Newsflash:
Lesli Messinger Trans Pacific Partnership The next NAFTA, but worse
Thursday, 22 May 2014 03:50

The next NAFTA, but worse

Written by  Dave Anderson | Boulder Weekly

You can win some impressive victories against corporate power on the local level. Boulder voters declared that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech. Cities across Colorado (and other states) have passed fracking bans and moratoriums.

The fight is much tougher on a statewide and national level. But on the international level, the corporate elite is planning to dramatically stifle government regulation of their behavior.

Right now, secret negotiations are concluding over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a gigantic proposed “free-trade” zone spanning the Pacific Ocean and involving 12 nations (the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei).

It would be the largest free-trade agreement by the United States. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, the ministers negotiating the agreement “have expressed an intent to comprehensively reduce barriers in goods, services and agricultural trade as well as rules and disciplines on a wide range of topics” to extraordinary levels.

Leaks of TPP documents reveal that corporations could avoid government review when acquiring land, natural resources or factories. Corporations could be guaranteed compensation for the loss of “expected future profits from health, labor, [or] environmental” regulations. Corporate performance requirements could be banned. Corporations could directly challenge government laws and regulations in international trade tribunals.

Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said the leaks “sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama’s campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states.”

The TPP will encourage U.S. corporations to offshore. This has happened with previous “free trade” agreements. The Economic Policy Institute has found that nearly 700,000 U.S. jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA. In Mexico, NAFTA has also destroyed many agricultural jobs by allowing imports of U.S. (government-subsidized) corn. As a result, many Mexicans have been forced to emigrate to the U.S. to find work.

In July, the Sierra Club expressed alarm when Japan formally joined the TPP, declaring:

“Japan is the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas, a dirty fossil fuel that is extracted from Americans’ backyards through the dangerous practice of fracking. The trade pact could strip the U.S. government’s power to manage its own gas exports, and put that power in the hands of foreign companies, opening the floodgates for dangerous fracking in our country and sacrificing our air and water quality.

“American families and communities cannot afford the unchecked exports of fracked gas to Japan.”

Thanks to fracking, the U.S. has become — in Obama’s words — “the Saudi Arabia of gas.” In 2012, this country produced 651 billion cubic meters of gas. We are the second top producer after Russia, which produced 653 billion cubic meters.

Reporter Steve Horn says that “a 21st-century ‘gas Cold War’ has arisen between the U.S. and Russia.” He notes the emergence of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which is “a bloc of countries whose mission is to fend off U.S. and Western power dominance of the global gas trade. The 13 member countries include Russia, Iran, Bolivia, Venezuela, Libya, Algeria and several others.”

Horn says the U.S. has a big disadvantage, since “Russia relies on easier-to-obtain conventional gas, as opposed to tough-to-obtain unconventional shale gas” which will likely last only 15 to 20 years.

A bipartisan group of 34 senators (including Colorado’s Mark Udall and Michael Bennet) is pressuring Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to speed up applications to export liquefied natural gas to nations that lack formal free trade deals with the U.S. Speed up? Why have this global battle over rapidly diminishing fossil fuels when the planet is heading toward ecological Armageddon? Why is Obama trying to shove the TPP through Congress via “fast track” (which allows him to negotiate deals that Congress can approve or disapprove but can’t change)? Why has the mainstream media ignored the anti- TPP protests by more than 400 civil society groups (labor, environmental, family farm, consumer, faith, public health, Native American and human rights constituencies)?

This corporate power grab must be stopped. Replace “fast track” with a more democratic process.

Respond: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

Original article on Boulder Weekly

Read 5551 times

Latest News from the Messinger Campaign

  • Savannah's Lesli Messinger gives Democrats best chance to beat Jack Kingston
    Savannah's Lesli Messinger gives Democrats best chance to beat Jack Kingston

    On Saturday, October 20, First Congressional District candidate Lesli Messinger visited Pin Point, Georgia and talked with locals about her candidacy and to listen to what issues those citizens believe are important.

    Messinger has traveled through her congressional district for months since her qualifying back in late May and has touted a strong progressive message and has been able to build grassroots coalitions.

    Written on Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:18 Read more...
  • Messinger Wins Race to Face Kingston
    Messinger Wins Race to Face Kingston

    Progressive Democrats say Congrats to U.S. Congressional GA District 1 Primary Winner Lesli Messinger. Lesli Messinger has claimed the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday beating Nathan Russo in the Democratic Primary.  Unofficial results showed Messinger with 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Russo with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.

    Written on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:55 Read more...
  • Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress
    Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress

    Democrat Lesli Messinger seeks to end 20 years of Republican domination in coastal Georgia.  It’s a particularly difficult challenge to unseat an incumbent, and harder still for a Democrat in a Congressional District that’s been Republican-ruled for 20 years.

    Written on Friday, 27 July 2012 02:52 Read more...
  • Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress
    Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress

    State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, has endorsed Lesli Messinger for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

    Messinger, a Savannah businesswoman, is running against Nathan Russo, a retired St. Simons businessman, in Tuesday’s primary.

    The winner will face Republican incumbent Jack Kingston, who is seeking a 10th term.  Last year’s boundary changes left the district with a GOP tilt, but less pronounced than in the past.

    The endorsement apparently is intended to buttress Messinger’s claim to be a stauncher Democrat than Russo and a loyal supporter of  President Barack Obama.

    Russo has argued that, to beat Kingston in the district, a Democrat must make a strong appeal to many independents and at least some Republicans.

    Stephens prefaces his statement by saying he’s “a lifelong member of the Democratic Party for over 30 years.”  

    “Not only does Mrs. Messinger have fresh new ideas that I feel truly represent the people of our district, and the state of Georgia,” he said. “She is a proud supporter of President Obama’s policies. I know Messinger will stand with President Obama in Congress, on a true Democratic front with other members of Congress.”

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 00:00
  • U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class
    U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class

    Lesli Messinger moved to Skidaway Island four years ago, she says, to escape the “dark and dreary” environs of New Jersey. But Messinger says she found darkness and dreariness near the tranquil community where she and her husband, Nathan, relocated. She says she met women who couldn’t afford cookies for their grandchildren and people whose jobless benefits were expiring.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 00:00 Read more...

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Lesli Messinger

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of