    The Koch Brothers' Reign of Terror: How Their Great Wealth Is Buying Our Government

    It seems like every e-mail I receive these days from a Democratic Senate candidate or Senator up for re-election this cycle includes a warning that the infamous Koch brothers will do anything, no matter the cost, to take over the US Senate - and with it, our country.

    Written on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 15:20 Read more...
  • The Ultimate Goal of the NSA is Total Population Control
    The Ultimate Goal of the NSA is Total Population Control At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that's a 'totalitarian mentality'
    Written on Sunday, 03 August 2014 22:52 Read more...
  • Democrats Introduce Bill that Could Lead to Impeachment for Justices Thomas and Scalia
    Democrats Introduce Bill that Could Lead to Impeachment for Justices Thomas and Scalia

    On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed a law to establish a Code of Conduct  for the Supreme Court.

    It’s surely to have Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia quaking in their Tea Party boots because it would mean they would actually have to be independent of political and other influences. They would also have to have the appearance of independence.  They would have to stay away from political activity. That part would be really hard.

    Written on Sunday, 06 July 2014 14:47 Read more...
  • California makes an official call for a U.S. Constitutional Convention to overturn Citizens United
    California makes an official call for a U.S. Constitutional Convention to overturn Citizens United

    On June 23rd the State Senate passed AJR 1, making California the second state in the union to officially call for an Article V constitutional convention for the sole purpose of passing a United States constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn Citizens United v. FEC and limit the corrupting influence of money in our electoral process.

    Written on Thursday, 26 June 2014 13:29 Read more...
  • New Organization Hangs Sign: 'Whistleblowers Welcome'
    New Organization Hangs Sign: 'Whistleblowers Welcome'

    A new organization called ExposeFacts—backed by well-known source of The Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg—is debuting itself in Washington, DC on Wednesday as a new place where government and corporate employees aware of wrongdoing can more safely and securely report their concerns.

    Written on Sunday, 08 June 2014 13:54 Read more...
  • 'Astroturf' Groups Leading Drive to Kill Open Internet
    'Astroturf' Groups Leading Drive to Kill Open Internet

    The telecommunications industry is creating and funding front groups which pose as consumer organizations and aggressively lobby to kill net neutrality, journalist Lee Fang revealed in an article published in Vice on Friday.

    Written on Sunday, 08 June 2014 13:39 Read more...
  • John Oliver Calls on Angry Internet Trolls to Save Net Neutrality (video)
    John Oliver Calls on Angry Internet Trolls to Save Net Neutrality (video)

    It’s a sad state of affairs when a country that touts freedom of the press depends upon cable TV comedy shows to hear the real news.

    Written on Friday, 06 June 2014 04:19 Read more...
  • Oligarchy Enshrined
    Oligarchy Enshrined

    Why the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling is good news for the super-rich and bad news for progressive Democrats.

    At the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative election lawyer and a baby-faced electrical engineer from Alabama with a made-for-TV Southern drawl began plotting how to unravel federal campaign finance regulations.

    Written on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 01:21 Read more...
  • Lincoln Didn't Fight the Civil War to Free the Corporations - Video
    Lincoln Didn't Fight the Civil War to Free the Corporations - Video

    This is an idea worth spreading - so - please watch & share with 5 or 10 friends. It’s important to get money out of politics and the average person back in. Also - leave a message on the YouTube and let TED know - this is one of the most important issues of the day."

    Written on Thursday, 15 May 2014 17:16 Read more...
  • Out of the Shadows: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    Out of the Shadows: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is, as they boast on its website, the world's largest business organization, as well as the nation's largest corporate lobbying group. It is also a recipient of some of the largest amounts of so-called "dark" money in the country, refusing to disclose to the public its donors or even the amounts it receives. 

    Written on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 15:56 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders Raises Battle Cry Against Citizens United: "I Vote for Democracy!"
    Bernie Sanders Raises Battle Cry Against Citizens United: "I Vote for Democracy!"

