Negotiators fail to close deal amid revelations of internal discord over US corporate bullying. The Obama administration's pro-corporate Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agenda appears to have missed a deadline.
Ministers and delegates representing 12 nations announced Tuesday they have failed to meet the end-of-year goal of clinching the TPP trade deal after four days of negotiations in Singapore ended without an agreement.
The statement immediately follows a Wikileaks release, previously reported by Common Dreams, exposing near zero support for a drastic pro-corporate agenda pushed in the TPP by the Obama administration, including demands for NAFTA-style secret corporate tribunals, limits to bank regulation, and conditions that would increase the cost of life-saving medicines.
“At this meeting, the negotiators’ political imperative to ‘make a deal’ — any deal — resulted in a raft of dangerous decisions that would severely threaten consumers’ access to affordable medicines, undermine Internet freedom and empower corporations to attack our domestic laws,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “[A]s more details emerge weekly about the damage TPP could do to workers, consumers and the environment, grassroots and lawmaker opposition in many countries is growing.”
No new timeline has been drafted for what is poised to be the largest U.S. trade deal in history, establishing a "free trade" zone between Australia, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore—countries that comprise nearly 40 percent of the world's GDP.
Despite the breadth of this potential deal, the contents of its negotiations have been hidden from the public and U.S. lawmakers, with much of what is known publicly about them exposed by leaks.
“We identified potential landing zones for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text,”stated U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, reading a joint statement from negotiators on Tuesday. “We intend to meet again next month," he said, indicating that market access issues remain unresolved.
Wikileaks released an internal memo (pdf) and spreadsheet (pdf) from an unidentified government official on Monday that reveal resistance to U.S. demands for inclusion of corporate giveaways, including conditions that would allow corporations to bypass national law and sue governments in secret courts—boosting their power to steamroll environmental, labor, and public health protections. This also includes a push for intellectual property conditions that would reduce access to more affordable generic medicines and reduce the power of governments to negotiate lower medicine prices. The U.S., in addition, is demanding a limit to the ability of governments to regulate banks in times of crisis, according to Zach Carter at the Huffington Post.
The leaked memo reads, "Inadequate progress. The positions are still paralyzed. United States shows zero flexibility," regarding financial services negotiations.
In a statement emailed to Common Dreams, Public Citizen warned, "However, many countries have caved to relentless U.S. demands that they alter their domestic patent and medicine pricing laws to meet the desires of large pharmaceutical firms."
This latest leak follows the November 13 Wikileaks exposure of the Obama administration's TPP push to erode internet freedoms and cut access to medicines in what analysts say are the most damaging and dangerous proposals in the history of U.S. "free trade" deals.
Link to original article from Common Dreams
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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