    Citizens United is not just the default reference for US Supreme Court decisions—including the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling—that have ushered in a new era of corporate dominance of American elections. It’s the name of the conservative group that encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts and the most activist Court majority in American history to tear the heart out of what were already weak campaign finance laws.

    Written on Sunday, 13 April 2014 04:24 Read more...
  • Local protests held in response to Supreme Court donation ruling
    Local protests held in response to Supreme Court donation ruling

    PITTSFIELD -- Their signs read "Get Big Money Out of Politics," "Democracy Is Not For Sale" and "This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like." About a dozen of them stood in Park Square on Wednesday evening, one of 130 "rapid response events" coordinated nationwide to protest that morning's Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC.    

    Written on Friday, 04 April 2014 14:38 Read more...
  • With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy
    With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy

    Any doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.

    Written on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 22:24 Read more...
  • TPM Interview: The Brown Grad Student Who Chased The NRA Out Of Rhode Island
    TPM Interview: The Brown Grad Student Who Chased The NRA Out Of Rhode Island

    Sam Bell is in the third year of a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Geology as in rocks. But Bell also moonlights as the the state coordinator of The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, the state affiliate of the 10-year-old Progressive Democrats of America. And in his work with The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, Bell was instrumental to the investigation that ultimately led to the National Rifle Association paying the second largest campaign finance fine in the state's history.

    Written on Thursday, 27 February 2014 22:13 Read more...
  • Thank a Postal Worker This Holiday Season
    Thank a Postal Worker This Holiday Season

    Postal workers are giving it their all this holiday season, as cards and packages and returns must be collected and delivered amidst ice storms, snowstorms and wild temperature drops.

    They deserve our thanks in 2013.

    And our support in 2014.

    Written on Thursday, 26 December 2013 23:49 Read more...
  • Fast Food Giants Gorge on Subsidies
    Fast Food Giants Gorge on Subsidies

    Thanks to a loophole that subsidizes CEO pay, McDonald's, Yum Brands, Wendy's, Burger King, Domino's, and Dunkin' Brands trimmed $64 million from their tax bills in 2011 and 2012.

    The fast food industry is notorious for handing out lean paychecks to their burger flippers and fat ones to their CEOs. What’s less well-known is that taxpayers are actually subsidizing fast food incomes at both the bottom — and top — of the industry.

    Written on Monday, 02 December 2013 23:07 Read more...
  • This Thanksgiving, Let's Celebrate AgriCULTURE, Not AgriBUSINESS
    This Thanksgiving, Let's Celebrate AgriCULTURE, Not AgriBUSINESS

    In December 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came tantalizingly close to getting the U.S. Senate to reject Earl Butz, Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture. A coalition of grass-roots farmers, consumers and scrappy public interest organizations (like the Agribusiness Accountability Project that Susan DeMarco and I then headed) teamed up with some gutsy, unabashedly progressive senators to undertake the almost impossible challenge of defeating the cabinet nominee of a president who'd just been elected in a landslide.

    Written on Friday, 29 November 2013 00:06 Read more...
  • Arizona Democratic Party Shows Its Progressive Side at State Committee Meeting
    Arizona Democratic Party Shows Its Progressive Side at State Committee Meeting

    Progressive voices were heard loud and clear at Saturday’s Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) State Committee Meeting in Maricopa, Arizona.

    Unlike some past ADP meetings where progressives were ignored or where progressive resolutions were tabled and not heard by the full ADP membership, the Maricopa meeting was dominated by progressives.

    Written on Monday, 18 November 2013 20:09 Read more...
  • Can Public Banking Spur Economic Growth in Southern Arizona?
    Can Public Banking Spur Economic Growth in Southern Arizona?

    Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to “balance” the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes. Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development. 

    Written on Friday, 15 November 2013 15:56 Read more...

Sign the TPP Fast Track Petitions

MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track

Public Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority

MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership

CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab

 

Find Your Elected Officials for Issues

Enter your zip+4 and find your elected officials. This link provides name, address and phone number

ButtonFindElectedOfficials

 

Progressive Central Panel on Ending Corporate Rule

Ask Bill Moyers How to Overturn Citizens United